The Read edigest: Monday 12 August 2013

This is a digest of our Twitter feed that we email out most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sign up here for free if you’d like it emailed to you.

Book reviews
In The Mannequin Makers, Craig Cliff  “has crafted a brilliantly structured and evocative story.”
Book Review: The Curiosity, by Stephen Kiernan

David Hill reviews Duncan Sarkies’ new book on Nine to Noon – The Demolition of the Century

New Release Books
New Release: Surviving Centrepoint, by Ella James

New Release: Te Ara: Maori Pathways of Leadership

Bring the littlies to Mt Roskill Library on Friday 16 August for National Poetry Day w/A Little Ink

#nzpba events: Jarrod Gilbert is talking tomorrow at Canterbury Uni, Rob Brown talks huts at Scorpio Books

#nzpba events:  The @womensbookshop celebrates poetry tomorrow with Ian Wedde & Anne Kennedy

Book News
This has been on the Nielsen list for weeks: read an extract from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Faction Comics has their second anthology of work by NZ’s best comic artists due in August

Author interview: Award-winning author Craig Cliff on his uneasy relationship with historical fiction

Awards News
Our reviews of #nzpba New Zealand Post Awards finalist books

#nzpcba Picture book winner Gavin Bishop tells the NZ Herald about his happy place

Check out what our #nzpba finalists are talking about in the lead-up to the awards by subscribing to our list

From around the internet
This infographic shows how often different cities appear in books

Why Jonathon Franzen gets your goat…

Damien Wilkins feels the love for X Factor

Book-inspired icecream flavours… any suggestions for kiwi book flavours?

Attention sci-fi fans! @goodreads has a handy list of Julius Vogel nominees& winners – go and take a look

Check out this quirky and informative video on the history of typography!

Meet the press: shrewd tips for book publicity 

Email digest: Wednesday 31 July 2013

This is a digest of our Twitter feed that we email out most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sign up here for free if you’d like it emailed to you.

Book review
Book review: Alice in Bakingland, By Alice Arndell, reviewed by Emma Wong-Ming 

The book launch for Craig Cliff’s novel The Mannequin Makers is at Kirkaldie & Staines tonight

Meet the Author – Isobelle Carmody: Tue 6 August

Fergus Barrowman will launch Eleanor Catton’s much anticipated 2nd novel, The Luminaries, tomorrow night at @timeoutbooks

Page & Blackmore ‘Rumpus at the Bookshop’

Book News
PANZ AGM guest speaker Sandy Grant on the hammering the book industry has taken

The Nielsen bestseller lists for the week until 20 July

The Bookseller’s trial top 50 e-book bestseller list

Awards News
#nzpba New Zealand Post Book Award finalist taster: pages from The Meeting Place, Vincent O’Malley

From around the internet
Who is excited about Artemis Fowl being made into a Disney movie?

Real live paper books fill @PenelopeWhitson with a naughty joy unlike any other (aka. paper v e-books, the benefits of each)

What are your book deal-breakers?

Four designers of recent book covers compare their original concepts with the final version

Emerging Writers in Masterton #writersandreadersnz

Blogging about Writers & Readers: Emerging Writers
Monday 12 March 12.30pm, Aratoi, Masterton

I’ve never been to a big-city Writers & Readers event so I don’t know what I’m missing out on although Twitter tells me they have floral arrangements.

Sounds fancy.

Driving to Masterton yesterday I listened to a piece on Radio NZ about the recently-announced proposed staff cuts at MFAT, which was described as having ‘a sophisticated work force.’

Sophisticated is a word that creeps me out and instantly makes me feel inadequate. A bit dorky, parochial, regionalist … more my kind of words.

I was right at home at the Masterton run of Emerging Writers. We sat in a wonderful old chapel within Aratoi Museum surrounded by art of the region; people came in quietly and without gusto and the chair (David Hedley of the wonderful Hedley’s bookshop) called people by name when they wanted to ask a question. That, the polite reverence of the audience, the couple of husbands who’d clearly been dragged along (there’s always at least one at Wairarapa events) and David’s reference to Eleanor Catton being a ‘young lady’ gave this an air of a warm family event.

I kind of felt we should have been sitting on mismatched sofas with tea and shortbread.

Hamish Clayton (Wulf), Craig Cliff (A Man Melting) and Eleanor Catton (The Rehearsal) were on the bill – talking about their work as ‘emerging writers.’ Given their string of awards and accomplishments I did wonder when they could shuck off that mantle although as Hamish Clayton pointed out they were still ‘new’ enough to have had the good grace to read each other’s work before appearing together.

As Hamish Clayton spoke about developing his work it struck me that what he was really speaking about was being open to opportunity. Wulf began in a way from a friend’s off-hand remark about a much-loved poem (Wulf and Eadwacer) needing to be made into a novel… the Wulf from a walk in the Botanic Gardens at dusk where shadows and tree stumps create their own characters. Opportunity and seeing the familiar in new ways: not trying to develop a new voice for Te Rauparaha; picking up the New Zealand landscape as a central character instead.

Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal began life as a dramatic monologue for a friend (side note writers: make friends with people – it will help your career), which was put away unfinished, then pulled out when Catton was looking for submission material for her application to IIML.

Catton treated the book’s development like she was writing a play and ‘playing roles’ continued as a key theme. As she tells it, just like a theatrical performance “sometimes you’re privileged to see inside the characters heads, other times you just see their actions.”

Asked about her time in Iowa she said she realised while there that our writers have an enormous freedom in what they’re doing.

“New Zealanders aren’t trying to pose and ‘be a writer’, they’re just doing it.

“We have literary heroes but don’t feel the need to carry them on our shoulders. After all, who on earth could be Janet Frame?”

Craig Cliff used to be all the about the numbers and the spreadsheets: writing more than 800,000 words in 2008, using Excel to work out correlating themes in his short stories to develop the evolutionary chain running through A Man Melting.

He says that while publishers were reluctant to take short stories when he was approaching them, “short stories are in ruddy health at the moment.”

He cites Pip Adam, Tina Makeriti and Alice Tawhai as short story writers to read.

“You can fit a short story collection into your life.” A longer story at lunchtime, a quick one on the bus to work…

These days he’s more a 100-200 words a day guy; working on his third novel (he’s thankful that the first two won’t see the light of day) he’s setting it in the past and trying to carve out a niche that is different.

Footnote: You often see in affluent towns and suburbs (Greytown, Thorndon) little footpath bowls of water for thirsty dogs. I suggest a similar scenario for Writers & Readers events where the age of the audience is in the cough-prone demographic (60+)… sponsored water bottles at events would add a new marketing angle and put a stop to the regularly fits of dry-throat-coughing that regularly disturbed this event.

by Emma McCleary, Web Editor at Booksellers NZ

IMAGE:  L-R Hamish Clayton, Craig Cliff and Eleanor Catton from the Writers & Readers website