Kia ora, and welcome to The Readings, a literary links list full of things we think you might like to check out.
Our friends at ReadNZ have launched two fantastic new projects. Blokes vs. Books promotes kiwi men as readers. It sees playwright Victor Rodger in conversation with brewers, pizza barons, politicians, Shortland Street actors and more about the role books and reading have played in their lives.
And for younger members of your household, there’s the Stay Home Book Club, a reading challenge where kids aged between 5 and 14 sign up to a team and earn points by logging the books they’ve read or listened to. Booksellers Tokens are up for grabs as prizes.
The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards were scheduled to take place on Tuesday 12 May. Good news: they still will! The format for this year’s ceremony will be a little different than usual, with the announcements being made online rather than in Auckland. A YouTube channel has been set up for the occasion, and you can subscribe now. The channel is also hosting a series of finalist author readings in the weeks leading up to the winners’ announcements.
Poets Sinead Overbye and Jordan Hamel have created Stasis Journal: an online literary journal for these static times. Their kaupapa is to provide a paid platform for all kinds of writing, digital and visual art that is being produced during the current rāhui. Submissions are open, and new work will be published every weekday.
Oscen Magazine are hosting The Unlockdown: a free 3-day mini online festival where you can “unlock” your creativity and join engaging conversations. The festival runs from 18-20 April, and features a range of creative happenings that participants can take part in.
The Pantograph Punch have also been hosting an online festival on their instagram page. The next session takes place at 2pm on Saturday 18 April, and features comedians Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden.
If you want excellent creative prompts each day, look no further than Satellites’ Lockdown Advent Calendar. Each day of lockdown they share a creative exercise as well as a piece of writing from a different creative.
Bitomart.org has a collection of fresh new writing by some of Aotearoa’s most talented scribes, in it’s Notes from Self-Isolation series.
If you enjoy the work of Sarah Laing, you’ll love The COVID-19 Diaries; sketches of daily life during a pandemic that the writer and illustrator is posting on her blog, Let Me Be Frank.
We know the readers of New Zealand are dearly missing browsing the new release shelves at their local bookshop. The brilliant gang at Victoria University Press have come up with a nifty – and generous – solution to your cravings. They’ve put together a sampler featuring extracts from their newest published books, and plenty of pieces from as yet unreleased titles. You can access The VUP Home Reader for free here.
Small press Bitter Melon, run by Nina Mingya Powles, has been publishing Stay Home Diary: an online archive of diary entries by Asian writers, artists & zinemakers.
And don’t forget, even though their doors may be closed, your local bookshop are still there for you. Check out their social media pages and you’ll find an online community of creative booklovers, getting inventive with how to share their love of literature in these strange days.