The 2008 HeadworX/ESAW Winter Readings Series finished on Wednesday night with another good session, the highlight of which for me was hearing Marilyn Duckworth read her poetry. I knew of her abilities as a novelist, but as this session made clear, she's a fine poet as well. All the other poets taking part - Bill Dacker, Michael O'Leary (launching his new collection Paneta Street) and Marilyn Duckworth and Nelson Wattie reading from the new collection of love poems by Meg and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell - were fine as well, and the night concluded with an audience sing-along to a mashup of the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Hey Jude", then copious and well-merited thanks to all those who have contributed to the continuing success of the series.
New Zealand Book Month was launched last Sunday (I attended the launch as a volunteer - I'm not sure I contributed much, but I had some lovely conversations), and the authors selected for inclusion in The Six Pack Three were announced: Sue Wootton, Marisa Maepu, Ian Mackenzie, David Geary, Aroha Harris, and Kate Duignan. Congratulations to them all!
As a followup to The Good Book Guide's article on the author photos taken by renowned photographer Miriam Berkley comes another testament to her work, and to the power of the author photo.
Also at The Good Books Guide is this powerful article on the uses of fiction by Preeta Samarasan.
Perhaps I shouldn't call it a "current favourite", since I haven't read it yet, but I am looking forward to reading The White Road and Other Stories by Tania Hershman, who runs The Short Review. (It's published by Salt Publishing, and should become available in this corner of the world in due course.) As a connoisseur of genre distinctions, who has the countervailing desire to obliterate those distinctions, I am especially intrigued by the distinction she draws between "science fiction" and "science-inspired fiction".
I don't really have a plan for this blog, other than a rough rule of thumb that about half the posts should be about my writing, and half about other people's. All the same, over the next six weeks or so, I expect to bring you:
- Three interviews with New Zealand authors, all of whom have, or have just had, books being published.
- This blog's first guest post.
- A tantalising peek at my tastes in music. (Note: the definition of "tantalising" may vary according to the perspective of the observer.)
- A little literary archaeology: I've written and edited other books besides the three featured here so far. Come with me back, baaack to where it all began!
- A post about how various leading fantasy writers have handled theological issues in their work - to wit, Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. This was sparked off by a comment from Mike Crowl on my earlier post, Is Literary Fiction a Genre?.
And finally ...
Tim Jones' Transported is a pleasant surprise. None of the tales have that kind of super-seriousness about them that's typical of NZ short stories. Instead, they're an intriguing mix of tongue-in-cheek, subtle humour, history turned inside out, and sci-fi.
There's more in the full review on Bookstove.