Blog Archives

Margaret Atwood in New Zealand, Anne Else

Beginnings and Endings   Mostly I want to read what writers write, not look at r listen to them. But in the mid-1980s, I went to hear Margaret Atwood. Murder in the Dark had recently appeared, and she read “Happy

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The need for a conservative rudder, Simon Upton

In 1987 I was rash enough to publish a slender volume of essays with the title The Withering of the State. It was written in the months preceding the biggest stock market crash for a generation and fully two years

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Triumph in the regions, Lauris Edmond

Women’s Book Festival In the first week of October this year a major national institution will make its annual appearance. In libraries, theatres, halls of various kinds, cafes and school rooms, in large cities and smaller towns all over the

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Wielding the jawbone of an ass, Fleur Adcock

I last saw Jim Baxter towards the end of 1962, eating steak and chips for lunch in a restaurant on Lambton Quay. I was about to leave for England, but not so imminently that I felt the need to make

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More than the myth he became, Tom Beard

I was four when Baxter died and living on the other side of the world. It seems that everyone here has a Baxter anecdote ‑ something along the lines of “I remember finding Jim passed out next to my letterbox”

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The virtue of defeat, Bill Oliver

I am not sure why I or anyone else should bother about the politics of a poet, especially of a poet whose typical response to politics varied only between contempt and rage. Still, he wrote a considerable number of political

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A rare breed, Michael Morrissey

The literary politician. Sounds faintly implausible? Like a ballerina plumber or a crocheting bricklayer? I am referring of course to the politician who writes poems, novels or plays rather than the politician who is a mere apologist, pamphleteer or self

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Shaping the Women’s Book Festival for a future, Rachel Lawson

For most of us the Listener Women’s Book Festival appears without question each September. Women crowd to events all over the country to put a face to their favourite authors, ask tricky questions about their lives and characters, and splash

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Letter from Auckland, Iain Sharp

Earlier this year I was asked to write a short profile of Maurice Gee for Pacific Way, the Air New Zealand in-flight magazine. This involved a long-distance call from the Pacific Way office in Auckland to Gee’s home in Wellington

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Essay — Iain Sharp

Iain Sharp: Letter from Auckland: Son of Landfall At the time of writing, it’s in the midst of a closing-down sale, like much of Auckland, but for the last couple of years there has been a music shop on the

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