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Thanks

New Zealand Review of Books Pukapuka Aotearoa would like to offer a huge vote of thanks to Pauline and Peter Russell, who between them have acted as proofreaders for the quarterly for nearly 20 years. Proofreading requires much more than

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Notes on an ending, Elspeth Sandys

Novelist and memoirist Elspeth Sandys reflects on the need and use of endnotes

We are all familiar with the conversation about the relation between fiction and non-fiction. “I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography. I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction,” Philip Roth famously complained. I suspect his complaint will continue to be heard until there are no more writers and no more books, since the only thing critics seem able to agree on is that the border between fiction and non-fiction is, to use Andrew O’Hagan’s word, “unstable”. Any attempt to erect a wall between the two is doomed to fail.

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Is the book launch dead? Graeme Lay

Comment

Auckland novelist Graeme Lay muses upon book launches past, present and future.

There was a time when a book, upon publication, had to be launched. The venue was usually a much-loved bookshop, chosen in the hope that love for the shop would rub off on the book being launched. Favourite venues were Unity Books in Wellington and Auckland, Time Out in Mount Eden, and Paradox Books in Devonport. Whitcoulls rarely featured.

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Dancing with facts

Broadcaster and documentary maker Justin Gregory reflects on James McNeish’s “portrait” of John Mulgan.

In 1994, James McNeish wrote, narrated and produced a feature-length radio programme on a man he described as perhaps the “darkest” of New Zealand’s “dark horses”: writer, publisher and soldier John Mulgan. McNeish called the programme A Man with Two Countries, adding the subtitle A Portrait of John Mulgan (1911-1945). The programme was broadcast on Radio New Zealand’s National Radio in April that year.

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Headland: Literary frontiers

Liesl Nunns, co-founding editor of the digital literary journal Headland, describes the opportunities of digital publication.

On a March morning in 2014, stirred up by Professor Dame Anne Salmond’s speech at the International Women’s Day breakfast at Parliament, Laura McNeur and I began a conversation that, four years later, has resulted in 12 (fantastic) issues of Headland (www.headland.org.nz) and counting. Whether it was imposter syndrome, a reaction to tall poppy syndrome, some other kind of syndrome, or perhaps just a healthy amount of humility and good manners, I remember feeling that we needed to wait till we woke up as Bill Manhire or Fergus Barrowman before we could have the chutzpah to call ourselves the founding editors of a literary journal.

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Responsible writing

Writer Fleur Beale considers what’s difficult and desirable in books for YA readers.

The answer to the question of what responsibility writers may or may not have to their teenage readers in essence for me is to write a damn good, emotionally true story. Part of the difficulty of pinning it more precisely lies in the fact that a teenage audience includes such a wide spectrum of maturity and experience that a book resonating with one reader might be something a different reader would not even consider looking at. 

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On a global stage

Peter Dowling, president of the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), reports back from the recent Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

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The Alexander Turnbull Library turns 100

Sarah Knox (Assistant Chief Librarian) and Fiona Oliver (Curator New Zealand and Pacific Publications) of the Alexander Turnbull Library | National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa commemorate a most generous gift.

The library came into being when Alexander Turnbull – Wellington merchant, yachtsman, golfer, collector, confirmed bachelor and handsome dandy – bequeathed his library to the nation in 1918. Two years later, in 1920, the doors of the library opened to the public for the first time.

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Comment: At the Robert Lord cottage

At the Robert Lord cottage

Novelist and memoirist Elspeth Sandys reflects on her recent residency

I am a cottage-phile. The very word cottage starts bells chiming in my head, church bells probably, since the words that come to me are Robert Browning’s “God’s in his heaven! –/ All’s right with the world”. The cottage I see in my mind has wisteria trailing over the walls, shutters on the windows, a cosy living-room with an open fireplace, a generous kitchen with an aga, a small courtyard garden, a dog, a cat … . When I think of this place, and put myself in it, I feel nothing can go wrong in my life. I am living simply, in harmony with Nature. I can pay the bills, look the neighbours in the eye, even feel a slight sense of superiority because of my total lack of interest in acquiring anything larger. Castles, palaces, manor houses, the mansions of the wealthy – these are for visiting as a tourist, or gawping at as a stunned observer, not for living in.

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“No country for old men”

Sydney-based New Zealand writer Paul Schimmel surveys the Hera Lindsay Bird phenomenon from across the ditch

Since Hera Lindsay Bird’s volume of poetry Hera Lindsay Bird was selected for the so-called long-list for the New Zealand book awards in poetry, and subsequently for the short list, I have become aware, from across the ditch, that a small-scale cult-like phenomenon seems to be emerging around her.

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