Blog Archives

Seeing how they run, Geoff Watson

When Running Made History
Roger Robinson
Canterbury University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780815611004

New Zealanders have a longstanding connection with running. Long-distance running was one of the early activities of Māori and, from at least as early as the 1880s, New Zealand athletes were taking part in international competitions. Running has been both an everyday activity and a sport in which New Zealanders have triumphed on the global stage: the achievements of Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell, Murray Halberg, John Walker, Allison Roe, Anne Audain, Lorraine Moller and Lisa Tamati, among others, have been enshrined in national memory. When Running Made History utilises Roger Robinson’s personal memories as a lens to explain how a formerly largely individualistic pursuit became a global phenomenon.

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Sociology, Sport

Rewards, challenges, surprise, Roger Robinson

The Collected Poems of Alistair Te Ariki Campbell
Victoria University Press, $50.00,
ISBN 9781776560677

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell always surprised us.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Behind bars, Roger Robinson

The Prison Diary of A C Barrington: Dissent and Conformity in Wartime New Zealand John Pratt (with an introduction by John Barrington) Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781927322314 When did you last think about being in prison? Not the theory

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, War

Sports writing as literature, Roger Robinson


Roger Robinson, writer for the Runner’s World/Running Times website, puts the work of Norman Harris (1940-2015) into proper context.

We all know, and most of us enjoy, the drama of sport, the physical one that we watch on the field or track or pool, a narrative of high-pressure external action with an uncertain outcome. There’s another simultaneous drama that we can’t watch, but is equally compelling, the psychological one inside the mind of every competitor, a narrative of high-pressure internal action, also with an uncertain outcome. Only the very best sports writers are able to show both.

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Posted in Obituaries

Gee-whizz, Roger Robinson

Maurice Gee: A Literary Companion: Fiction for Young Readers
Elizabeth Hale (ed)
Otago University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9781877578847

Maurice Gee published Under the Mountain in 1979. It was a success in print and on TV, but for some years it was possible to regard it, and his subsequent work for young readers, as a sideline, a paying Saturday morning job that freed him for the serious adult writing. Times have changed.

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Posted in Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Thomas Hardy’s heart, Roger Robinson

Max Gate Damien Wilkins Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864738998 Thomas Hardy often wrote about death’s little ironies. There’s a poem in the voice of a dead and forgotten woman whose dog, who has also forgotten her, is burying his

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Bovver boys

What they wrote A taste of contributor comments over our first 20 years   On New Zealand Books My hope is that New Zealand Books will provide a forum for frank discussion that dares to rise above the suffocating confines

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Posted in Comment

Late songs, Roger Robinson

The Trouble with Fire Fiona Kidman Vintage, $36.99, ISBN 9781869793593   A woman approaching her 50th wedding anniversary flies from Auckland to meet her aid-volunteer husband in Bangkok, and they fly on to Hanoi, where he becomes seriously ill with

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

The unforgiving minute, Stephanie de Montalk and Melissa Moon

Running Writing Robinson David Carnegie, Paul Millar, David Norton and Harry Ricketts (eds) Victoria University Press, S40.00, ISBN 9780864736390   This book celebrates the distinguished athletic and academic careers of Roger Robinson – the English, Cambridge-educated essayist, editor and literary

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Review

Obituary — Harvey McQueen

Harvey McQueen 1934-2010 Harvey McQueen, who died in Wellington on December 25, was a poet, anthologist, reviewer, memoirist, educational journalist and author, past president of PEN (now New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc)), and literary gardener – a

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Posted in Obituaries
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