Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
News from IIML
1. Writers on Mondays
The IIML’s 2012 Writers on Mondays series opens next week on 9
July, (at Te Papa, 12.15pm, Level 4 Marae) with the Creative New
Zealand/Victoria University Writer in Residence Bernard Beckett.
A few days before he flies off to the White Ravens Festival in
Germany, he will read from his gripping new novel-in-progress, Lullaby, and talk with
Kate De Goldi about how the screenplay for his novel August is going. In
a series packed with local talent, highlights include an hour with James Brown
on the launch of his fifth poetry collection (July), an insight into Ken
Duncum’s new play West End
Girls (August) Bill Manhire’s ‘exit interview’ with Damien Wilkins
(September), and of course the ever-popular Best
New Zealand Poems reading (23 July), this year featuring no fewer
than 13 of the best of 2011.
We’re also pleased to welcome two international guests, the US
poet, novelist and memoirist Terese Svoboda and
award-winning translator and poet Michael Hofmann,
to our 2012 series.
Both Svoboda and Hofmann will teach a masterclass for our postgraduate
writing students. Hofmann, who is here with the support of the New Zealand
Centre for Literary Translation, will also deliver their annual
lecture on 9 August at Rutherford House, Bunny St.
2. A room of one’s own in 2013
Writers feeling a little envious of Bernard Beckett’s productive
year should note that we’re currently seeking applications for the 2013
Creative New Zealand/Victoria University Writer in Residence, which offers the
successful applicant a year’s salary and a room of their own at the
IIML. In recent years the residency has been held by writers of YA
and adult fiction, poetry, and plays – and the position is also open to writers
of creative non-fiction. Applications must be from writers of ‘proven
literary merit’, which in practice tends to mean a field that ranges from
senior practitioners to authors who are relatively early in their publishing
careers. Applications close on 30 September: Information on how to apply
is available here.
On the subject of residencies, congratulations to 2009 MA
workshop member Pat White,
who has just been awarded the 2012 Landfall Seresin residency.
3. A Commonwealth winner
A month or so ago it was announced that Emma Martin (MA 2010)
had won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize – and we’re still feeling proud and
delighted for her. The judges (chaired by Bernardine Evaristo) said that
her story ‘Two Girls in a
Boat’ had ‘linguistic flair, originality, depth and daring. The
story was chosen for its gorgeous, elegant and spare writing; its nuanced handling
of time, place and relationships; its daring, provocative subject matter and
clear-eyed exploration of the choice of heterosexual conformity in the face of
sexual mutability.’ Quite so. Emma Martin talks about her
4. The gourmet critic
We enjoyed the story Lawrence Jones told about the late Bill
Pearson in the most recent issue of the Journal
of New Zealand Literature. Pearson was apparently talking about
Simon During’s well-known essay in And/1
on Frank Sargeson’s ‘The Hole that Jack Dug’. His view was that ‘all During had
done was “discover” things that Sargeson had intentionally put there as a
suggestive subtext . . . And then Bill said that he, as a writer, felt about
such criticism as he would feel if somebody came into his kitchen, raided his
supplies to cook a gourmet meal, sat down and consumed it all himself, and then
turned to his host and said “Now you may applaud.”’
If you’d like to
subscribe to the Journal of
New Zealand Literature, you can do so through their website.
The current issue is particularly lively, with reviews (including a glowing
account of The Best of Best
New Zealand Poems), learned articles, thoughtful polemic, and a
piece of memoir from current NZ Poet Laureate Ian Wedde.
Institute of Modern Letters
P.O. Box 600