News of New Zealanders via Global Media

New Take on an Extraordinary Figure

New Take on an Extraordinary Figure

Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life, a new authorized biography by art curator Alexa Johnston, has been well received both at home and abroad. According to Johnston, speaking in the Sunday Star Times,…

The case for the code

The case for the code

The man behind international best-seller The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, will face a High Court action brought by the authors of the non-fictional work The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982). The…

Tribute to a torchbearer

Tribute to a torchbearer

Chicago-based writer, Cheryl Kent, has published a book on internationally renowned Wellington born architect David Hovey entitled The Nature of Dwellings: The Architecture of David Hovey. Amazon’s editorial notes describe Hovey as “the torchbearer…

Almost kiwi

Almost kiwi

Best-selling British author, Alexander McCall Smith, (No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) revealed a Kiwi connection while in the country promoting his latest book. McCall Smith’s doctor father, George McCall Smith, ran off with a patient…

Flying the southern flag for philosophy

Flying the southern flag for philosophy

Victoria University’s Professor Kim Sterelny has won the 2004 Lakatos Award for his book Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition. The $10,000 prize, named in honour of Karl Popper protégé…

Book World’s Reigning Queen

Book World’s Reigning Queen

Literary doyenne Liz Calder, co-founder of Bloomsbury Press and nurturer of such talents as Salman Rushdie, Anita Brookner, Julian Barnes and J.K Rowling, has continued her success with the establishment of the Festa Literaria…

From strength to strength

From strength to strength

Catherine Chidgey’s second novel, The Strength of the Sun, is rapturously received in the New York Times. “It’s difficult to articulate exactly what gives this novel its unassuming power … In combination, the disparate…

Underbelly Exposure

Underbelly Exposure

One of the co-authors of controversial U.N tell-all Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth is NZ-born doctor Andrew Thompson. Described on Amazon as a “scorching, devastatingly…

Analysing the “Yucky Side of Life”

Analysing the “Yucky Side of Life”

John Crace interviews Joanna Bourke, lecturer, historian and author of numerous academic books including the controversial An Intimate History of Killing and her most recent publication, Fear: A Cultural History. “Historians tend to come…

Handled with Care

Handled with Care

Mansfield, C.K Stead’s fictional account of the life of Katherine Mansfield, received warmly in the Independent. “Any novelisation of this kind is a daunting task, with readers either knowing too much, or too little….

Words as music

Words as music

Whale Rider‘s US paperback release garnered further praise for author Witi Ihimaera. “Some writers create such beautiful prose that it might be poetry or music. Witi Ihimaera … is one such writer.”

Ric Burch stages his story

Ric Burch stages his story

Ric Birch, the NZ born maestro behind many of the sporting and cultural worlds’ most spectacular events, has published a tell-all autobiography entitled Master of the Ceremonies. Birch has organised the opening and closing…

Writer in residence

Writer in residence

Wellington-based British author Neil Cross, has made the 2004 Man Booker Prize long-list with his fourth novel, “Always the Sun”. The story tells of a father’s attempts to prevent his son from being…

Edgy heroine

Edgy heroine

Fay Weldon’s autobiography – Auto Da Fay – featured in the New York Times‘ New and Noteworthy Paperbacks section. “Unlike many of the female characters in her dozens of breezy novels, Weldon comes off…

Long and winding road

Long and winding road

The Statesman talks to nomadic NZ writer, Will Marks, about his ongoing love affair with India while reviewing his debut novel, The Highway. “I didn’t have a lot of expectations of India but when…

Warner devours Cannibal Dog

Warner devours Cannibal Dog

Marina Warner recommends Anne Salmond’s The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas as essential holiday reading in the Guardian‘s annual summer poll of leading authors, journalists, and critics. “The historian…

King More than Qualified for Role of National Historian

King More than Qualified for Role of National Historian

C.K Stead reviewed the late Michael King’s Penguin History of New Zealand for the Times Literary Supplement, making some keen observations of his own on the subject. “If it were possible to subtract…

Anderson wins reviewer’s heart

Anderson wins reviewer’s heart

Barbara Anderson’s latest novel, Change of Heart, warmly reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement: “With the authority of experience Anderson captures perfectly the foibles, prejudices, anxieties and joys of the kind of septuagenarian who…

“A fascinating man”

“A fascinating man”

The Scotsman profiles Brian Turner – NZ’s poet laureate, brother to Brian (golf) and Glenn (cricket), and part-time caddie. Turner takes two months off writing each year to hit the greens, this time alongside…

Stead’s dazzling portrait

Stead’s dazzling portrait

CK Stead’s novel about Katherine Mansfield succeeds on several levels, portraying Mansfield as human, flawed, in love, highly intelligent and excited about her career. He believes that what is important is the life and…

“the Most Influential American Criminologist of His Time”

“the Most Influential American Criminologist of His Time”

Pioneering criminologist and novelist, Norval Morris, has died in Chicago aged 80. Born in Auckland, Morris studied in Australia, France, and England before embarking on his 30-year academic career at the University of Chicago…

The World According to Bob

The World According to Bob

Bob MacLaren – writer, comedian, and host of the Discovery Channel’s wacky travel show, Bob’s World – interviewed in the Star. “The idea was to take ourselves not just to the level of your…

Giant Kauri Tragically Felled

Giant Kauri Tragically Felled

NZ mourns the loss of its preeminent cultural historian, Michael King. The author of 34 books – including the groundbreaking autobiographical work Being Pakeha and acclaimed biographies of Dame Whina Cooper, Hone Tuwhare, and…

Comic Genius

Comic Genius

Martin Emond, internationally renowned comic-book artist, illustrator, and tattooist, died in LA on March 19 aged 34. Emond created the popular character Switchblade (star of NZ clothing brand Illicit) and the acclaimed White Trash…

Edge Hero Brought to Life

Edge Hero Brought to Life

Ernest Rutherford takes centre stage in Irish writer Brian Cathcart’s latest book, The Fly in the Cathedral: How a small group of Cambridge scientists won the race to split the atom. Rutherford is described…

Perkins on Gee

Perkins on Gee

Regular Guardian contributor, Emily Perkins, gives a glowing review of compatriot Maurice Gee’s latest novel, The Scornful Moon. Perkins describes the tale of a struggling detective fiction writer working during the political upheaval of…

From sea to sky

From sea to sky

Witi Ihimaera – “debonair 59-year-old, multi-award winning author, playwright, librettist, anthologist, university lecturer, former foreign diplomat and Maori activist” – interviewed in the Age about his latest novel, Sky Dancer. Following on the successful formula…

Big read

Big read

Elizabeth Knox’s Daylight – a typically imaginative tale involving caving, mysterious deaths, and a Resistance heroine – makes the Australian‘s list of Big Reads for 2004.

Colonial bad girl

Colonial bad girl

Claire Tomalin reminisces about the fascinating subject of her 1987 biography, Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life. “Mansfield has often been seen as one of the bad girls of literature. And it’s true that she…

Armchair kayaking

Armchair kayaking

Chris Duff won the history/biography section of Britain’s National Outdoor Book Awards with Southern Exposure: A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand’s South Island.

Salty tales for stay-at-homes

Salty tales for stay-at-homes

Voyaging the Pacific, Miles Horden’s account of sailing between his native NZ and Patagonia, reviewed in Japan’s Daily Yomiuri. “Miles Horden’s book … is a cracking good yarn, mainly because he is such a…

Salt of the edge

Salt of the edge

In wake of the latest Booker Prize controversy – in which winner, DBC Pierre, announced his prize money would be used to pay off $200,000 in drug debts – the New York Times looks…

In the frame … again

In the frame … again

Janet Frame was again shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature for a second time, despite making the Swedish Academy’s top five finalists and being picked to win by one of the country’s…

Illness in body, not in mind

Illness in body, not in mind

In reviewing The Selected Letters of D.H Lawrence, Straits Times writer Richard Lim refers to Katherine Mansfield who, like Lawrence, suffered and eventually died from tuberculosis. Said Mansfield of her illness, “…even my present…

International Man of History

International Man of History

C.K Stead is one of the “international sensations” lined up for the Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival in Canada. The Secret History of Modernism author will join E. Annie Proulx, Jasper Fforde, Joan London, and…

Being Beryl Fletcher: the life of a “feminist firebrand.”

Being Beryl Fletcher: the life of a “feminist firebrand.”

NZ author, Beryl Fletcher, was a guest speaker at the Melboune Writers Festival in August.  Fletcher’s latest work – The House at Karamu – is a personal memoir, which “attempts to map the identity…

Clarke serves up a winner

Clarke serves up a winner

Kiwi comedian and trans-Tasman icon, John Clarke, talks about his latest book, The Tournament. Clarke admits that his satirical account of a tennis tournament played by artistic and academic legends of the 20th century…

Wellington wordsmiths mash it up

Wellington wordsmiths mash it up

Wellington authors Damien Wilkins and Elizabeth Knox have been nominated for the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Their novels, Chemistry and Billie’s Kiss, are both in the running for a NZ$196,000 prize,…

Sydney set in stone

Sydney set in stone

Wellington-born Sydney Goodsir Smith is to join the ranks of Scottish poets immortalised in stone outside Edinburgh’s Writer’s Museum. The Makars’ Court attraction is the Scottish equivalent of Westminster Abbey’s Poets Corner, and features…

Third Culturist Boyd nets Nabokov

Third Culturist Boyd nets Nabokov

Brian Boyd-edited Nabokov’s Butterflies, an exploration of Nabokov’s obsession with butterflies that posits Nabokov’s scientific pursuit of lepidoptry as a way of understanding the author more completely, hailed as third  culture exemplar in…

Sarah-Kate Lynch’s Sure-to-rise Kitchen

Sarah-Kate Lynch’s Sure-to-rise Kitchen

Ex-NZ Women’s Weekly editor, Sarah-Kate Lynch, interviewed in Canada’s National Post about her first novel – Blessed are the Cheesemakers. The tale of a cheese-making couple and their musical cows has been optioned by…

The Magus and His Protégés

The Magus and His Protégés

“Do creative writing courses work? Judge for yourselves.” The Guardian’s literary gossip column reports on the findings of a recent NZ Listener poll naming the country’s top 10 authors under 40. Six of them…

Welding the past

Welding the past

Auto da Fay, Fay Weldon’s memoirs spanning her NZ upbringing and early adulthood in London, reviewed in the New York Times. “You hesitate to label Auto da Fay – a virtuoso triple pun on…

Slow burner

Slow burner

Annamarie Jagose’s Slow Water – the tale of a gradual unravelling of English class systems and sexual identities on a voyage to colonial NZ – praised in the SMH. “The book has a wide…

Living the High Life

Living the High Life

Sir Edmund Hillary received a hero’s welcome in London at an hour-long signing of his books High Adventure and View from the Summit. Dozens of admirers queued in the rain for a chance to…

Spoken word

Spoken word

The old and new schools of NZ literature were represented at May’s Sydney Writers Festival, with eminent man of letters CK Stead and fresh talent Chad Taylor both in attendance. The two…

Tremain Mines Our Past

Tremain Mines Our Past

The latest offering from award-winning British author, Rose Tremain, finds its inspiration in mid-19th century NZ and thwarted edge expectations: “We will not cling to familiar ways. We will imagine ourselves reborn over there….

New Romantics

New Romantics

Young urban women in NZ and Australia are the target market for a recently re-vamped Mills & Boon series. Publisher Harlequin hopes to snare Sex & The City fans rather than those of…

Bone people a modern classic

Bone people a modern classic

Keri Hulme’s the bone people featured in a Guardian poll of the Top 50 novels by women writers. The NZ Booker Prize winner sits alongside Alice Walker’s The Color Purple in the list of…

People together: NZ re-imagined

People together: NZ re-imagined

CBC critic, Eleanor Watchel, travelled through NZ to interview some of NZ’s literary animals in their natural habitats. The Writers & Company radio special celebrated a literary landscape that included authors Patricia Grace, Bill…

“Sex is cheap, but domination isn’t”

“Sex is cheap, but domination isn’t”

Former NZ university lecturer and academic, Jody Hanson, interviewed in The Age on her newfound role as a dominatrix and writer in Melbourne. Known on the dungeon circuit as Mistress J, Hanson conducts seminars,…

“The Nick Cave of New Zealand literature”

“The Nick Cave of New Zealand literature”

Chad Taylor’s growing international reputation continues to buzz, this time in The Australian. In Electric drug-addled number crunchers negotiate the power cuts of Auckland’s sweltering summer of 1998, “This is a rare and…

The Book of Fame (and fortune) for Lloyd Jones

The Book of Fame (and fortune) for Lloyd Jones

Lloyd Jones’ The Book of Fame has won the $40,000 biennial Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize, Australia’s most lucrative literary award. The Book of Fame is a poetic national myth-making account of the 1905 All…

Boyens on Rings writing

Boyens on Rings writing

Writer Philippa Boyens speaks out on her own epic quest; adapting the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the screen. With her collaborators Walsh, Jackson and Sinclair, Boyens battled against political misreadings, weird names…

Bright Spark

Bright Spark

Chad Taylor’s Electric continues to receive great press from leading reviewers. Guardian: “The hypnotic pull of Taylor’s story lies in the zigzag dance of its forlorn characters, casting a murky, uneasy sense of doom….

A novel life

A novel life

Margaret Birkinshaw, mother of NZ-edged novelist Fay Weldon and acclaimed author in her own right, has died aged 95. Renowned for her passion, confidence and sense of adventure, many lament her refusal to pen…