Tag Archives: New Zealand

The Wireless

WirelessPhoto by Richard Sandford

This week Radio New Zealand started a brand new service for young people called The Wireless. You wont hear it on the radio because it is going to be accessible online via your computer, your smart phone or your ipad – a new way to tell a story. “The Wireless aims to produce inspiring, insightful and entertaining stories for New Zealanders who have grown up in the digital age. The site is updated with new content every weekday.” To find out more watch this vimeo, or better still read some articles: Are you dreaming of a time when you will leave New Zealand? Read what Ally Garrett has to say. Ever thought about your job prospects after university? Listen to this piece by William Ray.

This is  Toby Manhire’s article  The Wireless: youth site a brave step into the net for Radio NZ in the New Zealand Listener.

Mrs H.

Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker prize


Eleanor Catton, an author from New Zealand, has won the Man Booker Prize “the world’s most important literary award [which] has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers” with her book The Luminaries published by Victoria University Press and Granta. It is a book set in the goldfields of Hokitika in 1866 (like Hokitika Town by Charlotte Randall) and this is how Claire Armitstead argued that it should be the winner.

The Man Booker prize is awarded every year to the best original full-length novel written in English by someone living in the Commonwealth. In the 44 years that the prize has been awarded Eleanor Catton is the youngest writer to have won.The prize includes a cash sum of NZ $95,000 which Eleanor Catton described as “…so much money. And it’s more than riches; it’s wealth.”

Eleanor was born in Canada in 1985, raised in the South Island of New Zealand  (her mother used to be the Children’s Librarian at Fendalton Public Library in Christchurch), and currently lives in Mount Eden, Auckland and works at Manukau Institute of Technology. She studied English in Canterbury, did a Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria, as well as a Masters in Fine Arts at Iowa.

Her first novel The Rehearsal was published in 2008 and as Mark Broatch wrote “was also experimental to some degree”. You can find a copy of The Rehearsal in the library, as well as an eBook  version of The Luminaries.

Follow Eleanor Catton on Twitter

See part of Eleanor’s acceptance speech here.

See Carole Beu from The Women’s Bookshop, Ponsonby, Auckland, reviewing The Luminaries on FaceTV with Lindsey Dawson here.

Mrs H.

America’s Cup tension continues….

… both in the Library and the Common Room, as staff and students watched Emirates Team New Zealand win their eighth point (in race 11) against Oracle Team USA in San Fransisco at school this morning.  With Emirates Team New Zealand (the challenger) needing only one more point to win the 34th America’s Cup, and the  second race for the day being postponed due to high wind, we will have to wait until tomorrow for more exciting racing, and to  discover [maybe] who will win the oldest sporting trophy.

With fingers and toes crossed we wish good luck to the whole team including Rob Waddell an old collegiate.

What would James Cook, captain of HMS Endeavour, make of Dean Barker , skipper of the Emirates Team New Zealand and the America’s Cup 72 class wing sail catamaran? Two hundred and forty five years separate the technology of both craft. As Sam Gustin wrote recently “the AC72s are capable of reaching nearly 50 miles per hour — faster than the speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge — while flying feet above the water on thin underwater foils, called daggerboards, which lift the boats out of the water, reducing drag and increasing speed.”

Comparison of the two vessels

Comparison of the two vessels

James Cook ” is a key figure in the history of New Zealand” for mapping “the outline of the country’s coast so thoroughly and accurately that all the remaining voyages of discovery…had merely to fill in the detail and correct minor errors”.

Graeme Lay has just published a novel on the early life of the great sea captain.

The Secret Life of James Cook by Graeme Lay

The Secret Life of James Cook by Graeme Lay

Mrs H.

Are you on the weirder side of normal?

Funny Face #3

Photo used with permission by Raphael Ammann

Photo source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/28283035@N06/6988747230/]

Derek Landy, the Irish author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series of books has been on a whirlwind tour of New Zealand recently promoting his new book The Kingdom of the Wicked.  He is one of many authors who have a blog and when he landed in New Zealand on the 10th August, he wrote, “New Zealand, eh? Lovely country, full of lunatics…” Perhaps this is because he describes his readers as being “on the weirder side of normal”.

Skulduggery Pleasant originally started out as a trilogy, but it now looks as if it is going to include nine books in total. If you have missed out so far then you can catch up on the books here. Derek describes them as being full of “ adventure, action, horror, fantasy, crime and humour…it’s the whole package”.

You may have seen his amusing interview on breakfast television whilst he was in New Zealand. To read more about Derek, and his writing, see this page where The Pulse talked to Derek about his characters, writing and his influences.

Mrs H.

Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield

Putting it very simply this is the true story of two sisters from Sarajevo who now live in New Zealand. However, their story, as documented in this book, is far from ordinary. Both authors will be talking about their newly published book at the Readers and Writers Festival in Auckland on the 14th and 15th May.
Of particular interest to us at King’s College is the fact that one of the authors is the mother of one of our students.

“Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave. But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka battles for survival in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life. Their mother, working for a humanitarian aid organisation, is unable to reach them and their father retreats inside himself, shocked at what is happening to his city. In Sarajevo, death lurks in every corner and shakes the foundation of their existence. One day their beloved uncle is killed while queuing up for bread in the market square, in a massacre similar to the one three months earlier which prompted a cellist to make a lone musical protest in the deserted streets. But when Atka finds work as a translator in an old, smoky radio station, and then with a photojournalist from New Zealand, life takes an unexpected turn, and the remarkable events that follow change her life, and those of her family, forever. Set in the middle of the bloodiest European conflict since the Second World War, Goodbye Sarajevo is a moving and compelling true story of courage, hope and extraordinary human kindness.”

The library also has a copy of  The Cellist of Sarajevo by Canadian author Steven Galloway.

This book “tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst. One day a shell lands in a bread line and kills twenty-two people as the cellist watches from a window in his flat. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni’s Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims.”

However, when The Cellist of Sarajevo was published in Canada three years ago Vedran Smailović (the real life Cellist of Sarajevo)  was very angry at being portrayed in the book.

This is how it was reported by David Sharrock in  The Sunday Times June 7, 2008 Cellist of Sarajevo, Vedran Smailović, is wounded by words: a musician who risked his life playing a lament for 22 massacre victims is incensed by a novel capitalising on his act.

John McCutcheon, the American folksinger, was also inspired by the actions of Vedran Smailović  to write this song about the madness of war.

He was there one Sunday morning
At the corner of the square
In a freshly pressed tuxedo
In a simple folding chair
Just after curfew lifted
When everything was still
He played his cello
In the morning chill..

In the streets of Sarajevo
A place of flame and death
This music so surprising
The whole world held its breath
And each morning he returned
To that spot and he would play
In the streets of Sarajevo – everyday

And everyday he made me wonder
Where did he ever find
The music midst the madness
The courage to be kind
The long forgotten beauty
We thought was blown away
In the streets of Sarajevo everyday..

And many was the day
The soldiers asked him who he was
They warned him of the danger
In doing what he does
Many said that he was crazy
To risk his life in such a way
On the streets of Sarajevo, everyday.

I wish someone could tell me
Who is crazy, who is sane
Those who stand in protest
Or those who drop these bombs like rain
Those who fill our lives with death
In this place where children play
On the streets of Sarajevo everyday…

So I come here in defiance
To add a bit of grace
Try to ease the awful hatred
And the horror of this place
To remember there is beauty
No matter what they say
In the streets of Sarajevo everyday..

And everyday I see them
Those who will not stand aside
Who refuse to be defeated
Who rage against the tide,
They are a glimmer in the darkness
The rolling of the stone..
A message in a bottle
From the distant shores of home..

Everyday he made me wonder
Where did he ever find
The music midst the madness
And the courage to be kind
The long forgotten beauty
We thought was blown away
In the streets of Sarajevo,.. Belfast, Tel Aviv
And in the streets of Jakarta
And in the streets of New York City
And in the streets of every city, everyday..