Books & Writers Weekend Saturday September 2016
Coffee / Tea
Telling our tales
Close to where the massive Waterview Tunnel is being built, there are volcanic tunnels that were once escape routes for warring tribes. The Tunnel in our Backyard brings this landscape to life in an illustrated story that links young readers to the heritage of where they live. The first session of the day will begin with writer Malcolm Paterson sharing the tale of these underground pathways, and reminding us of the rich tapestry of stories that make up the cultural and geographical landscape that is Tāmaki Makaurau.
Stories of life and death
In his highly articulate, down-to-earth and generous book, Things That Matter, Dr David Galler tells stories of life and death from his position as head of intensive care at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital. It is an intelligent read, and an eye-opener for those not in the medical world. David doesn’t shy away from the political either, and covers topics such as treating people not diseases, where medicine has gone wrong and how we might fix it, and when doing less can be more.
Interviewing David will be his friend and fellow writer and physician, Glenn Colquhoun. Together, they will explore some of the touchstones of David’s book, and see where these various tangents on life, medicine and writing will lead them.
Sponsored by Dai Bindoff and Associates
From the mouth of the river
New Zealand’s rivers are an ecological treasure, of fundamental significance to Maori and often a political and economic battleground. In Tupuna Awa: People and Politics on the Waikato River, Marama Muru-Lanning presents a history of the Waikato-Tainui iwi, the Crown, Mighty River Power and the river itself over the last 30 years, and the rival stories used to stake claims as its guardians, custodians and owners.
In Polluted Inheritance: New Zealand’s Freshwater Crisis, ecologist Mike Joy issues a call to arms, demonstrating how intensive dairy farming has degraded our freshwater rivers, streams and lakes to an alarming degree and urging New Zealand to change course or risk the well-being of future generations.
The authors will be in conversation with James Littlewood.
What happens when trauma transforms our children? Do we change with them, or try to bring them back to themselves? In her latest novel Billy Bird, Emma Neale offers up a moving, insightful and lyrical exploration of parenthood that is both funny and disarmingly frank. In conversation with fellow poet Siobhan Harvey, Emma will explore how she came to the story of Liam, iris and their young son Billy who, after a tragic accident, turns into a bird. He utterly believes it, and as Billy’s behaviour becomes increasingly worrying, Liam and Iris must find a way to stop their family flying apart. Ripe with playfulness, yet also unforgettably poignant, this novel will unstitch – and then mend – your heart several times over.
A brush with the Bard
Book creator Donovan Bixley spent 10 years working on his illustrated biography Much Ado About Shakespeare, at many times despairing that it would ever get published. But published it was, just in time for the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, and it has received a riotous reception around the world. In the book, Donovan breathes life into the times in which the Bard lived and worked, giving context to familiar quotes and references from Shakespeare’s works.
At Going West, Donovan will be sharing his long journey to bringing this new interpretation of Shakespeare to life, the inspiration behind his paintings, and some of the reasons why Shakespeare’s unique voice continues to intrigue us.
Damien Wilkins, author, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University and a leading chronicler of contemporary life in Aotearoa, discusses the art of writing, the art of teaching and Dad Art, the most recent of his eight novels, with writer Sue Orr.
In Dad Art, it’s Wellington, now. Acoustic engineer Michael Stirling’s old life is gone. He’s on the dating scene, learning te reo Maori, living in an upmarket apartment complex and visiting his father who has dementia. Wearing his online dating disguise, Michael meets Chrissie, the widowed mother of a young son. Then his beloved adult daughter arrives from Auckland with a new attachment, an artist whose project will push them all towards key moments of risk and revelation. This vibrant, funny new work, told with great verve, is about the capacity for surprise and renewal.
Giving art its voice
In April 2011, Anthony Byrt was living in Berlin, deeply engaged with the art world, surrounded by the artists he most admired – and about to become a father. His son’s traumatic arrival into the world upended everything and by September he and his wife had returned to New Zealand and isolated themselves in the Anawhata house of artist Judy Millar. There, he began to write.
The resulting book, This Model World, is a deeply personal walk through the contemporary art world, introducing us to the work of Shane Cotton, Yvonne Todd, Peter Robinson, Judy Millar, Simon Denny and others.
In conversation with Andrew Clifford, Anthony will talk about This Model World and, with Judy, discuss how their close relationship as artist and writer has evolved in the studio over many years, and the ways that has affected their respective work.
How to commit an art crime
‘Art crime’ is a glamorous idea; we picture a Hollywood-handsome playboy thief making off with his prize. but the reality couldn’t be more different. In fact, as Penelope Jackson shows in her new book Art Thieves, Fakers and Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story, the amount of crime that is publicly known in the art world is just the tip of a criminal iceberg that offers an alternative art history.
Her meticulously researched, landmark book documents New Zealand’s most scandalous art crimes of the last 100 years – some notorious but others covered up by embarrassed owners and institutions. In conversation with Dr Robin Woodward, she traces her own interest in the subject and demonstrates that New Zealand is far from immune from the criminal activities increasingly affecting art around the world.
2016 Poetry Slam Register to Perform
2016 Poetry Slam Slam Begins
This is where the spoken word hits the road in a fast-paced evening of competitive performance poetry with generous cash prizes. With courage to the fore, poets from all backgrounds and beliefs speak from the heart with passion, intelligence and a desire to tell their stories. It is powerful and, above all, immensely entertaining.