a home/not-home hero’s journey — May 12, 2017

a home/not-home hero’s journey

Written by a New Zealander who has made a home in the UK, and totally understood by an English person who has made a home in New Zealand.

Not Writing But Blogging

I’m going to Aotearoa/New Zealand in two weeks today. For about the past three months I’ve mostly been daunted by the prospect, and very occasionally excited about it. But this morning, while running, it occurred to me that I don’t have to be EITHER fearful OR fearless. I could be both. Or neither. I could be fearful and fearless, quite possibly at the same time.

I’m daunted partly to do with the schedule – not that it’s so very different to my usual work schedule at home, but there is quite a lot of extra travel AND also about 60-70 old friends and family to fit in the in-between work bits. In my 28 days (exactly) away from home I have:

  • 4 x 12 hour international flights
  • 5 x smaller internal NZ flights
  • about 12 hours driving time
  • three writing workshops for a range of abilities/interests
  • three Fun Palaces workshops

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2017 Poetry Competition Results — April 2, 2017

2017 Poetry Competition Results

Congratulations, Kath Beattie! You rock!

Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ)

Time to announce the winners

of the 2017

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Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) poetry competition

The 2017 competition winners have all been notified, and I’ve emailed everyone, who provided me with an email address, to let them know the results are out. Many thanks to: Otago University Press, the art deptand Otago University Bookshop for providing monetary prizes and book vouchers for our 2017 competition.

The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry card. I intend spending some time going through all submissions and selecting any which might be suitable for a future PitWR edition. I’ll be in touch with those poets before the end of the month.

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. Your support will help Poems in the Waiting Room continue to provide free seasonal poetry cards to medical waiting rooms, rest homes…

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Authors in Crime: A Journey through New Zealand Crime Fiction —

Authors in Crime: A Journey through New Zealand Crime Fiction

On the 16th March, Laim McIlvanney and I attended the opening of the above exhibition at the Reed Gallery at the Dunedin Public Library, and the accompanying talk by Victoria University student Margie Michael, currently completing a PhD on New Zealand crime fiction, looking particularly at the use of place, placelessness and beyond.

Michael took us on a journey through time and politics in the company of some of our finest, and lesser known, crime writers.

Afterwards we took a look at the Exhibits;  New Zealand crime books displayed in glass specimen cases, everything from The Mystery of a Hansom Cab first published in 1886 to Twister, published in 2015.

From old-fashioned ‘penny dreadfuls’ through sophisticated ‘whodunnits’ to modern psychological thrillers, the art-work alone is worth a view. Obviously, Dame Ngaio Marsh features and fans of Marsh will recognise the inspiration for the exhibition title.

The gallery have included any writer who was born in New Zealand as well as those who grew up or spent a substantial period of their life here. With a strong emphasis on contemporary writers the Gallery hopes to draw more readers into what they call the fascinating world of crime and detective fiction.

Click here for links to the books on display.

 

In The Spotlight: Jane Woodham’s Twister — October 31, 2016

In The Spotlight: Jane Woodham’s Twister

A clever summary of Twister by Margot Kinberg.

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

SpotlightHello, All,

Welcome to the last of these four special editions of In The Spotlight. One of the real delights in reading books in competition for the Ngaio Marsh Awards is that many of them give the reader a very interesting look at life in modern New Zealand. Let’s  focus on such a book today, and turn the spotlight on Jane Woodham’s Twister.

As the novel begins, a nasty ‘flu virus has been going the rounds of Dunedin, and taking its toll on everyone, including the police force. So, the local police are spread thin. Then, the weather turns against the city. Five days of rain soak things, followed by an unexpected twister. There’s considerable damage, and the already-decimated police force have even more on their hands. They’re hoping very much that things will calm down enough so that the city can be cleaned up and damage repaired. But…

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In the Spotlight: Margot Kinberg takes a look at John Daniell’s The Fixer — — October 25, 2016

In the Spotlight: Margot Kinberg takes a look at John Daniell’s The Fixer —

Hello, All, Welcome to another special edition of In The Spotlight. For many people, New Zealand just wouldn’t be New Zealand without rugby. And plenty of Kiwis are true fans of the game. So it’s only natural that there’d be at least one rugby-themed book among this year’s finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for […]

via In the Spotlight: John Daniell’s The Fixer — Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…

In The Spotlight: Jen Shieff’s The Gentlemen’s Club — Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… —

In The Spotlight: Jen Shieff’s The Gentlemen’s Club — Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…

Margot Kingberg takes a look at the dark goings on in a 50’s Auckland brothel Another great book from the Ngaio Marsh Awards, 2016

Hello, All, Welcome to another special edition of In The Spotlight. As we continue our exploration of this year’s four finalists for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, let’s take a close look at Jen Shieff’s historical novel, The Gentlemen’s Club. Let’s turn the spotlight on 1950s Auckland. Rita Saunders is a […]

via In The Spotlight: Jen Shieff’s The Gentlemen’s Club — Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…

In The Spotlight: Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse — October 13, 2016

In The Spotlight: Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse

A thoughtful review by Margot Kinberg of Ray Berard’s Inside The Black Horse.

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

>In The Spotlight: Carl Hiaasen's Skinny DipHello, All,

Welcome to the first of four special editions of In The Spotlight. I got requests from a few folks to say a bit more about the finalists for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, so I decided to do just that. Starting today and going on for the next three weeks, I’ll put the spotlight on each of the four finalists, so that you can learn (I hope!) a little more about them. Let’s begin with this year’s winner, Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse.

The Black Horse Bar and Casino is a pub that also offers off-course betting services (Incidentally, Berard was a supervisor for off-course betting outlets for the New Zealand government). Located in a rural town on New Zealand’s North Island, The Black Horse is owned by Toni Bourke, a recently widowed Māori who’s trying to do the best she can…

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Packing it in … — September 9, 2016

Packing it in …

Following on from last week’s WORD festival in Christchurch, members of Dunedin’s crime-writing fraternity shared a curry last night with the very entertaining and knowledgeable Scott Pack. Toured the peninsula today. Not a penguin to be seen, but some very nice cake!

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Eating cake at MacAndrew Bay, Gay Buckingham and Scott Pack
Crime Fiction News Break — August 5, 2016
The Strange Case of Kiwi Noir and the Dunedin Detective Club. — July 7, 2016

The Strange Case of Kiwi Noir and the Dunedin Detective Club.

Earlier this week, at a meeting with Liam McIlvanney, Paddy Richardson and Vanda Symon,  we founder members of the Dunedin Detection Club agreed our oath. Borrowed from that of the original Detection Club, formed in 1930 by  a group of British mystery writers who included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G K Chesterton among others, our New Zealand version is shorter and has replaced Death-Rays, Super Criminals and Chinamen with Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings.  Full version below.

Detection Club Members

Detection Club of Dunedin Oath 

 The Ruler shall say to the CandidateIs it your firm desire to become a Member of the Detection Club?

The Candidate shall answer in a loud voice: That is my desire.

The Ruler shall say to the Candidate: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them, using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on, nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence or the Act of God?

I do.

Do you solemnly swear never to conceal a vital clue from the reader?

I do.

Do you promise to never include the use of Ghosts, Hypnotism, Identical Twins, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings?

I do.

Will you honour the Queen’s English?

I will.

The Ruler shall ask:  Do you swear to observe faithfully all these promises which you have made so long as you are a Member of the Club?

The Candidate shall answer All this I solemnly do swear. And I do furthermore promise and undertake to be loyal to the Club, neither purloining nor disclosing any plot or secret communicated to me before publication by any Member, whether under the influence of drink or otherwise.

The Ruler shall declare:

A N Other, you are duly elected a Member of the Detection Club, and if you fail to keep your promises may other writers anticipate your plots, may your publishers do you down in your contracts, may total strangers sue you for libel, may your pages swarm with misprints and may your sales continually diminish.