Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts like leaves.

Further to my New Zealand Book Month post, I did a quick tally of the books I have read so far this year. 17 novels, 7 of which are from New Zealand. So I'm beating the 5% average by 36%. Yeah! Interestingly, four of them are by debut authors, and all of them are by women.

I also pondered why it is that, when our newspapers are full of NZ-only interest stories, with tiny sections devoted to world news, we are not similarly interested in NZ fictional stories.

The new look New Zealand Book Awards has been announced, now sponsored by NZ Post. I certainly look forward to the new format, and good on NZ Post for the tireless support of New Zealand literature (they also sponsor the Wellington Readers and Writers' Festival and the Katherine Mansfield Menton fellowship)... but. There will now only be three fiction finalists. I don't understand this decision, especially given everyone's dismay the year the judges chose only four finalists instead of the five they were allowed to. Aside from winning, it is a good honour and a good opportunity for promotion to be short-listed, and that honour is now much harder to obtain. I really hope this is re-thought.

In other news, congratulations to fellow-blogger and wonderfully pink-haired Laini Taylor, whose latest YA book, Lips Touch, has been short-listed for America's National Book Award. Laini's books aren't available in New Zealand as far as I know, but her other project, Laini's Ladies, can be bought from Cosi Fan Tutte in Christchurch. Of course, you can always check out Laini's books from Amazon, or order them from somewhere like Unity.

I hope to be blogging much more regularly now that things have settled down somewhat on the home front. And of course it is only three weeks until Magpie Hall comes out. I am expecting an advance copy by courier tomorrow. Exciting! Well, it is for me anyway. Heh.


15 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

That is exciting Rachael. Glad you are getting your routine back. Exciting about Laini too.

aspiring novelist said...

Only three fiction finalists! That's crazy. What are New Zealand Post doing???????????????????

a cat of impossible colour said...

That's so exciting! Are you going to blog about it? Can we see a photo? I kno we've seen the cover, but it is exciting to see it in corporeal form too.

Glad things have settled down, as well. My little nephew was born on Saturday, so my sister-in-law has entered crazy, new-baby time. :)

Fergus Barrowman said...

I think the three-book fiction shortlist is dumb and destructive too. I'm surprised that such a significant change was held back from the first announcement of the new structure, but even more surprised, and disappointed, that no one else has protested. Maybe it's true that no one cares about NZ fiction?

Rachael King said...

Fergus - I don't understand either why nobody has said anything, especially on Beattie's blog where people tend to speak up. Maybe they are planning to have a longlist released before the shortlist? I know they were streamlining the awards, but this does seem to be going a little far.

Donna Hosie said...

How exciting, Rachael. Very best wishes for the release.

Fergus said...

Hi Rachael. It is a strange kind of silence, isn't it. I've written to the members of the advisory committee, but I haven't had any answers, as if they've all taken some dreadfful vow of silence.

Mark Hubbard said...

I've read 22 novels since 1 January, 8 were NZ authors:

Bernard Beckett
Owen Marshall (2)
Vanda Symon
Maurice Gee
Elizabeth Knox (2)
Adam Armstrong (well, Norfolk)

That's 36%. I love reading about where I live.

Agreed about the short list.

Mark Hubbard said...

And yes, looking forward to Magpie Hall (Plus if it was me waiting for my own novel to arrive, I would be very excited, and rightly so. So much effort goes into writing them, after all. Enjoy it.)

Mark Hubbard said...

Um, just read Fergus's comment. No, I love NZ fiction, surely there is plenty of us who do? As I said in my post above, reading about 'where I live' is the most satisfying of experiences: and for me, Maurice Gee is the pinnacle of what I mean by this - reading every one of his adult novels is like coming home for me.

Regarding Rachael's preceding post, when I enter a bookshop, NZ fiction is always my first port of call, and I love it being separated because of that, plus would hate to see it subsumed in the general shelves. I wish libraries operated a similar policy.

Rachel Fenton said...

I really hope there will be a long list - otherwise it looks like there's just not enough talent :(

I find it very odd.

Best of luck with your newbie, I'd say it gets easier but you'll know which bits of that are and aren't true! (that's baby, btw, but best of luck with your other baby, too!)

Ruth said...

FYI, another good online bookstore I found recently is The Book Depository - they have very good prices for books (compared to NZ) and do free shipping worldwide.

Their customer service isn't great, but their prices are, so long as you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks for your book to be shipped from the UK. :)

Fergus said...

Hi Rachel. It's a strange silence, isn't it. I wrote to the members of the advisory committee, but I haven't had an answer yet. It's as if they've all taken some dreadful vow of silence.

Fergus said...

Oops, sorry about the spelling mistake, Rachael! Still nothing from the ctte. What I particularly wanted to remind them of is that the Posties are all we have. It's not like for instance Britain, where if someone misses the Booker shortlist there's still the Orange, the Costa and more...

Laini Taylor said...

Aw, thanks for the shout out, Rachael!

I can't WAIT to read Magpie Hall!!