Archive 2010

Waiting for Google ebooks in NZ? Come over to our place now while you wait.

December 20, 2010 |
Victoria University Press welcomes Google ebooks recent launch in the States. While New Zealanders wait for access we would like to remind them that wonderful New Zealand books can be downloaded right now, also via
We've got some ebooks which will make great reading over the upcoming holiday period, including Patrick Evan's novel about Frank Sargeson and Janet Frame, Gifted (on the lists of many reviewers best picks of 2010), and Tim Wilson's post-rapture novel Their Faces Were Shining. Both of these titles were included in the Listener's 100 Top Books of 2010, along with Pierre Furlan's The Collector's Dream and Bill Manhire'sThe Victims of Lightning. 
Our newest ebook is Motel View by Forbes Williams. First published in 1992, Motel View was acclaimed by reviewers and shortlisted for the 1993 Wattie Award, but it remains Forbes Williams' only book (so far) and is something of a lost classic.
We’ve been releasing ebooks since July. They are a mixture of New Zealand history, novels, short stories and poetry. We have not restricted ourselves to obvious bestsellers, but have chosen a diverse range of books in order to test the interest from different parts of the community.
The nature of the internet means that it is as easy, quick and safe to buy an ebook from as it is from a major retailer, and VUP’s ebooks are available in both industry standard ePub format, which works on most readers, and mobi, which works on Amazon’s Kindle.
Useful information on ebook readers and reading ebooks on your computer can be found by clicking the ‘ebook readers’ banner at the lower left of every page.

Listener Best Books 2010

VUP are very well represented in the Listener's Best Books of 2010, which features no fewer than nine VUP titles, all perfect, dare we say, for someone on your christmas shopping lists.

The titles are:
Gifted - Patrick Evans,
Their Faces Were Shining - Tim Wilson
The Collector’s Dream - Pierre Furlan
Hicksville - Dylan Horrocks
The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls - Kate Camp
The Victims of Lightning - Bill Manhire
Report on Experience - John Mulgan
Reading on the Farm - Lydia Wevers
Serious Fun - Norman Meehan

What If?

VUP are delighted to announce the publication of the next volume of New Zealand speculative histories, New Zealand As It Might Have Been 2.A further 17 portraits of possible New Zealand History are explored, a mix of short stories and commentaries, some whimsical, others grim, each offering a perceptive and plausible new slant on significant events and personalities. An excellent series of radio documentaries, featuring authors from both volumes, can be found here.

Gifted launched with a jolt

November 1, 2010
Patrick Evans


Launching a book after it's been on sale for six weeks is a big risk. It can be like a memorial service. But this was definitely not the case with Giftedwhich, after appearing on the NZ fiction bestseller list for 5 weeks straight, has risen to number 3 on the list. Appropriately there was a good jolt of a quake during the launch, which barely managed to ruffle any feathers of the calm Cantabrians. Gifted continues to receive rave reviews.

VUP authors collaborate to produce Jazz CD

September 22nd 2010
Norman Meehan and Bill Manhire with Hannah Griffin (voice) and Colin Hemmingsen (reeds). Award-winning poet, Bill Manhire, and composer/pianist Norman Meehan have collaborated to create the first settings of Bill Manhire’s poetry. Sung by Wellington chanteuse Hannah Griffin, the songs are predominantly ballads strong on melody and mood.
Bill Manhire is one of our best-selling and most enjoyed poets. Norman Meehan is a well-established composer and performer, whose album THE BELLS was nominated for Best Album in the 2008 NZ Jazz Awards. This album follows the strong SUN MOON STARS RAIN, in which Norman set poems by e.e.cummings, again with Hannah singing.
Bill Manhire: “I had mixed feelings when Norman first got in touch about setting my poems. Didn’t they have music already? But I like what he did with them enormously – I feel that he has somehow found new cadences and melodies in the words that are as true as anything I felt was there originally. And I love Hannah’s voice.”
Norman Meehan: “Having set, performed and recorded some poems by e.e.cummings, I was interested in working with material closer to home. A friend gave me a pile of New Zealand poetry books, and as much as I enjoyed them, the poems didn’t really spark musical ideas for me, until I started reading Bill Manhire’s Collected Poems. Over the first two weeks of looking at these poems, I had written six songs, which is incredibly productive for me, but the poems were so rich and pregnant with music they just kind of popped out.”
None of us get much for free these days, but the launch concert for BUDDHIST RAIN is exactly that – free.
7pm. Thursday 23 September, The Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
No bookings. Turn up and claim your ticket on the night.
Two further concerts will be happening in Wellington in late October. These will also include material from the e.e. cummings album.
22 October Friday: St Andrew’s on the Terrace, 6.30 p.m.
26 October Tuesday: St Mark’s Church, 58 Woburn Rd, Lower Hutt, 7.30 p.m.
$25 / $15 Students with ID / $60 Family / $7 school students
(Source Rattle Newsletter) - -

Praise for Gifted

September 21st 2010
A new novel by Patrick Evans that fictionalises one of the great encounters in New Zealand literature, between Janet Frame and Frank Sargeson, is receiving praise from many sources. Gifted was the subject of a recent story in the Listener entitled A New Frame for Frame (the full article is here) and is continuing to raise questions about biographical fiction since it's launch. Laurence Jones writing in the Otago Daily Times about Gifted says "He has chosen to tell it from the point of view of Sargeson, looking back a year later (and his capturing of the later freer and more garrulous a triumph)". Writing in The Dominion Post's Your Weekend, Bruce Harding writes "Evans...constructs a moving appreciation of Frame by the cranky old fusspot Sargeson."

Two VUP authors scoop awards at the "Posties"

August 31, 2010
Brian Turner, a leading biographer, essayist, poet and conservationist, was presented with the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry for his collection, "Just This", described by judge Elizabeth Smither as a life's work in its reach, its depth and its deceptive plainness of surface. He took the prize ahead of fellow VUP author Bernadette Hall. 'Just This dares to ask the profoundest questions about place and human existence, how we live now and how we hand the world on. It is dangerous poetry because it addresses ethics but at the same time it is leavened with a sweet and sly self-awareness as it searches for "something you can have faith in, swear by". The journey from the first poem to the last is a revelation,' says Smither.
Anna Taylor, the winner of the 2010 NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction - announced earlier this year - was also honoured for her short story collection"Relief".

VUP launches more e-books

August 16, 2010
We're delighted to announce that we have expanded the number of titles available as e-books through meBooks. The titles now available include recent releases such as Damien Wilkin's Somebody Loves Us All and Bill Manhire's The Victims of Lightning, along with old favourites such as The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox. You can view all of VUP's available e-books by clicking here.



VUP Welcomes new publicist Helen Heath

July 29, 2010 |
Helen Heath doesn't like talking about herself in the third person so I'll start by saying "Hello"! I'm excited to be joining the VUP team. I've got a background in publishing and bookselling and I recently completed my MA in creative Writing at the IIML (in poetry). I'll be managing the website and social media as well as being in close contact with traditional media. We now have a Facebook page, where you can keep up to date with our daily goings on, come over and have a look. We'll also beTweeting a bit more now since I'm a real chatterbox. In my spare time I blog at Helen Heath dot com. There's a fun interview with Fergus Barrowman and Elizabeth Knox over there at the moment - I got my revenge for all the job interview questions!

Lives of the Poets to be launched on National Poetry Day

July 29, 2010 |
John Newton's long awaited second book of poetry is being launched this Friday, July 30th as part of National Poetry Day celebrations atUnity Books Wellington from 5.30pm (all welcome).
John Newton’s debut volume Tales from the Angler’s Eldorado came out in 1985, and his work is represented in most of the major anthologies to have appeared since that time.Lives of the Poets is the long-awaited follow-up. In poems that range from lyric to satire, and from formalist set-pieces to extended verse narrative, this book charts a journey through the backblocks of Romanticism and through fractured contemporary landscapes of writing and feeling.


A flurry of launches

July 29, 2010 |

We've had a wonderful flurry of launches this month. Lydia Wever'sReading on the Farm was launched in an extraordinary venue - Brancepeth Station by the extraordinary James Belich. The book is a fascinating social history of a Victorian sheep station through its library and Pepysian diaries from a frustrated librarian / clerk John Vaughan Miller. Lydia read a hilarious excerpt from the book - a letter from Miller to his employer:
Te Kohanga
Motueka, Nelson
Monday 22 Jan, 1900.
My dear Mr Beetham
I did not have a very pleasant drive in the mail buggy. We no sooner got to your bridge tha[n] we picked up Mrs McRae and 2 boys - and a trifle of luggage. At the Parae a hunch-back got in - so the 2 boys were put over into the front with the driver and myself - I need not say it was the reverse of enjoyable. At the Taueru we stopped some time, because Mrs Stronvar was expected, and was welcomed by the McIntosh family with great effusion - a considerable infusion must have followed, for, when the lady reappeared, there was an apoplectic suffusion of her extremely beautiful countenance, and, as I thought, some confusion of ideas - If what she had thankfully partaken of was only tea, it must have been a capital T, and far and away the strongest letter of the alphabet.
But worse was to come - when we got opposite to Tuhua's house, out came a double-peonied faced thing calling itself a woman - and I need scarcely say her name was Mrs Parsons. The driver looked at me, and I was far from smiling - Mrs P. came smirking to the front where self, driver, & 2 boys were already stowed, besides luggage, and she lifted a fearful thing (which may possibly have been a leg) to mount - I merely remarked to the driver, " I shall not allow this; put me down at once with my luggage" - He only smiled and whipped up his horses, and said "thank you, Mr Miller: I was hoping you would speak" - Mrs P was simply left in the middle of the road, like Lot's wife - and not one of us had the manners to express a word of regret.

Hinemoana Baker's long awaited second book Koiwi Koiwi was heartily launched by Teresia Teaiwa to a heaving crowd at the Ballroom cafe. Hinemoana and Chris White played music to an appreciative crowd before reading and performing a stunning sonic poem with Teresia.
You can read Teresia's fantastic speechhere.
We are very excited for Hinemoana, who has been chosen to go to the prestigious International Writing Programme in Iowa. A huge honour!
Dr Wally Penetito's What's Maori About Maori Education launch was a family affair. The book is a story of what it feels like to be a Maori in an education system where, for more than a century, equality, social justice and fairness for all New Zealanders has been promised but not adequately provided.


Keely O'Shannessy Wins Young Designer of the Year Award

VUP would like to heartily congratulate Keely O'Shannessy for winning the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2010. We love her work, and it seems the judges do too - "If a successful cover makes you want to pick a book up, these make you want to pick them up, turn them over and take them home." More details of the awards can be found here.
Keely won this year for the cover of Patricia Grace's Ned & Katina. Among her many great covers for VUP, Keely designed the cover for Eleanor Catton's award winning The Rehearsal.

Relief Wins Best First Book Award

Victoria University Press is delighted to congratulate Anna Taylor winner of the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for her book of short stories Relief.
 To celebrate, we are excited to announce the release of Relief as our first e-book, in conjunction with meBooks ( along with praised new author Pip Adam’s short storiesEverything We Hoped For.
 We are also thrilled to congratulate Bernadette Hall and Brian Turner, poetry finalists, who will have e-versions of their books, released with further VUP titles in the near future. All our e-books are available via the links on the books page, or by going directly to meBooks.



About Relief

Relief introduces an astonishingly mature and confident new voice in New Zealand fiction. Emily Perkins says: These are wonderful stories, exquisitely observed and recorded with delicacy and wit.
The stories effortlessly mix the menacing and the comic, and handle real-life situations with warmth and subtlety. A little girl out of her depth in her friendship with an adult neighbour; an armed intruder thwarted by a bee; a woman determined to believe in her brother’s goodness under the shadow of accusation; a Christmas dinner guest who will eat only peas…
Anna Taylor was born in 1982. She completed the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2006, and won the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for the manuscript she wrote during that year, which became Relief.
Taylor has produced a superb debut collection, is unafraid to turn calamities into blessings, and writes with the elegance and composure of a silversmith. I can't wait to read what she does next.        - Paula Green NZ HERALD
For more information, to arrange an interview with Anna or for review copies please contact Craig Gamble at Victoria University Press ph 04 4636580

Two New Perspectives on Education

June 2, 2010
This week VUP publishes two important new books about education in New Zealand. Wally Penetito's What's Maori About Maori Education?talks about what it is like to be Maori in an education system where equality, social justice and fairness for all New Zealanders has been promised but not delivered. Meanwhile Looking Back from the Centre, edited by Joanna Kidman and Ken Stevens, remembers the integral role of the School of Education in Wellington's educational domain since its establishment in 1927, and looks forward to its continuing influence on education in New Zealand and internationally.

Competition Winner!

Many thanks to all who entered the competiton to win three new titles from VUP. The winner is Tim from Nelson, and the three signed books are on their way South, congratulations!

Real life in three new books

Last night’s launch of three new books drew as big and enthusiastic a crowd as we have ever experienced at Unity. The writers read brilliantly and were mobbed at the end. Counting down, they were:
Ingrid Horrocks, whose Mapping the Distance is her third book. Ingrid read three poems, ending with ‘Light Between Houses’, for her partner Tim Corballis:
There in the brightness 
as we talked back and forth, forth and back
each word seeming to come from a depth 
in our bodies; we hardly touched before 
I pushed against you and tasted your skin.
Anna Livesey, whose The Moonmen is her second book. Anna read the very moving sequence about her mother, the writer Janet McCallum, which ends with the lines:
There is no way of saying we are sorry, save to hold you.
There is no way to hold or save you.
Pip Adam, whose Everything We Hoped For is her first book. Pip had the audience in stitches with this ‘every word is true’ extract from ‘You’ve Come a Long Way Baby’:
We have a week north of London first, in a friend’s flat, in a huge tenement block, in Stevenage. People in Stevenage look like they’re taking the piss out of themselves. It’s chav heaven. There are whole families in shell suits. We catch the train into London, go to galleries and look through the bars of Buckingham Palace. We see squirrels, and marble steps that are worn away by millions of people, over hundreds of years, climbing them. We sleep on the lounge floor and annoy each other – but it’s cheap.
On Thursday a black car turns up outside and the driver calls and asks if we can come down because he’s a bit worried about leaving the car there. We come down in the piss-smelling lift and he puts our backpacks in the boot of the shiny, black car that local youths are now standing around and shouting at. We get driven to Milton Keynes in the grey cold.
The hotel we’re staying in is like Fawlty Towers. There are ducks, and people in sunglasses arrive and hug each other. All the way in the car, Bo says, ‘Be cool, just be cool.’ When the big stars start arriving at the hotel I am very, very uncool. When I say big stars, I mean Giles from Buffy, and all the hobbits and people from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. One of the hobbits gives Bo a hug, says ‘Boooh,’ and pats him as far up his back as he can reach. A taxi arrives, it’s the female cyborg from Terminator 3. Someone carries her luggage for her. We go to our room and Bo goes for a walk. He says he saw a fox but I highly doubt it. He’s nervous. It’s all about him. Tomorrow he has to earn our trip to England. At dinner I look around and think, this is ridiculous. I want to say to him, ‘Don’t be nervous, this is ridiculous,’ but I’m not sure whether it would help or hinder.
The next morning a limousine picks us up. We travel with a former child star and his wife who looks like what most people would expect the wife of a former child star to look like. A man who was in Goonies with the child star is reading the paper. He starts ripping out an article and says, ‘I gotta save this for Benicio – he wants to play Che.’ He seems to be saying it to me, so I sort of smile and nod. Nothing in my life has really prepared me for a conversation of this nature.
There are hundreds of people at the mall when we get there. It’s a bit of a mutant ghetto welcome. They scream and we get escorted down an aisle between the screaming people. Someone says the hobbits came separately. They’re coming round the back while we’re coming in the front – we’re a diversion.
They haven’t opened the mall yet and inside there are tables set up with huge posters above them. One of the women who came with us in the limousine is beautiful; I keep looking at her, thinking she probably plays some sexy vampire or something. She sits under a poster of herself with a Klingon crab-shell on her forehead. George Takei is there and the guy who used to be in Benson. Bo gets ushered under a photo of him as the Witch King, which could be anyone. I say, ‘Have fun’ and they sit the albino twins from the Matrix 2 on one side of him and Pussy Galore on the other. Then they open the doors.



Win Three New Books!

VUP is offering you the chance to win one copy of three new titles,Mapping The Distance, The Moonmen and Everything We Hoped For, all signed by the authors. Just email the answer to the question below by Friday the 21st May, 2010; and we'll put you in the draw. The winner will be announced on Monday the 24th May, 2010.
The question is:
What is the title of the forthcoming CD by Norman Meehan, which contains settings of poems by Bill Manhire? Here's a clue, Norman Meehan's book on Mike Nock will be released by VUP later this year.
Good Luck!

Triple Treat of New Writing

VUP is delighted to announce the publication of three new books coming later this month. Two new books of poetry, Ingrid Horrock's Mapping the Distance, and Anna Livesey's The Moonmen; along with Pip Adam's debut book of stories Everything We Hoped For, will all be published on the 21st May. All three will be launched at Unity Books Wellington on the evening of the 20th May, all welcome.
Check back soon for details on how to win all three titles!

Hicksville Reaches New Zealand

18 March 2010
Little wonder that a man whose first words were “Donald Duck” went on to become an award winning author of graphic novels.
The long awaited New Zealand edition ofHicksville, complete with a new introduction by the author, launches on Friday, March 19th at The High Seas (12 Beresford Square, Auckland). On show is an exhibition of original art from Hicksville, which will stay open through Saturday 20th March
Since it’s first publication 11 years ago, Hicksville has been translated into French, Italian and Spanish, been shortlisted for major awards around the world, has been the subject of scholarly studies and is required reading in graphic novel courses at universities in Europe and America. Artwork from the book has been exhibited in several countries, and is in the permanent collections of Te Papa and the Auckland Art Gallery.

Despite all that, Hicksville has been hard to get in New Zealand – until now.

About Dylan Horrocks:

Dylan Horrocks was born in 1966 and lives in New Zealand with his wife and two sons. He is the author of the comic book series Pickle and Atlasand has written for DC Comics, including Hunter: The Age of Magic andBatgirl. His recent work can be found at
"Dylan Horrocks is one of the true geniuses of comic books."
- Destroy All Comics

“Dylan Horrocks is clever, funny, and very, very good at making comic books. His characters grab you and haunt you and even make you worry for them. Buy this guy's comics. He knows what he's doing."
- Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, 300)

Key To Victory

Key to Victory is the story of the New Zealand general election of 2008, in which the experienced and long-serving prime minister, Helen Clark, was ousted by a political newcomer – National’s John Key.
Veteran academic commentators Colin James, Jon Johansson, and Therese Arseneau offer perspectives on what New Zealanders were voting for when endorsing John Key and National, and what they were voting against. Several MPs elected for the first time in 2008 provide first-hand accounts of their parties’ campaigns, including Labour’s Grant Robertson; the Greens’ Catherine Delahunty; the Maori Party’s Rahui Katene; ACT’s John Boscawen; and the director of National’s winning campaign, Steven Joyce, appointed to Cabinet following National’s victory. New Zealand First’s doomed campaign is described by its campaign director, Damian Edwards, while party strategists John Pagani and Rob Eaddy provide accounts of the Progressive and United Future campaigns. 
Key to Victory also investigates the important issues of the 2008 election, such as the impact of the Electoral Finance Act, and the likely future of New Zealand’s remaining small parties. 
Key to Victory was launched on the 23rd February by the Prime Minister, The Honourable John Key.
For more infromation or to order click here.

Praise for Somebody Loves Us All

December 18th 2009
Damien Wilkins new novel Somebody Loves Us Allhas been receiving a number of very favourable reviews in the press, including an interview and feature in The Dominion Post's Indulgence weekend magazine; and a review and interview in The Sunday Star Times. Somebody Loves Us All has also been chosen as one of the best books of the year by theSunday Star Times which describes it as "The New Zealand novel of the year and Wilkins' best work so far. A story about language, motherhood and the relationship of adult children with their parents, including a brilliant deployment of the story-within-the-story. The link to the rest of the list is here.

Heather McKenzie

Heather with Margarita
We are devastated by the tragic death of Heather McKenzie, whose ebullience and warmth have been such a huge part of VUP for more than 10 years. The photos above are of Heather having a fine time in Santa Fe at Christmas 2005, and with her husband Neil Brown, Laura Kroetsch and Fergus Barrowman in late October this year.
Heather Neil Laura Fergus October 2009
Here is the funeral notice:
McKenzie, Heather Jean - On 1 November 2009 suddenly in Wellington aged 44 years. Loving wife of Neil Brown and daughter of Mavis and the late John McKenzie. Sister to Audrie, Don and Catherine. Step mother of Nyssa and Bret and Doggie mother to Cowboy and Islay. A beloved aunt, godmother and friend. Special thanks to the staff of A+E and ICU of Wellington Hospital for their loving care. Donations for the SPCA would be appreciated and may be left on the day of the service. Messages for Heather's family may be sent C/- 4 Moorefield Road, Johnsonville or may be placed in her online tribute book at Please bring a garden flower for Heather’s casket. A service for Heather will be held in Old St Paul's, Mulgrave Street, Thorndon on Friday 6 November 2009 at 11:00am followed by burial at Makara Cemetery.
November 3rd , 2009

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