Friday, April 27, 2018

How We Met - Michele A'Court

A message from bestselling author and comedian Michele A'Court
A message for you from Michele A'Couirt

How We Met by Michele A'Court
"It's a very successful balance between that astute social observation which Michele A’Court is so good at, intellectual inquiry and analysis, but also it’s just full of warm fuzzy stories – 42 stories from 42 couples - and they all have happy endings. And who doesn’t want that in a world as we have today?' 
- Louise O'Brien, Radio New Zealand

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Win tickets to see Michele at Auckland  Writers Festival





Two ANZAC books launched at Devenport Library

Devonport Library – April 24th 2018


Launch of Odyssey of the Unknown ANZAC by David Hastings and Gallipoli to the Somme: Recollections of a New Zealand Infantryman by Alexander Aitken (edited Alex Calder)

Launch speech by Paula Morris

Tonight, on the eve of ANZAC Day, a century on from the last year of the war, we’re celebrating the launch of two very important books. When I was a child, attending ANZAC Day commemorations with my family, Auntie Hopi selling poppies in the Domain, there were still veterans – old fellas – alive to attend the ceremonies and tell their stories. Now there are just stories, and memories of stories – the private legacies of war, the personal costs, the family tales and secrets.

Every year we pledge to remember those who fought and didn’t return, but it gets harder, the generations more distant, the human experiences of the first World War increasingly part of history, and the thick clouds of the past.

David Hastings, in Odyssey of the Unknown ANZAC, quotes from the Iliad: ‘The wind scatters one year’s leaves on the ground, but the forest burgeons and puts out others, as the season of spring comes round. So it is with men: one generation grows on, and another is passing away.’

Reading those lines reminded me of one of my favourite Philip Larkin poems, The Trees: ‘Is it that they are born again/And we grow old? No, they die too/Their yearly trick of looking new/Is written down in rings of grain.’

With every cycle we have more rings of grain, more deaths and births, more wars, more secret histories and accounts of years past hidden within.

 So it’s my pleasure and privilege tonight to launch two new books that bring that past and its people back to us in vivid detail – Odyssey of the Unknown ANZAC, and Gallipoli to the Somme. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, perhaps, because without books like these, we’ll forget the epic feats demanded of ordinary New Zealanders, often very young men very far from home. Without books like these, we may forget who we were and what we did, and not understand who we’ve become.

We may also forget the individual stories of men who were not generals or politicians, heroes or villains, but this person and that, real and complex, trying to make it through another day – and to make it home. In David Hasting’s book, we follow a detective’s trail, in a way, in search of one man, George McQuay – from a Taranaki town to Gallipoli to the Western Front to a Sydney mental hospital, a ‘straggler’, as David describes him, ‘finding his way home from war and overcoming great odds to make it’. In Gallipoli to the Somme: Recollections of a New Zealand Infantryman, Alex Calder’s new edition brings the words and experiences of the mathematical genius Alexander Aitken, a man Alex describes as ‘a man as humane as he was extraordinary,’ to a new generation of New Zealanders.

We’re lucky this ANZAC Day to access such rich histories. I thank Auckland University Press for publishing these two books, and the writers here tonight for making these men visible again, the men who witnessed the traumas of the Great War and managed to survive

The Top 20


  The Nielsen BookScan Independent Booksellers’ List..                



Week ending: 21-APRIL-2018










Go Girl: A Storybook of Epic NZ Women
Barbara Else
The Kitchen Science Cookbook
Nikki Slade Robinson
Nanogirl Labs
Non Fiction
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
James Comey
Pan MacMillan
Non Fiction
Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different
Ben Brooks & Quinton Winter
Quercus Publishing
Song for Rosaleen
Pip Desmond
Massey University Press
Non Fiction
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan B. Peterson
Allen Lane
Non Fiction
Greeks Bearing Gifts: Bernie Gunther Thriller 13
Philip Kerr
Quercus Publishing
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Mark Manson
Pan Macmillan
Non Fiction
The Shepherd's Hut
Tim Winton
Hamish Hamilton
A Year at Hotel Gondola
Nicky Pellegrino
The Temptation of Forgiveness
Donna Leon
William Heinemann
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2
Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo
Timbuktu Labs
The Diary of a Bookseller
Shaun Bythell
Profile Books
Non Fiction
Driving To Treblinka: A Long Search For A Lost Father
Diana Wichtel
Awa Press
Non Fiction
All This by Chance
Vincent O'Sullivan
Victoria University Press
The Traitor and the Thief
Gareth Ward
Walker Books
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Auckland University Press
Non Fiction
Plundering Beauty: A History of Art Crime during War
Arthur Tompkins
Lund Humphries Publishers
Non Fiction
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo
Particular Books
Non Fiction


Escape Festival in Tauranga

This year’s Escape! festival in Tauranga offers an intriguing mix of the up-and-coming as well as established names in fields as diverse as politics and food.

“It all came together fairly easily,” Tauranga Arts Festival director Jo Bond says, “which is, I think, a reflection of the reputation our sassy little festival with the big ideas is gaining as a thought-provoking and fun weekend.”

In its third iteration Escape!, which takes place at Queen’s Birthday weekend (June 1-4), has attracted young guns Max Harris (politics), Monique Fiso (food) and social issues writer Emma Espiner, alongside political cartoonist and columnist Tom Scott, activist Sue Bradford, comedian Michele A’Court, food writer Allyson Gofton, novelists Laurence Fearnley and Paula Morris, doctor-poet Glenn Colquhoun, founder of the Te Araroa Walkway of New Zealand Geoff Chapple, financial journalist Bernard Hickey and Middlemore Hospital intensive care specialist Dr David Galler.

There will also a healthy contingent of locals on stage, including Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, climate change activist Mary Dillon, poet and businessman Harold Jones, singer Marion Arts and physicist Dr Simon Taylor.

Workshops are being taken by Laurence Fearnley (writing), Tom Scott (cartooning), Michele A’Court (comedy) and Monique Fiso (identifying native food plants), while Fiso is serving a 5-course dinner at Somerset Cottage in Bethlehem and Allyson Gofton is hosting a French-theme morning tea and talking about her travels.

As well, there are two performances of the poetry-inspired ‘My Best Dead Friend’, an innovative one-woman show by Anya Tate-Manning which this year won the title, Best of Wellington Fringe Festival.

Tickets to Escape! (June 1-4), from or phone 0800 842 538. See the full programme at