Living in the temple of knowledge

19/01/2020

Ronald Clark’s father was custodian of a branch of the New York Public Library at a time when caretakers, along with their families, lived in the buildings. With his daughter, Jamilah, Ronald remembers literally growing up in a library, creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him. A story for anyone who’s ever dreamt of having unrestricted access to books.


One thing led to another

11/05/2012

The Telegraph published a feature on beautiful British bridges which was noticed by Not PC  who posted soem photos which were noticed by Hamish who posted some more photos including the one of the Tay Bridge in Dundee.

That led me to reminisce about a painting of the bridge my father had and to suggest no list of British bridges would be complete without the one in the Hundred Acre Wood on which Pooh used to play Pooh Sticks. That inspired Hamish to give the link to  All about Pooh Sticks.

At the bottom of the page was a link which invited me to play virtual Pooh Sticks but when I clicked on it I got a page-can’t-be-found message.

Bother, as Pooh was wont to say. I’ll have to be content with memories of playing on the real bridge and one which is almost as good –  the St David’s Street bridge in Dunedin.


PM’s literary awards for Cowley, McQueen & McNeish

18/10/2010

Joy Cowley, Cilla McQueen and James McNeish received the annual Prime Minister’s Award for Literay Acheivement tonight.

Each receive $60,000 in recognition of their contribution to New Zealand literature.

Minister for Arts and Culture Christopher Finlayson, presenting the awards at Premier House on behalf of the Prime Minister, said the awards rewarded excellence and helped raise the profile of New Zealand writers.

These awards aren’t for a particular work, they recognise significant contribution to New Zealand literature over many years.

Previous winners are:

•Fiction: Janet Frame (2003), Maurice Gee (2004), Margaret Mahy (2005), Patricia Grace (2006), Fiona Farrell (2007), Lloyd Jones (2008), CK Stead (2009)

•Poetry: Hone Tuwhare (2003), Kevin Ireland (2004), Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (2005), Vincent O’Sullivan (2006), Bill Manhire (2007), Elizabeth Smithers (2008), Brian Turner (2009)

•Non-fiction: Michael King (2003), Anne Salmond (2004), Philip Temple (2005), Judith Binney (2006), Dick Scott (2007), WH (Bill) Oliver (2008), Dr Ranganui Walker (2009).

If you’re looking for some Labour Weekend reading I can recommend Cowley’s just-published memoir, Navigation.

 


High tea and literary conversation

18/04/2010

The invitation was to A Proper High Tea at Burnside  with the added attraction of a conversation in which Fiona Kidman and Owen Marshall would share their thoughts on The Spirit of Place in Writing.

Burnside is one of North Otago’s original homesteads which specialises in Victorian fare. The proper high tea included pease pudding, devilled chicken, cold sliced venison, jellied beetroot, green salad and rooled bread and butter.

Dainty cinnamon oysters, chocolate cream cakes and a selection of fruit tarts followed.

In between courses the two writers took us around New Zealand and the world with poetry and prose.

The evening was a fundraiser for the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust.

Earlier in the day Fiona had led a workshop on writing memoirs in the Janet Frame room at Waitaki Girls’ High School followed by lunch and writing time at Janet’s childhood home at 56 Eden Street.


Literary blogging

11/01/2010

It’s not quite writing from beyond the grave, but Katherine Mansfield has joined the blogosphere.

K M Today is a blog developed by the Katherine Mansfield Society.

It selects daily extracts from Mansfield’s letters and private writings, and allows readers to post comments in response. Each extract is annotated with instant ‘cloud tags’, enabling the reader to view at a glance who/what is being described.

 In a media release, Society chair Dr Gerri Kimber, says:

. . .  the blog will bring to life the innermost thoughts and feelings of a quintessentially modern woman and writer. 

“The courage that Mansfield showed at a time of great fear – exiled abroad by the TB which would eventually result in her death, and facing life without her husband – is present in every entry. The letters and fiction that she wrote at this time have justly inspired generations of writers.”


Turner receives PM’s Literary Award

29/10/2009

Central Otago poet Brian Turner  is one of three recipients of the 2009 Prme Minister’s Literary Achievement Awards.

The other two awards went to  C. K. Stead for fiction writing and Dr Ranginui Walker for nonfiction.

Although he is probably best known for his poetry, and was the 2003 Te Mata Estate poet Laureate, he is also a much-published essayist and biographer.

Many of his poems are set in or about the South Island, particularly Central Otago. Many are also philosophical, like Home Hills Road, from his most recent collection  Taking Off.  It finishes:

Let art do us more good than harm/is my prayer for those who would apprehend/and make it staunch, a lifelong friend.


Take one poet . . .

30/08/2009

Take one poet and book reviewer, combine with an MC with a deep knowledge and appreciation of literature, quick wit and keen sense of humour.

Add a sprinkling of poems and meditations on books and authors.

Mix with an audience of book lovers, season with questions and you’ve got what was promised: an evening of literary brilliance and sparkling repartée, chaired by Jim Hopkins and starring the fabulous Kate Camp.

It was a stimulating and entertaining evening, organised by the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust.

They even served desert – the launch of the Friends of Janet Frame House.


Who said what about whom?

30/03/2009

When I studied English literature it overwhelmingly meant poetry and prose by English, or at least British, people.

I’ve broadened my reading since then, but not enough to be able to win the chocolate fish which Art & My Life has offered to the first person to identify who or by whom three quotes were made.

You have until this evening to give her the answers.

While on matters literary:

 Quote Unquote  has a reminisence of Frank Sargeson by Kevin Ireland.

Mary McCallum  reviews The First Touch of Light,  by Ruth Pettis which was published after the author’s death and Vanda Symon  posts on the book’s launch.


Katherine Mansfield Society formed

27/01/2009

When I was at school and university English literature referred not just to the language but the country of origin because most of what we studied came from England.

There was nothing to stop me reading further afield myself however but in spite of that my discovery of the delights of Katherine Mansfield has been relatively recent and I’m ashamed to say still fairly shallow.

While I’m confessing I might as well admit that I’m not even sure where my favourite Mansfield quote comes from because I found it not in a book but a Marg Hamilton painting:

”It was one of those days so clear, so still, so silent you almost feel the earth itself has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty.”

 

painting

 

However, there is a new medium to increase both my knowledge and appreciation of the writer and her work – the newly created international Katherine Mansfield Society.

 

Society president, Emeritus Professor Vincent O’Sullivan, said in a press release the society has been set up to promote and encourage enjoyment of Mansfield’s writing which influenced a fundamental shift in the way stories are told.

“Katherine Mansfield’s influence is still being felt by writers and readers today, and we want to ensure this recognition continues. She is New Zealand’s greatest writer, and ironically there’s the likelihood of her becoming better known overseas than she is at home.”

To that end, he says, while the society is international, with people from England, Ireland, Australia, France and the United States involved in its creation, there is a strong New Zealand focus, and it is incorporated as a charitable trust in New Zealand.

 

“The Society will work to ensure Katherine Mansfield is on school and university curricula in New Zealand and overseas and aims to establish a Mansfield memorial in her home town of Wellington.

 

“We will also be creating a biennial Katherine Mansfield Society literary scholarship – a Rhodes scholarship for literature as it were – for work in the modernist sphere.”

 

The Society’s founders comprise Mansfield scholars from around the world: Emeritus Professor Angela Smith (UK), Emeritus Professor C. K. Stead (NZ), Dr Sarah Sandley (NZ), Dr Gerri Kimber (UK), Dr Sue Reid (UK), Dr Josiane Paccaud-Huguet (France), Janna Stotz (USA), Dr Melinda Harvey (Australia), Dr Anna Jackson (NZ), Dr Delia Da Sousa Correa (UK), Dr Jenny McDonnell (Ireland),  Dr Sarah Ailwood (Australia), Professor Larry Mitchell (USA) and Professor Janet Wilson (UK).

 

Details of the society, including how to become a member, can be found on the Katherine Mansfield Society website.


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