Monday, July 29, 2013

Green shoots in NZ publishing

Scoop announces that journalist and author Paul Little has set up his own publishing company:
After several years as a ghost writer of best-selling autobiographies – Willie Apiata VC, Ray Avery: Rebel with a Cause and Paul Henry: What Was I Thinking - he has launched his own imprint, Paul Little Books. [. . .] 
Little believes there are two key factors that will enable books to thrive. The first is a scaled-down, low-overhead approach that is made for the likes of electronic publishing and social media marketing. This also enables a much more generous writer’s royalty than traditional publishing. “Money should go to authors not office furniture and company cars,” says Little.
The second key factor is distribution. “Books have to be available as widely and in as many formats as possible,” says Little, whose books will be available as ebooks with bonus content. “Whether it’s in stores, on a publisher’s website or through ebook retailers – books need to be everywhere people buy them.
“Today’s publishers – and authors – have to accept the reality of innovation and make it work for them rather than ignoring or resisting it.”
Good. He is a very bright guy and should make this work. I know of one other new publishing company in the works – there will be a lot more of this. It’s called creative destruction – very hard on those like the people at Hachette and Pearson whose jobs have gone, but there is still a market for New Zealand books, whether print or digital. That means there are opportunities for those with ability and agility.

More information at Paul Little’s website.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hachette to leave New Zealand

This release went out to the book trade earlier today:
Trade Announcement
22th July 2013
Malcolm Edwards, Chairman of Hachette Australia and New Zealand, today announced the following:
“It is with great sadness that today, we announce a restructuring of our New Zealand business, which will involve the immediate relocation of the finance, administration, and IT functions to Australia and the closure of Hachette's New Zealand publishing unit, after the 2013 programme has been published.
“Our long serving management team of Kevin Chapman, Managing Director; Warren Adler, Editorial Director; and Rick Groufsky, Financial Controller are to leave the company. Regrettably, we expect that approximately 12 other jobs will be lost. Kevin, Warren and Rick have made an enormous contribution to the company over many years, which will be marked in the appropriate way, at a later stage. I am grateful to them for agreeing to stay until the restructuring is completed to ensure that it goes seamlessly.
“Hachette New Zealand will become solely focused on the marketing, promotion and sales of our international titles and the New Zealand backlist. Mel Winder, as Sales & Marketing Director, will lead the company, reporting to Matt Richell, CEO of Hachette Australia, with immediate effect.
“These changes have been caused by the diminution of our business in New Zealand, caused largely by the increased sourcing of books from overseas, at the expense of the local trade, and the rapid growth of e-books.”
Bugger. Hachette has been a great publisher – as it was in its previous incarnations as Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Headline and Hodder Moa Beckett – and was great to work with. I have never laughed so much in a publisher’s office as I did with Kevin and Warren. This is terrible news for them, but also for the rest of the staff – and also for their authors, editors and others.

So next time you are tempted to buy a book from the Book Depository, just say no.

Waikato Times letter of the week

Warning: this from the 23 July edition is NSFW (not safe for Wellington):
Divine retribution
In 2010, we saw the first earthquake in Christchurch, discerned as a warning shot by this writer.
The sanity of this writer, appearing at the time to be questionable, was vindicated later with another earthquake emphasising the warning and bringing a much more serious attack on that hapless city, killing many people, to make its point.
Now, we are witnessing yet another warning in the case of the earthquake swarms at the centre of New Zealand.
The capital of this country is about to be dealt a fierce destruction, through it being the home of our Parliament, cradle of the perverted legislation recently passed into law, whereby we have accepted this world’s immoral, gutter standards to our declared culture. 
In this, we have turned our collective face from God, who has now turned his face from us, the peoples of the Earth, as we identify with the evil ensuing from that action.
Because of our rebellion, all hell is about to fall on Earth.
May God have mercy on our souls.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coming attractions

Am busy finishing the final draft of my next book which is due, thrillingly, from AUP next year. Once that is out of the way, which will be this week because people are starting to shout at me about it, there will be posts on how to spot a dodgy publisher, why Peter Bland’s Collected Poems 1956-2011 is a must read, a Sir Launchalot report on the launch of Kevin Ireland’s Selected and another Waikato Times letter of the month. Because you’re worth it.

So here are the Easybeats with “Friday on My Mind”. The rhythm guitarist, George Young, is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC, but you knew that:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Breakfast in England

In the May issue of the Literary Review, the best books magazine in the world, the Spectator’s Low Life columnist Jeremy Clarke reviews The Breakfast Book by Andrew Dalby and The Breakfast Bible by Seb Emma and Malcolm Eggs. He begins with an account of a recent breakfast he had while hungover in London, behind Paddington Station to be precise:
I eat anything. Wipe its bum and chop the horns off, ho ho. I’m not fussy. The average number of taste buds in the average gob is between two and eight thousand. I have about twenty. But when my full English arrived, the mere sight of it turned my stomach. I prodded the bacon rasher with my fork. The factory-bred sow, raised in China in conditions only slightly more cramped, I guessed, than those in which she was served up, tasted, rejected, then thrown in the bin, had lived and died in vain. The flesh was bright pink, barely cooked, barely even tepid, and had a fleshy nakedness about it that was faintly obscene. The anaemic egg was a tragic poem. The themes of the poem were artificiality, incompetence, waste and quite possibly blasphemy. The tomato was a product of that strange impulse of the Spanish to ex port scarce water from the Costa del Sol to northern Europe in spherical, thick-skinned packages force-grown in sterile conditions under polythene. The triangle of fried bread was a saturated sponge sweating cold grease. The sausage was budget bag of (at a guess) snouts, intestines, eyelids and hepatitis C.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thou shalt not link to Buddle Findlay

 Buddle Findlay is my favourite law firm because for 17 years it has sponsored the Sargeson fellowship.  That sponsorship is drawing to a close, sadly, but Buddle Findlay is managing its exit in exemplary fashion. The people I know there are admirable – but whoever is in charge of its website is not. Talk about over-lawyering. The Terms of Use conditions have been changed to read:
You must not link to this website without the express written permission of Buddle Findlay.
Not how the Internet works, is it. I don’t know who spotted this first,  probably Sam P, but there has been a Twitterstorm of derision. I have been linking to Buddle Findlay for years in posts about various Sargeson fellowship things, and here’s another one. So sue me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wilco and Richard Thompson perform “Sloth”

Just for guitar nerds here is Richard Thompson with Wilco a few days ago performing “Sloth” (Full House, 1970). Nels Cline duettling with Thompson – is that a word?: they are not duelling but it’s more than duetting – is just a must. 

Crap sound and vision – why do people at concerts talk so much? – but you get the idea.  There will be something professional on YouTube before long. Full concert review from the tour is behind a paywall – content providers who expect us to pay for stuff are swine – but here’s a par to give you the flavour:
The highlight of the entire evening became witnessing Thompson matched against Wilco guitarist Nels Cline during “Sloth,” a song from Fairport Convention, the British band that launched the folk-rock movement in their country. During several interludes, Thompson’s restraint and precision was set against Cline’s more feisty inclinations. Both players flung flinty arpeggio runs against each other, the sum of which became a lengthy interplay of contrasting improvisation.
Altogether now,  “Just a roll, just a roll on your drum, and the war has begun…”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Waikato Times letter of the week

Thank you for your patience since the previous instalment way back in March. It has all been fluoridation in the WaikTimes since then, so uninterestingly crazy. Until this, from the 12 July edition:
Master plan
Creation of gender-specific political electoral situations (female-only candidates) could well be in the master plan for the human race. God serves us in sometimes complex ways. He decides on earthquakes, tsunami, tornadoes, famines, starvation diseases etc . He allowed Napoleon, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the Bushes, Obama, Gandhi and Mandela.
He had his son crucified and has all confirmed members of his churches become cannibals each communion. Perhaps a few more Eves would balance the canoe? There would be no more false notions that man was/is the hunter? Perhaps society would be improved with all mothers creating male monsters that no other woman could live with. Man in charge? You must be kidding!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Some questions I am frequently asked #2

What is “The Danyl Song” in Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley?

That’s easy. It is the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She gets two arias, but there is only one that is famous.  In the novel Danyl – the character, not the author – sings the aria on the rare occasion that he has a win, using his name (which, sadly, is not a dactyl – that would have been too awesome) as vocalise on the high notes, which are very high indeed. From memory the aria is in D minor. D for Danyl, obviously. It goes like this. All together now, with Natalie Dessay, “The vengeance of hell rages in my heart”:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The midwife’s tale

The latest Nielsen bestseller list is out and on the New Zealand fiction top 10 are three novels I edited – Danyl McLauchlan zooms into #2 with Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley, Paddy Richardson rises from #7 last week to #3 with Cross Fingers, and Grame Lay’s The Secret Life of James Cook, is #5 in its ninth week on the list.

Wonderful for Danyl, Paddy and Graeme – but quite nice for me too. This must be how a midwife feels when one of “her” babies does well.

Photos from Friday’s book launch here, starring three characters from the novel, and Toby Manhire interviews Danyl for the Listener here.

My wife points out that with Danyl at #2, Paddy at #3 and Graeme at #5, I edited 60 per cent of  the top five this week. Just boastin’.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mystic chicken

Charlie Charters, a contender for the title of the greatest Fijian thriller writer ever (fans impatiently await the follow-up to his brilliant Bolt Action from 2010), reports that the latest issue of Private Eye (not online and never will be: Lord Gnome is not silly)  has this letter:
A friend returned from a holiday in New Zealand and reported that at the airport she was puzzled by announcements calling passengers to go immediately to “The Mystic Chicken”, before she realised that this is NZ for “domestic check-in”.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Google’s copyright hypocrisy

Paula Browning, CEO of Copyright Licensing NZ and chair of the Copyright Council, has a go in Idealog at Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon about how their business practices devalue the work of the people who create the work that they make their money from. It’s a great piece – smart, clear, funny and focused – and it takes no prisoners, right from the first two paragraphs:
The most ironic thing I’ve heard recently is this: Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, has written a book. Is it being made available for free amongst the millions of books in the Google Book Scan project? Nope. It’s being published by Random House, in both print and digital formats, for US$26.95 and US$15.20 respectively. Amazon has discounted the print copy to US$16.
Welcome to the creative world, Mr Schmidt, where the technology company has decided just how much – or rather, how little – your creativity is worth!
Read on.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sir Launchalot on Marilyn Duckworth and Danyl McLauchlan

The 66th in this occasional series of reprints from Quote Unquote the magazine is by Sir Launchalot and is from the October 1995 issue. The column reviewed book launches: the story of its origins is here; the writer was Denis Edwards.
Marilyn Duckworth’s Leather Wings at Unity Books
Unity Books in Auckland, the City of Sleet, is your basic clean, well-lighted place. When its managers issue the call to a launch, the crowd hastens forth. It’s a homey spot, and a perfect place to balm the pain. For an hour or two the city’s writers can graze the free food and booze, their woes behind them. They can forget the rejection slips, the miserly royalty cheques, the agony of the daily trooping down to the letterbox to find that the fat commission for the big television series must have got lost in the mail, again.
So it was for the Marilyn Duckworth launch. The literary leaders had fought their way through the rain, the puddles, the sleet and the beggars, past restaurants fill of punters with proper jobs, shovelling down what would easily be a week’s worth of pasta to a struggling writer.
Once through the doors they milled around, trying to be tactful and mature and not dwell too much on the obvious Wellington/Auckland angle. For Duckworth is not exactly ours. She’s theirs, a key kuia in the Mount Victoria sub-tribe of the Wellington writing iwi. For the moment, though, she is gracing the north with her presence, grafting out the next book at the Sargeson flat up in Albert Park, just a throw of a jellybean down the hill to Unity Books.
Where all was convivial bonhomie – until the devil showed up. There, shiftily lurking among the cheerily chatting short-story writers, novelists and poets, was the Banquo at the feast, the Phantom of the Opera, the... the... Well, you get the idea by now. Yes, a scriptwriter, a television one, had turned up.
This forced the short-story writers, novelists and poets to confront the ghastly truth. They could not hide from it. Yes, there are people in the world enjoying palatial, mortgage-free homes in Ponsonby, paid for from the proceeds of their creativity. They’ve got villas in the South of France, and cars, and regular dinners and everything.
His presence killed the party stone-dead. He knew it too, and shuffled quickly to a position of safety in a corner of the room, getting his back to a wall of books. He was safe there, far from the glares of the short-story writer who had glumly plodded the wet Auckland streets spending the last of his dole money rescuing his latest collection from the remainder bins.
Or from the literary genius who is known, to those of us with indiscreet sources at TVNZ, to have completely dipped out when offered a go at writing a Shortland Street script.
Or from the chap who prostrated himself, nay even prostituted himself, for the chance to flog a story-line to a drama series. His offer was taken up, only for him to be found wanting in all departments. Now he reviews books, a sad end to a once-glittering career.
Fortunately, the scriptwriter realised he should do the decent thing and clear off, and in quick time too. He knew he was among envy and hate. Who said scriptwriters aren’t sensitive types? They know when they’re not wanted.
Once that disruptive presence was out the door and into the cold where it belonged, things settled down. It was business as usual: the idle chat, the bitching about this year’s literary awards, the schmoozing of the publishers, one of whom was contemplating giving up smoking and wondering whether she’d be able to replace the habit with more booze and men.
Deciding she could, she was observed, with a strange gleam in her eye, to be indecently keen to stub out her last-ever gasper.
Sense of occasion: Eight. Too much rain and depression for really top marks, and we aren’t talking about the sort of depression you see on weather maps, either. We’re talking about the sort that strikes writers when publishers flee their presence. Fortunately these were swept aside when the author regaled one and all with the details of her preferences. A riveted audiencc discovered that these include “plain cooking, fancy chocolate and conventional sex”.
Food and drink: Seven. Unity is a reliable hand on the comestibles, although the smoked fish stayed out of sight until late in the game. No worries, though. There was plenty of salami for the carnibores (vegan-speak for those enthusiastic about their meat).
Standard of behaviour: Five. Very little reaction. It was too cold for anything really exciting, and there wasn’t enough hard drinking to excite dark passions and the memory of vicious and long-repressed reviews.
Sales at the event: Eight. A rock-solid 45 copies of Leather Wings, Duckworth’s tale of a travelling salesman’s penchant for a (much) younger woman.
I was in Wellington on Friday for the launch of Danyl McLauchlan’s brilliant debut novel Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley. It was an excellent launch and I wish that Denis could have been there to review it. I did substitute for him once or twice so here are my Sir Launchalot ratings:

Sense of occasion: Eleven. The room was packed with people I liked or wanted to meet, which was a first for me in Wellington. Also Danyl’s speech was very funny and was delivered without notes. The bonus point comes from the presence of the real-life Steve and the Campbell Walker (this will make sense when you read the book).

Food and drink: Seven. No complaints about either but at QUQ we rarely scored this category highly so as to encourage the publishers to do even better next time.

Standard of behaviour: Eight. It was all decorous in the room but almost everyone disobeyed instructions and explored the upstairs and downstairs of the very spooky venue, Philosophy House in Aro Street. 

Sales at the event: Nine. This would have been an eight – the sales were very good at around 80 on the night – but there has to be a bonus point for Danyl misspelling his name while signing one copy. Cruelly, there is a photo on Twitter.  Nicely, I shall not link to it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Three things worth reading on the Internet

The NZ Post children’s book award winner, Into the River by Ted Dawe, has not been universally acclaimed – a bookseller in Hamilton has refused to stock it, the Herald on Sunday was moved to write an editorial. Quote unquote:
Teenagers would never say so, but they do not want this sort of fare from their school any more than they would want it from their parents.
It is not prudish or patronising to maintain a certain standard, it is re-assuring them that quality exists and people they respect can recognise it. For many, their early teenage years might be the last in their lives when they read literature worthy of the name. 
Yes, that was written and published in 2013. 

Leading the case for the defence here is author Emma Neale. Quote unquote:
I strongly believe that literature is one of the places that young people can safely think through situations, and rehearse their moral choices, without the grave personal compromise that living through the real events might involve. Forewarned is forearmed.The novel is aimed at ages 15+: the sex scenes are unromanticised, and speak the truth of unsatisfactory experiences. Yes, they’re awkward, raw, discomfiting. That’s part of the point. They happen in the context of a young, disenfranchised teenager trying to grapple with a loss of identity and with institutionalised racism, casual racism, and classist attitudes; with a life where the moral compass seems skewed to the powerful and those with a dubious authority. The sex scenes have to be read in context. If readers read the entire book, they’ll see that the main character, Devon, is left hurt, bewildered, empty, and wanting more than the casual encounters he’s had. The point isn’t the sex: it’s what the sex represents.
And here is author Bernard Beckett, convenor of the judges. Quote unquote:
Now, it may be that you accept this is an important, and indeed moral novel, and you accept that the graphic content is a necessary part of this book’s story, but still oppose it on the grounds that the price we pay for this message is too high. Specifically, it might be that you believe that young adults reading this book will be encouraged to use the less palatable language themselves, or indeed take this book as licence to indulge in the high risk activities that are portrayed. To this, I would only say, trust your children more, and trust yourselves as parents more. It is simply not true that the young refrain from swearing because they have never heard it. There are no words in this book that a teenager will not have heard in the school ground, at the shopping mall, the bus stop or read online. That they will suddenly, at the twenty third exposure, switch lexicons on us, is an absurd suggestion. All teenagers are exposed to offensive language (‘bugger’ was turned into a national advertising campaign) and most of them, most of the time, manage to express themselves beautifully without it. It is the way we raise them, the way we win their respect, and earn our place as role models, that matters.
On an unrelated matter, Metro editor Simon Wilson was moved to write an editorial complaining about writers/authors who would rather Tweet than submit articles to Metro. Quote unquote:
Meanwhile, there’s an essay on my desk by another writer, who has been fretting about whether to adopt this or that mode of writing. It’s a writing exercise about a writing exercise, by someone who has been hothoused in one of the country’s university writing programmes, and is both beautifully written and dead on the page.
I found it a little bit irritating. Not entirely because of the subject — I believe you can write well for a general readership about anything, if you’re good enough. But if a writer does want to share their writerly concerns with us, they need to make them fascinating and they need to draw larger themes and ideas from them. My would-be contributor was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to do either.
Do I blame the writing courses? I don’t know. I’m not privy to the ways they value writing. Do they praise a raft of elegantly turned phrases that do not compel readers to care about the subject? Or do they see that as a disappointing waste of talent?
So here is author Ashleigh Young putting Wilson gently but firmly in his place. Quote unquote:
Around three years ago I guess I would’ve lamented the state of New Zealand creative nonfiction and journalism right along with Wilson. I was reading the New Yorker and the Atlantic a lot more devoutly than I do now, practically bleeding internally with envy, wishing New Zealand had writers like that, wishing I could think and write like that. But I don’t lament too much any more. I think we’ve got too much to look forward to. I’m not sure that scolding writers for who they are not, for what they are not doing, will get us there faster. I also feel that if you start reading a piece with the hope that it is going to be written by a Janet Malcolm or one of those ‘New Yorker types’, you will be stymied. Our voices necessarily come from a different place. I think we’re at the beginning of something; we’re witnessing a slow but sure surge of interest in the kinds of nonfiction that do illuminate things around us and in us. We have writers who are doing these things right now (some of them are even on Twitter) – but not always in the publications that Wilson identifies. [. . .]
Also, I find it weird that in talking about good, thoughtful longform writing we would ignore the writers whose blog posts are ferociously intelligent, beautifully crafted works of nonfiction in their own right. This work is a salve for the disaffected reader. A few obvious examples: Giovanni Tiso, Dougal McNeill, Megan Clayton, Cheryl Bernstein, Matthew Dentith, Robyn Gallagher – all of whom are on Twitter, and all of whose writing I’ve come to appreciate and look forward to even more through their presence on Twitter. There are the writers for the Public Address community of blogs; one recent example that bears rereading and sharing is ‘Paul’ by David Herkt. There’s the terrific blog Reading the Maps. I do feel that at the moment, in most print media in NZ, it can be difficult for writers to push longform work, or to experiment with creative nonfiction – with ways of telling a story. So many go online, where they’re free of constraints. [. . .]
I guess I’m also discouraged by the way that the would-be contributor to Metro is described in the article – as a product, as the end-result of a narrow, closed-off process, without any acknowledgement that writers change and develop, without any acknowledgement of potential in that writer’s work. It’s a close-minded way of reading. And in talking about good writing, I think we need to talk about good reading as well.
The three authors posted these thoughtful pieces on their blogs, thereby, I think, proving Ashleigh’s point.  (Her original post has links to all the writers she cites.)

In Metro’s defence, it’s pleasing to see that it is using some of the livelier bloggers and Tweeters as contributors, among them Joshua Drummond, Paul Litterick and Danyl McLauchlan. With the MSM and social media, it’s not either/or, it’s both/and. 

Charles Ives on Independence Day

Yes, it is the Fourth of July again. Independence Day in America. So here is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas performing “Fourth of July”, the third movement of A Symphony: New England Holidays by Charles Ives:

This is from the 1986 CBS recording. The liner notes say:
“The Fourth of July (Summer)”, the most complex and difficult of the four movements, was premiered in Paris on February 21, 1932, performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris under the sympathetic and expert guidance of Nicolas Slonimsky. In his Memos, Ives summarized his approach as follows: “I did what I wanted to, quite sure that the thing would never be played, and perhaps could never be played — although the uneven measures that look so complicated in the score are mostly caused by missing a beat, which was often done in parades. In the parts taking off explosions [two such explosions occur, in the middle and at the end], I worked out combinations of tones and rhythms very carefully by kind of prescriptions, in the way a chemical compound which makes explosions would be made.”
Thematically, much of the work is built out of the interplay of motives from patriotic and popular tunes: “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean”, heard in the bass register, provides a harmonic and structural framework, above which can be heard, more recognizably, fragments from “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Yankee Doodle”, “The Girl I Left Behind Me” and numerous other tunes.
Fun fact: Ives’s wife was named Harmony.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book review of the month, already

Via  Bill Manhire,  Michael Robbins reviews Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, ed. by Paul Hoover, for Poetry Foundation. Key phrase:
the whole boatload of vacuous bullshit
Oh, you want more? How about:
This new realism is the old realism by now, institutionalized to such an extent that talk of its oppositional value is wishful thinking. Or, more precisely, it is ideology.
the soi-disant avant-garde has no monopoly on falsely describing a narrow-minded past
Anthologies necessarily break down as they approach the present, since it is impossible to judge the worth and durability of contemporary production.
Well, yes. As noted here previously.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A week is a long time in publishing #3

Following on from 12 June’s post on changes in the NZ publishing industry, the Penguin-Random House merger went live yesterday and this arrived from HarperCollins:
HarperCollins New Zealand has engaged journalist and editor, Finlay Macdonald to steer its local publishing program, led by ANZ Publishing Director Shona Martyn.
Finlay Macdonald has worked as a journalist, editor, publisher and broadcaster in New Zealand since 1986. He was editor of the New Zealand Listener magazine from 1998 to 2003, and deputy editor before that. He worked as commissioning editor at Penguin New Zealand from 2003 to 2005, during which time he published the late David Lange’s best-selling memoir My Life. He was an award-winning columnist for the Sunday Star-Times from 2003 to 2011, and continues to write for various publications. He is also a regular commentator on radio.
‘I’m delighted to be working with HarperCollins and to be re-entering the world of book publishing. I’m especially looking forward to working with existing and new authors to make the best books, and the right books, for New Zealand readers,’ says Macdonald. ‘Yes, there are definitely challenges ahead, but there are also great opportunities to bring energy and a commitment to quality to the local publishing scene.’
Shona Martyn says: ‘It will be exciting to work with Finlay who has a commitment to quality publishing, stellar contacts and an instinctive sense of the type of books that New Zealanders want to read.’
Finlay is an interesting appointment – Nicola Legat, another former magazine editor, has been a great success at Random so perhaps HarperCollins are hoping for a repeat. 

Booksellers have been muttering darkly that HarperCollins’s shift of support, warehousing and so on to Australia is a big mistake, that the Aussies don’t understand the New Zealand market and never will.  Whatever Finlay proposes, no doubt the decision to publish (or not) will be made in Sydney. Fortunately, Shona Martyn, his boss there, is not only very smart and great company – she is a New Zealander.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A freelance editor writes

On Sunday I spent two hours or so on a preliminary edit of an essay by Vincent O’Sullivan. 

Today I spent two hours or so on a preliminary edit of an essay by Martin Edmond.

So here is Joe Walsh with “Life’s Been Good” (that’s Daryl Hall on second vocals and my old guitar):

Sentence of the day

From an interview at the Lumière Reader with Danyl McLauchlan about his new novel Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley:
I have my suspicions about Karori.
Don’t we all.