Thursday, 13 December 2012

Xmas Competition and February titles

We'd like to thank our loyal readers with a Christmas give-away. This year we thought we'd let you choose, you can win any six titles published by VUP in 2012. All you need to do is tell us your favourite VUP book of 2012 and what you liked about it.

Post your reviews as a comment below or on the website like this one for Kerrin P. Sharpe's book (see "Reviews" tab) and we will pick a winner on December 19th. Good luck and happy reviewing!*

Now that our last title for 2012 has been launched with great success we are gearing up for 2013. It's going to be a year packed with delicious books! Here is  sneak peek at a few forthcoming titles:


Aorewa McLeod's autobiographical novel delivers vivid and hilarious snapshots of late 20th Century lesbian life: witty, tender, frank.


Ben Cauchi’s photographs seem to arrive from another time and place, yet are thoroughly of the present. His use of the mid-nineteenth-century wet collodion photographic process is a means to question and undermine the certainties that we continue to invest in the photographic image.

We have some much anticipated new poetry out in February from John Newton and Elizabeth Nannestad. Also coming: We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 tells the story of a group of young Kiwi designers and political activists committed to broadly defined left-wing principles and politics.

Have a look on our website for the full list of forthcoming titles (more titles will be added as details are confirmed).



*reviews sent in may be quoted on our website in future.

26 comments:

  1. My favourite work published by VUP in 2012 has to be 'Warm Auditorium' by James Brown. It is a remarkable poetic achievement ruched by levity, and delivered with such spry energy. The perfect antidote to any languid afternoon. Thanks, Paul Gallagher. paulgrahamgallagher@gmail.com

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  2. Bill Manhire Selected Poems is my favourite 2012 VUP publication. It celebrates the book as beautiful object. It’s small and intimate as poetry is, its drawing on the dust jacket as elusive and playful as the poems within, and the marker hints that this is a book that you read, reflect on and return to.

    Inside, Hotere’s Portrait provides a further clue to the complexity of the poetry – the lines are writing or tracking, or mark-making, I am the man who writes with a twig, and the dark shades, the depth and darkness of living, Eventually we all shall go / Into the dark furniture of the radio. The surprising and lyrical blue rectangle – the poet’s mouth – appears to contain a wise old owl – what emerges from this poet is beautiful and profound, And what’s joy? Even a pencil will point to it.

    And simple. The epigraph establishes immediate and generous connection – this is a book to accompany and keep you –I will place the paper in your hand is so deliberate – quite apart from the understated poetry of place and paper, the verb suggests formality, the hand touch. But not only – the paper is for you to read when you are alone – the 'I' gives to 'you'.

    I like the chronological order of content. If you have never read these poems before, here is a way to start – from the beginning. If you know them, you take pleasure in their growth, their explorations, their circling back to particular preoccupations. I like how the voice grows from the artful wisps of the early work to something more declaratory which reaches back to rhyme and saluteschildhood, memory and fragility. And always there is music.

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  3. Me, it's John Newton's book. Hands down. John's an amazing poet, and taught me at UC. I'd been wait for that since finding The Angler's El Dorado in Smiths Bookshop, years ago.

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  4. I know it was 2011, but I only caught up with it in 2012... Plays 2 from Ken Duncum. I love Ken's work, and it was interesting to see that as he matured as a writer he also moved into more traditional structure from the earlier collection of his plays which VUP released.

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  5. Common Land, by the under-rated Lynn Davidson, for its mix of her typically deft poetry with careful, elegant, wistful, understated essays. Beautiful stuff.

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  6. This is tough because I really, really enjoyed at least six of the books that came out from VUP this year. But I'm going to say: Common Land. I'd not read heaps from Lynn Davidson before this book and this one just came out and knocked me upside the head in a good way. The essays, the repetition, the stories. Loved it.

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  7. Sarah Bainbridge18 December 2012 10:58

    I think 2012 was an exceptionally strong year for Victoria University Press, but the one title that blew me away was ‘I Got His Blood On Me’ by Lawrence Patchett.

    Here’s the disclaimer – I workshopped parts of some of those stories – but I think this is an instance where the whole truly is better than the sum of the parts, and I’m glad these stories were collected.

    Frontier tales in every sense, they push boundaries of time, relationships, and genre. Not since Nigel Cox’s ‘The Cowboy Dog’ have I found the landscape of my own country, both the people and the physical, reflected back at me through such a strange yet recognisable lens. I want to believe.

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  8. My favourite VUP book from 2012 is Lawrence Patchett's, I Got His Blood on Me. It is not only my favourite VUP book, but my favourite book that I read this year. The collection of 'frontier stories' shows incredible imagination, and attention to the craft of writing. I took the book on a very stressful family holiday to the UK (do not fly with an 11 month old), and whenever I think about that trip I am reminded of escaping into the collection.

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  9. I enjoyed Náhuatl Stories: Indigenous Tales from Mexico out of curiosity, but found it thoroughly intriguing. I'm working on a novel based on the Cherokee, and I found a starter of an idea within the Tales from Mexico for a followup novel based on one of the tales. They were a fascinating read, from a culture largely ignore generally here. In NZ.

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  10. I can't choose one favourite VUP book this year - it's a tie between Kirsten McDougall's The Invisible Rider and Ashleigh Young's Magnificent Moon. I love that both these authors have put out such beautiful debut books, and I'm looking forward to more from both of them.

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  11. Magnificent Moon by Ashleigh Young

    I took this collection travelling with me the way a magnificent moon will sail along beside the car, and I read it whenever we stopped. I love every poem in it which makes it the perfect collection for opening up on any page. For a poet who says she and her friends are not people people, she writes very peopled poems, commemorating afternoons with friends, conversations with family, childhood habits and misconceptions, all the peculiar ways people find to be with each other. “Doors open one after the other / upon my eldest brother” she writes in one poem, “Behind sliding doors I find my father.” These are poems that constantly open up new ways for us to see each other. I love the arborist poem, which concludes, “His years were circling inside him, were rising, / were flattening into rings; later they were sanded / smooth by the wind.” I can almost feel my years circling and rising inside me, too. Maybe we are all arborists. Maybe we all need to carry with us a copy of Magnificent Moon.

    Anna Jackson

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  12. Okay, I'm picking two. Kerrin P Sharpe's, Three Days in a Wishing Well and Lawrence Patchett's, I Got His Blood on Me. I can't even begin to compare those and pick an overall winner. There'd be several awesome runner's up to these two as well.

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  13. Hard to choose between 'The Invisible Rider' and 'The Phoenix Song.' I've posted both my reviews but if I had to choose...I think 'The Invisible RIder.' Kirsten does such a great job of showing us episodes of life, familiar to Wellington residents and people from elsewhere. Very moving and insightful. And, as a sometime Wellington bike rider, the incident that gives the book its name resonated very strongly with me.

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  14. Although I haven't read it yet, I know my favourite will be
    "New Zealand's China experience". This is an area of deep interest to me and I am looking forward to reading it

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  15. Kirsten McDougall's The Invisible Rider. For several wrong reasons: Kirsten was a fellow MA poet in 2005, and it meant I got to go the launch and see writer friends I hadn't seen in a long time. And, ah, because it's the only VUP book I have read this year *shamefaced*. I need to win so I can read some more! My cart is already saved and waiting. I'll tell you what's in there: Warm Auditorium, Magnificent Moon, Blood Clot, The Moonmen, The Rocky Shore and These Rough Notes. But OF COURSE the Invisible Rider for all the right reasons. The form is genius, the book refreshing, honest and funny. Such pleasure I had simply in the calibre of the writing!
    Emily Dobson

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  16. My favourite VUP book from this year is Geoff Cochrane's 'The Bengal Engine's Mango Afterglow' . I love GC's poetry and his new collection is just as wonderful as his previous books. I love his searing honesty in the way he looks at himself and the world, his work is wise in a completely humble and fearless way. He's so darned funny, too. I kept finding lines which I wanted to write down in my diary, or write on the wall or get tattooed on my body or something. Thanks, Helen Lehndorf

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  17. I loved Helen Heath's 'Graft' - the poems are controlled, searing in their honesty and very moving. I liked how it was a mixture of personal poems and poems about scientists. The poet poked around at the subject of grief in such an interesting and unexpected way, too. The science poems were very evocative and bought the subjects to life in such an engaging way. Keep up the good work, VUP!

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  18. Helen Heath's 'Graft'. I like science and am forced to read poetry because my wife is a poet. HH made my life easier by writing some poetry about science, and it was darned good. Then I read the rest of her book and that was good too. I wish more poets would write about science.

    Fraser Rolfe

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  19. My pick is Lawrence Patchett's I Got His Blood on Me. I discussed this excellent collection of stories in Booknotes 176, writing 'Patchett’s characters expend a lot of time trying to dominate or wield the stories or histories of others, while others struggle to maintain autonomy over their own voices, experiences and histories. Yet, as the characters push each other to discuss and debate, these men and women also unpick some of their own self-mythologies or habits of understanding... Patchett’s I Got His Blood on Me underscores the way fiction can, when infused with local history and the strangeness of thinking back across time, enable us to examine our habits of seeing, thinking and dreaming. It’s the kind of time travel that keeps pace with us as readers. The only thing we risk leaving behind is who we thought we were.' A fantastic read.

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  20. My favourite is 'These Rough Notes' - loved the synthesis of poetry, photographic images and music.

    Vicki

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  21. I haven't read it yet but I certainly plan to read Who Was That Woman Anyway? Snapshots of a Lesbian Life by Aorewa McLeod. I'm intrigued by the concept of an autobiographical novel set during a time I lived and in a community in which I belong.

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  22. Is it too late to nominate The Shirt Factory by Ian Wedde, from 1981? I really love that book.

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  23. As a second generation Chinese New Zealander, I love New Zealand's China Experience for the insight it provides into how my ancestors reached this beautiful country. Thanks VUP.

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  24. Helen Heath's "Graft" -- loved it! :)

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  25. THE VIOLINIST WHO LED TWO LIVES

    The Violinist: Clare Galambos Winter, Holocaust Survivor, by Sarah Gaitanos


    On the morning of Sunday, 19 March 1944, Klára Galambos, a 20-year-old violinist, was playing at a rehearsal in Budapest when a man rushed into the hall with the message that the Germans had invaded Hungary. Many members of the orchestra were Jewish, like Klára herself. "Go, go, go! he shouted.

    It was an appalling watershed moment for this vivacious young woman, the daughter of an affluent, cultured family who had experienced nothing but gentleness and love. Over the nightmare months that followed, Klára endured arrest, imprisonment, life in a ghetto, an appalling train journey to Auschwitz, dehumanizing treatment there, and highly dangerous work in a slave labor camp. The chances of survival were very slim, yet she lived to escape during the chaos of the liberation, and then to be rescued by American troops.

    That was the life of Klára Galambos. Then, on 9 May 1949, the life of Clare Galambos began, with her arrival in New Zealand. That she should change her name was symbolic as well as logical, because her story changed so dramatically. Clare's reproductive organs were too damaged for her to give birth to live children, but in her new life she was able to make up for this in the most romantic fashion possible, by playing a part in the birth of New Zealand's national orchestra, now the famous New Zealand Symphony.

    Sarah Gaitanos, an oral historian, has the fortunate knack of choosing the quotes or recollections that bring the reader to the story. Clare's memories of the Holocaust are often either blurred or lacking -- very undertandable, in view of their nightmare nature -- but those that remain are so vivid they are more like flashbacks than mere recollections, and Gaitanos mines these very well indeed. The description of life in the slave camp is particularly compelling, as is the rescue by American soldiers. By contrast, Clare's career as a violinist in New Zealand flows gently, with serenity.

    So this is a book with two dramatically contrasting stories, a challenge for any writer. Sarah Gaitanos copes with the same flair she demonstrated in her last book, Crisis, an account of the financial crisis, told through the eyes of Alan Bollard, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Exhaustively researched, The Violinist is almost as replete with facts; yet, in the same fashion, the subject's personality shines out steadily through the flow of information.


    Joan Druett

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  26. The winner is Pip Adam, selected by random number generator for her review of The Invisible Rider on the vup website: http://vup.victoria.ac.nz/the-invisible-rider/
    Congratulations!

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