Thursday, 3 April 2014

April e-newsletter from VUP

ANZAC: photographs by Laurence Aberhart

Laurence Aberhart's brilliant book of photographs of New Zealand and Australian digger memorials is released this month. This hard cover production of seventy black and white photographs has been produced alongside Dunedin Art Gallery to coincide with the exhibition of Laurence's photos. Featuring memorials in places like Bunnythorpe in Manawatu, Mataura Island in Southland, and Tikitiki on the East Coast, the photos transform those familiar scenes into eerie places, strange landscapes. These are photographs that make you look again.

Leading New Zealand historian, Jock Phillips, whose essay introduces the photos, writes: "They stare aimlessly into the distance, ignored, slightly sad, timeless, peculiarly inactive – Laurence Aberhart’s Anzac diggers seem a long way from the energetic ‘mates’ that they were once erected to represent. They have been transformed from men struggling to survive in the muddy trenches of the western front into static marble figures in a landscape.  And while the messages on the gates which enclose them or the pedestals which support them proclaim, ’Their name liveth’ or ‘We shall remember them’, the overwhelming sense is of figures who have been forgotten, left to weather and fade from memory, unable to fend off the encroaching environment. It is the contrast of surrounds with marble statue which is the enduring impression of Aberhart’s powerful images."

ANZAC: Photographs by Laurence Aberhart
$60, h/b

News Pigs

This month Tim Wilson's third book, News Pigs, is released. Tim's new novel is a media satire, a hilarious fast-paced story about a flailing reporter, Tom Milde, who gets pulled into covering a live TV report about the latest gun massacre in an American university. We asked Tim whether the media world he satirises in News Pigs (a world of cowboy reporters with superegos and little morality), reflected his seven years' experience as TVNZ's US correspondent. Tim replied:

'Hunter S Thomson called television a shallow money trench where pimps and whores prosper, and good men (to which we would add women) die like dogs. This is understatement. Kidding. I got into TV about the same time I started reading the Patrick O’Brian ‘Master and Commander’ series, and the sense of going to sea conveyed in those books is comparable to being a TV correspondent. Long hours, isolation, conflict, stress, cruddy weather; in other words: glamour. As to how real the story is; everything that I describe [in the book] is a literal transcription of three days in my life. Okay, all of that stuff happened during one day, but it was a BIG day.'

News Pigs
$30, p/b

Halcyon days

March was a busy time for VUP. We hosted our successful publisher's party and book launch for Caoilinn Hughes' Gathering Evidence and Dylan Horrocks' Incomplete Works, attended many NZ Festival Writers Week sessions for own writers and visiting internationals, and then headed directly for Hokitika for 'An Evening with Eleanor Catton'. The Hokitika event – a conversation between Eleanor and her English editor, Granta's Max Porter – played to a packed house and was widely reported on. It seemed the whole town turned out for the session, including the Mayor and a man in a top hat (see pics below).
Elizabeth Knox talks with a fan at NZFWW

Fergus Barrowman and Granta's Max Porter

Dylan Horrocks - cover boy




Max Porter and a man in a top hat











Review highlights

Nicholas Reid marvels at Caoilinn Hughes' Gathering Evidence: "From the very opening poem, 'Avalanche', there is the sense that imagination and feeling are trumped by the brute facts of physical reality for, as the mountain avalanche comes bounding down, "My cries could not contend with this parade / of physics". Because of this perspective, Hughes' view of science is not a simplistic wonderment. She is aware that scientific daring can be lethal."

Michael Larsen in NZ Listener enjoys Dylan Horrocks' Incomplete Works: 'Visually, the book is a smorgasbord, the finely etched first frame of Captain Cook’s Comic Cuts (yes, the great explorer was a cartoonist, didn’t you know?) contrasting in style with my favourite piece, Western Wind, its stark, dark frames erotic, wistful and deeply personal. Another highlight is the deeply disturbing There Are No Words in My Mouth.'

April giveaway

We have two books to give away this month. One is Laurence Aberhart's stunning ANZAC, and the other, Tim Wilson's News Pigs. Name the Hokitikian in the top hat featured in the picture above to go into win a copy of each of these books. Entry closes April 30. Entries accepted from subscribers only. To subscribe to our newsletter, you can sign up on the front page of our website.

Congratulations to Jane Arthur for her winning entry to last month's giveaway, on why she loves autumn, which contained some choice language and a winning bribe. Jane wins a copy of Lamplighter by Kerry Donovan Brown, and Horse with Hat by Marty Smith.