Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Parish News

Media release – for immediate release

Auckland Writers Festival Launches Literary Foundation

A new Foundation established by the Auckland Writers Festival aims to strengthen Aotearoa’s literary landscape. 

The Mātātuhi Foundation, launched this evening, will provide opportunities for New Zealand writers to develop and promote their works and for readers to increase their engagement with the work of local writers and will fund activities that contribute to literacy in this country.

Auckland Writers Festival Chair, Pip Muir says the launch of the Mātātuhi Foundation is the next step in the realisation of a long-held dream. 

“When the Festival began almost 20 years’ ago, meetings were held around a kitchen table. Since then, the appetite to engage with writers from New Zealand and around the world has grown exponentially and with it the opportunity to deepen our commitment to our literary landscape.

“It is absolutely fantastic that the Festival has reached a point where it can further contribute to the national reading and writing community. We are thrilled to be able support the nation’s literature with the launch of this ground-breaking initiative.”

The Foundation will operate independently of the Auckland Writers Festival Trust and initially aims to make up to ten one-off grants of $2000 - $5000 per year whilst building an endowment platform to support its long-term endeavours.

Inaugural Committee members are professional director and senior finance executive Anne Blackburn (Chair), writer and academic Paula Morris, Festival Trust Board Chair and lawyer Pip Muir, Auckland Writers Festival Director Anne O’Brien and country head of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Book Council board member Peter Vial.

Ms Blackburn says she relishes the opportunity to work with an organisation that supports New Zealand literature. 
“I very much look forward to receiving applications from groups that seek to engage more readers and also from our writers, whose words and ideas enrich our lives.”

Applicants are invited to submit expressions of interest twice a year, with deadlines of 31 October and 31 May. 



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kipling for pleasure and profit

A job  advertisement on LinkedIn:

WiTH Collective is growing. We’re looking for talented creatives to grow with us. 

It’s been a pretty amazing first 12 months at WiTH NZ. Now, we’re looking for a copywriter and art director to add to our great culture and talented group.  

You’re right for this role if you are smart, problem-solving creatives, full of ideas, enthusiasm and ambition. If you can apply your creative skills to film, personalised video, creating products, eDM’s, outdoor, banner ads, and treat these all with equal care and love. If you want to make work that wins hearts and awards. If you think you’d thrive in a collaborative agency. If you have three or more years of experience in a similar environment. If you’re the kind of person who would never forget their mum’s birthday. If you can think quickly. 



To put it another way:

If you are smart, problem-solving creatives, full of ideas, enthusiasm and ambition;
If you can apply your creative skills to film, personalised video, creating products, eDM’s, outdoor, banner ads, and treat these all with equal care and love;
If you want to make work that wins hearts and awards;
If you think you’d thrive in a collaborative agency;
If you have three or more years of experience in a similar environment;
If you’re the kind of person who would never forget their mum’s birthday;
If you can think quickly;
Then, copywriter and art director, you’re right for this role.



Maurice Ravel, Le Tombeau de Couperin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Pierre Boulez

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm working on a blog

The draft of my review of Pip Adam's I'm Working on a Building, published in Metro for January 2014.
To begin at the end, the author has added an afterword to this novel in which tells the reader that her book began as the creative component of a PhD, one that asked how the language of structural engineering might “inform, alter and enlarge fiction.” The reader might ponder whether the author has succeeded in her task, and might also ask why the novel was written backwards.


The chapters of this book have been arranged in reverse order, without warning for no apparent reason. The reader who starts at the first page and reads towards will be confused: events and characters run away, revealing less of themselves rather than more. In a literary world dominated by pedestrian historical sagas a little experimentation should be welcome; unfortunately, in this case it is simply annoying. Save yourself the trouble, gentle reader, and begin at the end.


Turned the right way about, this is not a complicated story: a teenage girl, Catherine, has teenage problems, goes to university, becomes a structural engineer, works on several projects in New Zealand and overseas. She is difficult, apparently a much better engineer than her colleagues but unable to communicate with them. Despite her superiority, her buildings have problems. One, in Wellington, collapses in an earthquake, injuring her and killing at least two of her colleagues. The book begins in the Pompidou Centre where Catherine is thirteen and has teenage problems; it ends in an exact copy of the world’s tallest and dullest building on the west coast of the South Island, where Catherine has adult problems.


The problem with this book is in the characters and the buildings: none of are very interesting. Catherine is challenging, in that she is not likeable, but she is not compelling. Everyone else is rather flat. They are not helped by the writing:


Paul walked back to his chair. William stopped to talk to Craig some more. Craig didn’t worry Paul at all. He checked the time on his cellphone. It was almost lunchtime.


After a while this gets a bit trying. The buildings do not help. They present problems, but not very interesting ones: there is a whole lot of seismic retrofitting going on in this book. The problem with the book is that none of the architects and engineers that populate it have any feeling for buildings. They have terminology, because their creator has learned it and is determined to use it. But they have no architectural sensibility. Their buildings are assemblages of parts, of terms.


This is a novel of our times; like the historical novels it is the result of research, learned but not lived. It is constructed rather than formed. And it is very disappointing.


Jazz 625; Wes Montgomery, introduced by Humph: