Media statement – the passing of Bryce Courtenay

From Penguin Australia.

It is with sadness Penguin Group (Australia) wish to advise that Bryce Courtenay AM passed away peacefully at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra with his wife Christine, his family and his beloved pets Tim, the dog, and Cardamon, the Burmese cat by his side. He was 79.

Christine Courtenay said this morning, “We’d like to thank all of Bryce’s family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of hisextraordinary life. And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory.”

Gabrielle Coyne, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Group (Australia) said, “It has been our great privilege to be Bryce’s publisher for the past 15 years. We, as well as his many fans will forever miss Bryce’s indomitable spirit, his energy and his commitment to storytelling.”

Bob Sessions, Bryce Courtenay’s long standing Publisher at Penguin said, “Bryce took up writing in his fifties, after a successful career in advertising. His output and his professionalism made him a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to say he became a good friend, referring to me as ‘Uncle Bob’, even when we were robustly negotiating the next book contract. He was a born storyteller, and I would tell him he was a ‘latter-day Charles Dickens’, with his strong and complex plots, larger-than-life characters, and his ability to appeal to a large number of readers.

“Virtually each year for the last 15 years, I have worked with Bryce on a new novel. He would write a 600 page book in around six months, year in, year out. To achieve that feat he used what he called ‘bum glue’, sometimes writing for more than 12 hours a day. He brought to writing his books the same determination and dedication he showed in the more than 40 marathons he ran, most of them when he was well over 50. Not to have a new Bryce Courtenay novel to work on will leave a hole in my publishing life. Not to have
Bryce Courtenay in my life, will be to miss the presence of a very special friend.”

The last word belongs to Bryce himself. In a moving epilogue in his final book, Bryce said to readers “It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives. Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’

Author Greg McGee awarded the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship for 2013

From Penguin NZ

Penguin Group (NZ) warmly congratulates Greg McGee on being awarded the prestigious Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship for 2013.

Greg McGee is an author, biographer and freelance writer who lives in Auckland. McGee’s first novel under his own name, Love and Money, was published by Penguin in March 2012. Love and Money is a stunning social commentary on New Zealand in 1987 as the stock market crashed. McGee’s portrait of the era is rich, funny, bitingly sharp, and disturbingly contemporary.

McGee further showcases his versatility as a writer with the crime fiction series penned under the name of Alix Bosco, McGee’s pseudonym. Cut & Run(2009), the first book in this highly successful series, won the 2010 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel. The second book in the series, Slaughter Falls, was a finalist in 2011.

McGee has written for theatre and is perhaps best known for the play Foreskin’s Lament (1980), ‘the great New Zealand play’. His television credits, for which he has won several awards, include Erebus: The Aftermath, Fallout, Street Legal, and Doves of War.

His 2012 biography of Richie McCaw, entitled Richie McCaw: The Open Side, further showcases McGee’s versatility as a writer.

The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship is one of New Zealand’s most long-standing and prestigious literary awards. It commemorates the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield who was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888 and died in France in 1923. The fellowship allows a New Zealand writer to work at the Villa Isola Bella in Menton, France for a period of six months or more in the year of tenure. The successful applicant is paid a sum which is intended to cover return travel to France and living and accommodation expenses, currently not less than $75,000.

Penguin Group (NZ) wishes Greg well with this wonderful opportunity.

Huge congratulations to Greg McGee! Read what I thought about Love & Money here.

Sargeson writers in residence announced

Two leading New Zealand fiction writers have been announced as the recipients of the annual Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship for 2012.

The two new fellows, David Lyndon Brown and Anna Taylor, will each spend five months in residence at the Sargeson Centre in central Auckland and receive a $20,000 grant.

Buddle Findlay National Chairman Peter Chemis says the fellowship continues to play a key role in developing New Zealand’s literary talent.

“We offer our congratulations to David and Anna and, as with so many high quality fellows who have gone before them, we’re sure they’ll make great use of the freedom from distractions the Sargeson Centre provides,” he said.

Anna TaylorAnna Taylor completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2006. Her writing has been published widely in literary journals and anthologies including SportTurbine, and The Penguin Book of New Zealand Short Stories (2009).

Anna’s first collection of short stories, Relief, was published by Victoria University Press in 2009 and won the 2010 NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction.

“I feel incredibly privileged to be given this opportunity,” said Ms Taylor.

“Time and money are the two major obstacles when it comes to fitting writing into my life. This fellowship eases the financial pressure, as well as providing space and solitude to get words down on paper,” she said.

Ms Taylor said she would spend her time at the Sargeson Centre writing the second draft of a collection of three linked novellas.

David Lyndon BrownDavid Lyndon Brown studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts from 1969 under the tutorage of Colin McCahon. He is the author of Calling the Fish and Other Stories (2001 University of Otago Press), Marked Men (2007 Titus Books) and Skin Hunger(2009 Titus Books).

David has also taught expressive writing to various groups including the elderly, mental health patients, recovering addicts, Maori and Pacifica writers and at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Continuing Education.

Mr Brown said he is excited and honoured to have been awarded the fellowship.

“It’s every writer’s dream – an oasis of time. I have several projects in mind, some of which have been simmering for a while, and a recent trip to Samoa has also stirred something. When I am writing I become totally immersed and this fellowship will allow me the freedom to plunge with no distractions or diversions,” said Mr Brown.

About the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship

The Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship is a national literary fellowship offered annually in partnership with The Frank Sargeson Trust. The fellowship provides the opportunity for outstanding published New Zealand writers to write full-time in residence at the Sargeson Centre, adjacent to the University of Auckland, with an annual stipend of NZ$40,000 (the stipend is shared if there are two fellows). The Frank Sargeson Trust established the fellowship in 1987 to commemorate Frank Sargeson and provide assistance for New Zealand writers. In 1997 Buddle Findlay became the commercial sponsor of the fellowship, and is proud to support the literary future of New Zealand. For more information please visit http://www.buddlefindlay.com/who-we-are/buddle-findlay-sargeson-fellowship

Guest Post: Steve Stack on Copyright Pages

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Steve Stack, author of 21st Century Dodos

You know what the most boring page in every book is?

The copyright page.

You know, that weird page at the beginning with legal notices, © symbols, addresses and details of the printer.

Boring, boring, boring.

When I was putting the finishing touches to my latest book, 21st Century Dodos, I decided to make that page a little less boring.

Copyright Page - 21st Century Dodos

Can you see what I did?

I couldn’t go too mad otherwise someone at HarperCollins would have noticed but I hope it prompts a chuckle or two when some unsuspecting reader stumbles across the mischievous additions.

But what about the rest of the book? I cannot 100% guarantee it will be as pointlessly subversive, but it is quite fun. I have collected well over 100 inanimate objects which I believe are endangered. Some of them are extinct already. Audio cassettes, handwritten letters, rotary dial telephones, black and white television, Concorde, even compact discs deserve a place on the list.

Then I have tried to write something funny about them.

And if not funny, then at least mildly interesting.

Consider it a fond farewell to the things that many of us grew up with. If my exciting copyright page makes you want to buy it then I hope you enjoy it.

If you don’t, then feel free to keep quiet.

21st Century Dodos by Steve StackThanks Steve! Readers, you can buy your own brand-spanking new and gorgeous copy of 21st Century Dodos in beautiful hardcover or delightful e-book, and I highly recommend you do, as it will transport you to your younger days, leaving you cringing with embarrassment.

Steve Stack is currently blog touring (yes, this is a real thing) and he gets around. Read yesterday’s stop at Bear Mountain Books and make sure you check out tomorrow’s instalment at Talli Roland’s Blog. He also answers to the name of Scott Pack. I may start calling him Sanjeev Barack to see if he’ll respond to that too.

2011 Manuscript Assessment Programme – New Zealand Society of Authors

NZSAThe 2011 NZSA Manuscript Assessment Programme is now open for applications.

The Assessment Programme is aimed at new writers at an early stage of their career. It offers an opportunity for a writer to have a complete manuscript evaluated by an experienced assessor.

An assessment can assist an author improve the quality of their work, by providing constructive critiquing and suggestions for improvement. This can be enormously helpful for a writer when considering a new draft of their work.

A selection panel will choose 10 successful applicants and match them with an assessor who specialises in the genre in which the applicant writes. The programme is open to writers of poetry, fiction, short fiction, memoir and non-fiction.

For the first time, the 2011 programme will also involve 5 ‘mini-mentorships’ which will be offered to 5 of the successful writers. These short mentorships will begin in early October and will help to guide each writer in the reworking of their manuscript. Expressions of interest will be asked for in the application form.

Please note that there is a new deadline for the Assessment Programme: 30 May.

For an application form please contact the NZSA national office by emailing: programmes@nzauthors.org.nz or visit their website.