Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


A Feminist Reading List

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2016 by mrsdillemma

We_can_do_itElizabeth Heritage asked for recommended reading lists from each of the people she interviewed in relation to our article on feminist themes at NZ literary festivals. Please feel free to add your own recommended reading at the bottom, and we will incorporate this gradually into the main list.

Our respondents were: Carole Beu, from The Women’s Bookshop, Ponsonby; Matthew Simpson from publisher HarperCollins NZ; Tilly Lloyd, from Unity Bookshop, Wellington; Writer and Lecturer Anna Jackson; Nicola Strawbridge, from Going West Festival; Kathryn Carmody, from NZ Book Council, and Rachael King, from WORD Christchurch.

cv_a_history_of_nz_womenA History of NZ Women, by Barbara Brookes (BWB) Recommended by Tilly Lloyd.
• Animal: The Autobiograpghy of a Female Body, by Sara Pascoe (Faber) Recommended by Tilly Lloyd.
Bad Feminist, by  Roxanne Gay (Little, Brown) Recommended by Tilly Lloyd.
Colour of Food: a Memoir of Life, Love and Dinner

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WORD: Speaking Out – Tara Moss interviewed by Joanna Norris

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2016 by mrsdillemma

Tara-Moss_Speaking-Out-promo-shot-1At the 2050 session yesterday about climate chaos, panellists spoke about the danger of going from denial to despair. I was thinking about that a lot as I watched author and feminist activist Tara Moss give a presentation on sexism in the media, politics and society. The statistics are unrelenting, and I was too sad to write all of them down: women comprise only 11% of protagonists in top-rating US films; worldwide, fewer than 1 in 4 people we hear from or about in the media is female; a third of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. One third. That’s literally billions of us. Christ. She encouraged us to photograph her slides but I was too depressed.

Moss herself was very calm; charming and warm. She is an Australian writer who has moved from writing crime novels to feminist non-fiction. She’s here promoting her latest book, Speaking…

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WORD: The Margaret Mahy Lecture, given by David Levithan

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2016 by mrsdillemma

This was a really special experience. I will move mountains to come to all future Margaret Mahy lectures. I’ll admit that the concept of a named lecture often gives me doubts, but I have read Levithan, and I knew I did not want to miss what he had to say.

Kate De Goldi gave the introduction, saying ever since his first novel Boy Meets Boy, “he has energetically reimagined queer experience.” Levithan has now written, edited, and anthologised more than 20 books. “He has peopled the YA stage with self-aware, thoughtful, engaged teenagers.” The highlight of his books for De Goldi is the concept that we are at our best in relationship to one another: change comes only from connectivity. As well as writing his own books, he is a publisher and editorial director at Scholastic US.

Event_Margaret-Mahy-Memorial-Lecture-David-Levithan-1He opened his talk by speaking briefly to the Orlando shooting: “What…

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In Uncategorized,YA literature on July 9, 2016 by mrsdillemma


Imagine living in a world with all the advances in technology and knowledge we have at our fingertips yet one where all we are in the midst of a great depression, all the banks have folded, the economy is ravaged, unemployment and emigration have soared. . .  who would be to blame?

In Ahern’s future the leaders who made the wrong moral choices that lead to the downfall were blamed, they were faulty, defective, weak, they were Flawed.

With the plethora of Dystopian fiction for teens available finding one that well and truly stands out from the crowd is a blessing – Cecelia Ahern’s first foray into YA is well worth taking the time to read.

Celestine lives in a time in which the government has established a moral code which must not be broken or the consequences faced – making a morally wrong decision can lead to you being, literally, branded Flawed. So what happens when Celestine must face that decision. . .

Being such an established writer Ahern has the skill to create a thoroughly believable dystopian future, the concept is fully realized and the characters that inhabit this world are fully rounded individuals, with Celestine as our highly polished young protagonist. Being ostracized from society is a theme that resonates well with YA readers and is often explored in YA literature but the way in which Ahern achieves it in Flawed is stunning.




Whats hot in YA Lit?

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2012 by mrsdillemma

Whats hot in young adult literature?

Well, 10  years ago a teenage wizard named Harry Potter was unstoppable; you couldn’t pass a bookshelf anywhere without seeing the boy wizard.

Launch days were 12 hours long, queues reached around the store, out the door and down the street and orders for the following book were placed months in advance. Thousands of spin off products were on retailers’ shelves and sold like hotcakes.

Then a couple years ago a vampire named Edward came along and pushed poor Harry aside to win over the hearts of teen lit fans across the world. The Twilight saga is still with us and we would still expect a surge in sales when the final instalment is released in November 2012.

So, What’s hot? Well, Vampires, werewolves, fallen angels and all of their brooding kin still crowd the young-adult shelves of our stores, but they’re having to make room for a new wave of dystopian fiction.

Dystopian fiction’s not new; it’s just experiencing a new wave of popularity – kicked into high gear with the Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

This is something we don’t need to tell our readers, they’ve already read each and every book in the trilogy twice, all of the associated movie tie in product has raced off the shelves just as fast.

Dystopian fiction titles are essentially hero stories, our teenage protagonist against the world, far removed from everyday reality, yet they, like their teen readers, have to deal with very recognisable everyday concerns and problems; friends, family, loss, love, and sex.

What is it that attracts teenagers to dystopian fiction?

  • “my own private dystopia”
  • Story
  • peer pressure
  • environment

There seem to be a number of opinions, but the main theory proposes that books set in either chaotic or strictly controlled societies mirror a teenager’s life; at home, at school, with their friends, online and in the wider world. Some would choose to call it Let’s call it the “my own private dystopia” theory.

There are another couple of theories, I use that term loosely, that may explain the huge surge of popularity of the “ground zero” book – the Hunger Games. 

Firstly, an astoundingly simple explanation. Teens like to read dystopian fiction because it’s fast paced and exciting, it all comes down to the story, if they can’t relate to the story in some way then it won’t succeed.

Secondly, peer pressure, if your BFF is reading the ‘hottest new thing’ then surely you want read it as well? In some cases, popularity does not reflect quality.

 Finally, environment, we live in a world filled with tragedy whether it be war, disease, or manmade and natural disasters. Dystopian literature warns us about the dangers of our current way of life, these titles detail the consequences of our political, military and  economic decisions.

According to Lisa Parkin of the Huffington Post, in 2012 the number of dystopian-themed books for teens will peak at the highest level since the 1960s.

 Some commentators are now questioning the trend, is it good for our kids? Is teen lit getting to dark? Are the current crop of YA stories darker than previous? In reality this trend is one that has existed for decades, it’s just been rehashed, reimagined and technologically advanced.

What are the upcoming trends?

So, Dystopian fiction will continue to dominate the market for a least the next 18 months but is that is only thing our teens are devouring?  

Dystopian appears to be drenching the market and the newer titles have to be something special to get noticed, the author has to bring something fresh to the table.

It’s the same with paranormal romance, hasn’t it all be done now? It may be, that the stories that will be successful (and become trendy… ) will be told in a different way, perhaps a paranormal thriller with a twist of romance?

Contemporaries are an area that will always have a strong readership and those that are stunningly well written will always stand out above the rest, One I think has huge trend setting potential is Gayle Foreman’s “Where She Went”.

Back to trends; trend theory tells us that trends in literature come in the three forms; content, format & interaction. The content is the responsibility of the authors, agents, editors, publishers and booksellers. The format is provided by the same group of people but the buying decisions, and therefore the interaction, are made by the customer;

hardback (I want it now and I don’t care how much it costs – import it if necessary!), trade paperback (I want it on release day, I need to sit and read with my friends – there is no other option), b format paperback (I’m prepared to wait, cause the others might be just a little out of my price range) or the game changer; ebook format. 

The interaction part of setting a trend is the key, it’s the one that makes the trend local, regional, national, international or global.

How teens interact with the title and with the information they have about the title is crucial to its success, they can start chatting with their global network of friends on facebook, twitter and via mobile apps,* they can blog on wordpress, and start posting pictures of book covers and movie adaptations on tumblr and pinterest, they are the ones who set the ball in motion. Once this movement begins it can be backed up by social media campaigns waged by publishing houses, book retailers and movie producers.

*YALSA’s teen book finder app has been released from itunes this month

As I made mention ebooks are the game changer they can make or break a trend, they made up 25% of all YA sales for Harper Collins  in January 2012, a 6% increase, on top of the fact that YA booksales are booming, it’s all in all a growth industry, up by over 25% between 1999 and 2005.

In retailing, and I guess publishing, one trend finds massive, market dominating success with a few key titles, it then picks up steam, publishers start buying it left and right, the market gets flooded, then quality drops, and POP! the bubble bursts. On to the next big thing….

So, what do you think it will be?



A Made-up Place | Christchurch City Libraries | BiblioCommons

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2012 by mrsdillemma

Just found this title (A Made up place:New Zealand in young adult fiction) listed under the new non fiction purchased for the Christchurch City Libraries – I so badly want to read it! Qustions are bursting forward…

is fiction written in New Zealand written for international audiences?

if so, are our authors so reliant on overseas sales to live and work in a non existant realm?

Do we want this situation to exist – if we don’t we, as readers, must encourage our writers to write for kiwi kids living in a kiwi world!

Publish an international novel and then leak the NZ “amendments” online….

Just a thought (must now go and order a copy for my bookshelf)


Ray Bradbury & why libraries are important

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 by mrsdillemma

I found it nearly impossible to stop smiling after reading this – have a look for yourselves.