Airini Beautrais' short story collection, Bug Week, beat tough competition to take home the top prize at this year's most prestigious literary awards. An eclectic mix of unhappy love stories, with a twist of black comedy, Bug Week is hot property in every bookshop around the country. After scooping the country's top literary honour in May, we caught up with Airini this week to find out about life since the Ockhams and her writing journey from My Little Pony fan fiction to a $57,000 book award.
Polynesian Panther, Melani Anae, secretly left her parents Grey Lynn home to attend a meeting of the Panthers when she was 17. Founded 50 years ago, Auckland's Polynesian Panther Party has been shining a light on oppressive and racist regimes ever since. Melani is the author of The Platform, the latest BWB text to tell the personal and political story of her own political awakening and the Party's commitment to the fight against discrimination. Here she joins us for our weekly Journal interview.
This week's Tri 2 Talk shines a spotlight on legendary English Literature Professor Harry Ricketts - poet, author, actor and Vic Books regular. We interviewed Harry during last year's lockdown and sat down with him again this week before his new English Lit courses begin and to celebrate his new poetry collection, Selected Poems, out today. Harry talks to us about sitcoms and acting, Bob Dylan and Jane Austen and how he loves a literary happy ending.
Welcome to our Tri 2 Talks on the Journal! This week we're applauding Dr Rebecca Kiddle (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi), senior lecturer in Architecture Design at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture. Her research interests include Māori place identity and participatory design processes and she is a contributing author of the BWB Text, Imagining Decolonisation - a runaway bestseller for over a year that is now being used as a textbook on campus and at universities across Aotearoa.
Talofa! It is Samoan Language Week - Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa from Sunday 30 May to Saturday 5 June and a year since our first cafe chat with Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban. Dame Winnie is Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) here at Te Herenga Waka - Wellington Uni, a former Member of Parliament and Labour Party spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs. We chatted to Dame Winnie about her future plans for Pasifika students, her passion for education and the benefits of bilingualism.
Join us on Tuesday 1 June for a lunchtime launch of Clare Moleta's new novel Unsheltered. Clare works at the International Institute of Modern Letters and has an MA in Creative Writing, so a familiar, friendly face at our Kelburn bookshop. Clare landed an international publishing deal for her debut thriller and we can't wait to celebrate her success. We'll be joined by author Elizabeth Knox so make sure you head on down for a literature filled lunchtime, meet the authors and grab a signed copy.
Her knockout memoir, The Mirror Book, is a brave and honest account of growing up in one of New Zealand's great literary families. Charlotte Grimshaw's memoir has been reviewed everywhere from The Guardian to The Spinoff including unprecedented daily coverage in Newsroom. Now hear from the author herself about how her memoir challenging the 'repressive' Stead family narrative has received such positive feedback and helped readers across the country think about their own family dynamics.
We're halfway through VUWSA Sustainability Week and you, our wonderful customers, have jumped on board to support us in our single-use cup drive! Together, you've already helped us save hundreds of cups from being sent to the landfill - thank you! We thought we'd talk to one of the pioneers of the SUC-free movement, KeepCup's Abigail Forsyth, to find out more about how reusable cups are saving the planet.
The crême de la crême of writers and stories from Aotearoa - the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalists. To celebrate the shortlist we contacted each finalist about their own reading choices. Have you ever wondered what shortlisted authors like reading themselves? The finalists revealed, exclusively to Vic Books, their favourite books from the last year on this Eve of the Award's Ceremony.
Wendyl Nissen is a journalist, broadcaster, magazine editor and the author of 10 books, mostly about living a chemical-free, old-fashioned life. Her Natural series has coined the catchphrase 'It's okay to be a nana'! Her latest book, My Mother and Other Secrets, released in April, is a fascinating and moving memoir about the ups and downs of her relationship with her mum. We caught up with Wendyl to find out more about her investigative journey to uncovering her mother's family secrets.
Happy Happy Soy Boy has been described as a disrupter of the alt milk scene - their non-dairy milk tastes delicious, is good for you and is the perfect match for your daily coffee here at our cafes. (Not to mention the cutest name and packaging around). More and more Kiwis are living dairy-free and passing on the environmental benefits with every cup. We caught up with founder Lloyd Smith to find out more about making the switch to alt milk and the philosophy and science behind the brand.
Meet the face behind the award-winning food blog, My Darling Lemon Thyme and bestselling book of the same name! Emma is also a stylist and photographer, writes for Cuisine magazine and lives in Raglan. Every Day is Emma's brand new book and is packed full of wholesome vegetarian ideas from her home kitchen. A gorgeous collection of go-to, easy yet delicious recipes, and with Mother's Day just around the corner, we think Every Day would make the perfect gift for some inspirational home cooking.
This week we're judging books by their covers with the wonderfully talented, award-winning book designer, Coralie Bickford-Smith! Coralie has one of the most impressive portfolios in the business - she's the creative mind behind the iconic Penguin Clothbound Classics, as well as author of her own gorgeous children's books. It's not everyone who can write and design their own book! We chatted online to Coralie in the UK about what book design trends and fonts make her tick.
Check out our merch models for 2021! One of our favourite couples on Kelburn campus, Psychology Masters students Fin & Luisa, are rocking our new university apparel range of tees, crews and hoodies. We caught up with them after their photo shoot to find out what they both love about trimester one, what students missed the most during last year's lockdown and the art of hot cross bun baking. Browse memorabilia online where you can see more of our favourite merch models!
We're celebrating our small but perfectly formed bookshop & cafes this Friday for NZ's first Small Business Day! It's been a tough ride this last year for us and other small businesses in Aotearoa, so we're championing all those local and family enterprises doing the hard-yards and bringing Kiwis the best in shopping and hospitality. Our General Manager, Jessica Godfrey, shares what she loves about leading our small neighbourhood business and why she loves supporting small in Wellington.
The clever folk behind brainfood drink, Ārepa, have shouted us some bottles so we'll be handing out shots of delicious and refreshing neuberry juice - and did you know, we'll all be smarter for it! Angus Brown is the boffin behind Ārepa - New Zealand's first brain health drink. Come grab a shot of brainfood before class on Thursday here at Kelburn and read our interview with founder Angus to get the lowdown on these super blackcurrants that can help push and protect our brain's performance.
Sending a greeting card is just one way of keeping in touch and showing you care - especially this year. No one knows this more than fabulous card makers, Oxted - their stylish, gorgeous cards for every occasion are the perfect way to send a little bit of magic and love someone's way. Oxted's Christopher Tubbs sat down with us to talk about the family business, his luxury fashion and music inspired designs and how a card beats a text message every time.
Tara and Nic are the faces behind Libertine Blends, the local organic tea company that we elect to serve at Vic Books. Over the next two weeks, we'll be hosting free tastings of our deliciously refreshing Iced Tea (*chef's kiss*) and so we chatted to Libertines Tara and Nic over a cup of Kapow to get to know the brand better. Find out from our tea aficionados what makes the perfect ingredients for a cuppa...
Wellington's 2021 Pride Festival is in full swing! And there's a packed programme of events happening across the capital from 13th to 27th March. This week, to celebrate Pride, we caught up with Yobanny and Cristian from Rainbow Haven, a student community organisation here on campus that supports LGBTQ+ communities from refugee, asylum seeker or immigrant backgrounds. Yobanny and Cristian will be hosting an event as part of the Pride programme on Sunday 21st March. Keep reading for more info...
This International Women's Day, we're revisiting an interview we published with culinary rockstar, Monique Fiso in order to celebrate her cook book, Hiakai, making the shortlist of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Monique has brought modern Maori cuisine to the world through her extraordinary Wellington restaurant HIAKAI and her book celebrates its traditions, ingredients and tikanga.
We're celebrating shortlisted authors this week on the Journal! With the finalists announced for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards' on Wednesday 3 March, we're revisiting our interview with Wellingtonian Brannavan Gnanalingam. His sixth novel, Sprigs, is up for the Ockhams top prize, the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction.
To celebrate the announcement of the awesome Ockham New Zealand Book Awards' finalists this week, we're revisiting our interview with the great Pip Adam that followed the publication of her now shortlisted novel, Nothing To See. This interview was originally published in July 2020.
Meet the creative mind behind Aotearoa's newest press! Tonia Shuttleworth has worked in the UK's publishing industry as art director and stylist for 17 years and now, back home in Christchurch, she's turned her passion for print into new venture, Koa Press. Koa's gorgeous debut title, Petal Power, is a collab with Style Home and out now. We're feeling inspired after last weekend's Garden Party festival - and Petal Power is just the book to feed our soul indoors and out!
We love our campus community! VUW is buzzing with book lovers and we're so lucky to catch up every day with two of the most voracious readers out there, Sandra Taylor & Mary Murray from the Biological Sciences School. We talk to these regular rays of sunshine about their latest reads over a coffee and scone at our Kelburn bookshop every day - we love being part of their campus story. Grab your bestie, a flat white and fit in a quick read today, just like our regulars!
Scientist, teacher and nature lover Rachel Haydon shares her passion for the outdoors in her recent publication, The Nature Activity Book. Encouraging children to get closer to wildlife and have fun in nature, the book calls on young readers to embrace their inner David Attenborough. Rachel is currently at the National Aquarium, where she is the GM. Grab the family and join Rachel at Verb's Garden Party on Sunday 21st February for some awesome outdoor activity ideas for all the whānau.
Witi Ihimaera began his writing career in the 1970s with Pounamu Pounamu and Tangi - the first short stories and novel to be published by a Māori writer. Witi is appearing at this month's Verb Wellington Garden Party with Taki Rua Productions bringing Navigating The Stars off the page, in a special Garden Party performance reading with live music. Witi talks to us about his writing process, his favourite pūrākau and what he's most looking forward to at The Garden Party on February 20th.
Bestselling author and clinical psychologist Gwendoline Smith is celebrating the release of her third self-help title, The Book of Angst this week. Along with The Book of Knowing and The Book of Overthinking, Gwendoline's trilogy is a perfect mental health toolkit for uncertain and worrisome times. We interviewed Gwendoline and asked for a little therapeutic advice on how to approach 2021!
Comedian and Social Media Star, Tom Sainsbury, is appearing at next month's Garden Party here in Wellington. Well known for his Snapchat impressions of Kiwi celebs and politicians, especially Paula Bennett and Gingerbread the Cat, Tom has recently put all those personalities into a book - New Zealanders: The Field Guide. He'll be at the Soundshell on February 20th, impersonating some of the weird and wonderful inhabitants of Aotearoa, including the 'Wellington Intelligensia'!
Art duo and nomadic lifestylers, Kemi and Niko are the creative team behind The Urban Hut Club. This February, The Urban Hut Club, a public art project showcasing colourful and sustainably built mini huts, will be part of The Garden Party Festival. Now sit, back, relax and read our interview with Kemi & Niko and check out the complete Garden Party line up next month. We're proud as punch to be the official bookseller for this awesome neighbourhood gig!
Author of 13 novels, three novellas and a collection of essays, Elizabeth Knox is a national literary legend. Her latest book, Monsters in the Garden, which she co-edited with David Larsen, has flown off the shelves this holiday season - a perfectly timed escapist collection of the best sci-fi and fantasy from across New Zealand. We were lucky enough to interview Elizabeth for this week's Journal, in-between the famous VUP party, Christmas prep and working on overseas editions of her other books
Rebekah Ballagh is a qualified counsellor, an illustrator and the creator of the popular Instagram page, Journey to Wellness. She's also the author of Note to Self, a gorgeously illustrated guide to feeling calm; complete with mental toolkits to help with anxiety and worry - a perfect gift book for 2020. We chatted to the lovely Rebekah about coping with festive stress and her picks for books for a blissed out holidays. After chatting with Rebekah, we felt instantly calmer too!
Book Podcaster, Journo, Author and TV Producer are just some of the titles held by Sonya Wilson. Aucklander Sonya is also the heart and soul behind Kiwi Christmas Books, a charitable scheme set up to ensure those kids whose family's are struggling, will get a book as a gift this Christmas. We got to know more about Sonya and her passion for books in this week's Journal interview - read on for more info on how you can help make a donation this Christmas.
'Tis the season and we're getting super excited ahead of meeting the creators of Egg & Spoon at our customer Christmas Party on Thursday! We bagged a sneak peak interview with NZ illustrator, Giselle Clarkson whose scrumptious illustrations can be found in Gecko Press's new cookbook for kids - healthy and yummy recipes for Kiwis 1-100. Come get a signed copy of Egg & Spoon this Thursday and make someone's Christmas morning!
We reckon Travel Writer, Bruce Ansley, has the dream job! We caught up with Bruce for the release of his ninth book, Down South - his epic homage to Aotearoa's beautiful Te Waipounamu. This great book takes a journey from Curio Bay to Golden Bay to meet the people and places that hold the clues to the South’s famous character. That Subaru on the cover is Bruce’s trusted vehicle - he’s covered around 250,000 kms in this car over the years, including his adventure Down South.
New Zealand's inaugural Poet Laureate, short story writer and VUW professor, Bill Manhire, is one of the highlights of Verb Festival this weekend. With just two days to go until he launches his new poetry collection, Wow, at Meow on Sunday at 12:30pm, we thought we'd give you a sneak peak into Bill's tips for the festival. Come meet Bill and get your hot off the press copy of Wow signed by the man himself.
Adventurer Miriam's first memoir Woman in the Wilderness was an international bestseller back in 2017 and she's recently returned from living the nomadic life walking 2000km across Europe. Wild at Heart is that adventure story and we were lucky enough to catch up with Miriam online before she appears at Verb Festival to talk about her journey next weekend!
We're celebrating the international publication day of debut novelist Sally J Morgan's Toto Among the Murderers! A gripping crime novel based on real life events, set in 1970s Britain. We chatted to Sally about her upcoming appearance at Verb Festival, her life as a published author and how a narrow escape with notorious serial killers, Fred and Rose West sowed the seeds for writing Toto Among the Murderers years later.
Founder and Director of Almighty, Ben Lenart, has a background in hospitality having owned various cafes in Wellington before founding Almighty and settling in Auckland. From 10-11 am, Tuesday 27th October, we'll be serving free tastings of Almighty beverages - so we sat down with Ben to find out more about the Almighty story and why his beverages taste so darn delicious!
Co-Founder of All Good, Matt Morrison, is in store serving free All Good Oat Milk tastings on Tuesday 13th October - we got the lowdown on Matt's fairtrade story for this week's Journal. Matt helped launch All Good by importing New Zealand’s first fairtrade and organic bananas back in 2010. They've been bringing us products that are good for the land, good for the growers, and, good for Vic Books' customers ever since.
Telling the story of her coming-out journey with a refreshing frankness, writer Lil O'Brien will be appearing on stage at Verb Festival this year. Her debut memoir, Not That I Kissed a Girl was published in July and after great success, has already reprinted. We caught up with Lil to talk Verb Festival and her talent for reading multiple books all at once!
Kieran E Scott is the author of a beautiful little hand-drawn book, DOT. DOT was produced over lockdown and released this September. It offers a practical way to comfort and calm anyone anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. We thought Kieran was the perfect person to interview this Mental Health Awareness Week.
Academic, translator and VUW neighbour, Dr Karena Kelly, sat down with us during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori to chat about her passion for engaging with te reo Māori in her teaching practices and translation projects. Her latest book in translation is Mā Wai e Hautū Who’s Driving published by Gecko Press.
This week we were lucky enough to chat with Sara McIntyre, the photographer behind Observations of a Rural Nurse, which quickly sold out of its first print run and is being reprinted. She talked about what drives her photography process, what impact her career as a nurse has had on her art, and what it was like to publish her first book!
This week we got to ask a few questions to the delightful Sam Coley, whose debut novel State Highway One is out now! Sam gives insight into his writing and reading process, why the details matter, and what it’s like trying to find and understand the idea of home.
Ahead of the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults winners announcement this evening, we caught up with poet, scholar, and former poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh about Mophead, being a ‘doodler, and HEART-led stories.
Coffee Supreme supplies our cafes with supremely good coffee year round, so this week we decided to sit down with a cup of soft brew and Douglas Johns from Coffee Supreme to chat about designing for the seasonal Vic Books blend, setting up shop in Japan, and the rewarding nature of working with coffee.
Ahead of the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults announcement on August 12th, we caught up with Damien Wilkins: novelist, poet, musician, and Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters here at Victoria. Damien talks book buying habits, dipping a toe into the world of children’s publishing, and New Zealand’s writing workshop culture.
H. G. Parry stopped in to chat with us this week, ahead of her signing at Vic Books this Thursday. She spilled the tea on her literary heroes, what it’s like to be a full-time writer, and the perks of being an internationally published fantasy novelist.
To celebrate teaming up with local botanical designers Twig & Arrow this week, we decided to get to know senior florist, stylist and instructor Mindy Dalzell. Twig & Arrow is a mother-daughter team, Mindy and daughter, Gretta. We found out what inspires their stunning, lush creations, what their floral design workshops offer, and why flowers are an essential for any space.
Pip Adam, author, workshop facilitator, Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize winner, and vegan quiche extraordinaire, sat down with us this week to chat about what things have been like since the release of her latest novel Nothing to See. Over a Libertine Kapow tea, Pip fills us in on writing with care, what excites her in contemporary literature and some of her current favourite reads.
This week we’re celebrating mid-winter Christmas by chatting to Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker from HUIA Publishers, who have collaborated on Santa’s Worst Christmas, a finalist in the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults and an instant whānau classic. Pania and Bryony talk about collaborative writing, working in publishing, and the growing scope of Māori literature.
This week we switched seats and interviewed Maggie Tweedie, the Breakfast Host of Radioactive.fm, Wellington’s leading alternative radio station and home to Vic Books weekly morning book reviews! She let us in on her all time favourite segments and guests on the show, her dream podcast project and what’s on her bookshelf at the moment.
How lucky are we having Emily Perkins on campus! Author, playwright, and Senior Lecturer at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Emily is also a Vic Books alumni.Emily spoke to us this week about the differences between writing fiction and writing for the stage, what she’s reading right now, and how her past informs her practice.
This week Max Rashbrooke graciously agreed to chat with us online about his latest work as the 2020 JD Stout Fellow at Victoria University, the Inequality Calculator, and cautious optimism. Max is a journalist, academic, and author tackling economic inequality in New Zealand — and looking towards democratic renewal in the future. Bridget Williams Books has published several of Max’s titles, including The Inequality Debate: An Introduction and Government for the Public Good.
As part of Kate's 100 Day Project, the talented illustrator has showcased some of the capitol's best-loved cafes, retailers and hot spots on Insta during lockdown. We sat down with Kate and her gorgeous illustrations to talk about how she's kept us all connected to our favourite Wellington hangs without having to break our bubbles.
The star of this week's Journal interview is Claire Mabey, Director of Verb Wellington. As well as being at the heart of the capital's literati, she's a voracious reader, a mum and a Pisces. We chatted to Claire about what comes next for literary festivals, her love of storytelling and why she always champions the red-haired heroine.
Julia Marshall, of award-winning Wellington kids book publisher, Gecko Press, chatted with us online. She shares the winning formula behind her 'curiously good books' for kids, her favourite reads and why her literary heroine, Pippi Longstocking, would ace lockdown life.
You know him as our charismatic storyteller who entertains our younger readers at Storytime, but he's also a top-notch New Zealand journalist. Baz Macdonald chatted about his talent for storytelling, his favourite kids books and his idea of chicken soup for the soul.
The extremely talented designer and illustrator, Phoebe Morris chatted with us online to talk about her latest publications, her career and what she's been up to during lockdown (just casually writing, illustrating and self-publishing a children's book).
Tayi Tibble, poet, writer and all-round boss, sat down with us (via the wonders of the internet) to talk about how she’s dealing with isolation, reflect on some scarily accurate predictions, and to describe what her ideal post-COVID-19 world looks like.
In February of this year, Juliet Blyth, our General Manager of two decades left to take on the task of getting New Zealanders to read more. We sat down with her to reflect on her years at Vic Books, talk about how we’ve changed with the times, and what she’s up to now.