Awards! Parties! Prizes! Cake!

Break out the party hats and hoist the streamers! It’s that time of year again: the announcement of the New Zealand Post Book Awards!

Peter McLeavey: The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art DealerThe full guff can be viewed on the official BookSellersNZ website, but Book of the Year went to Jill Trevelyan’s biography, Peter McLeavey: The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer; ahead of People’s Choice winner, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Well it wouldn’t be a proper awards ceremony without a bit of surprise, would it?

Us, ThenMuch less controversial was the winner of the Best Book of Poetry for 2014 – current NZ Poet Laureate Vincent O’Sullivan’s latest collection, Us, Then. Hooray! The other finalists were Gathering Evidence, by Caoilinn Hughes, Heartland, by Michele Leggott, and the winner of the NZSA Best First Book of Poetry, Horse with Hat by Marty Smith. (I quite like the winner of Best First Book being one of the finalists for Best Book, although it doesn’t make up for the fact that they no longer have a shortlist. Grr!)

Gathering Evidence Heartland Horse with Hat

But where, you ask, is the party?Why torment us with parties past? Is not the party over and behind us? Fear not, gentle reader, for tomorrow night there will be another party. At the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival, to celebrate 25 years of takahē magazine! Hurrah! Cake! Streamers! Balloons! Readers! Questions! People in sequined garments of questionable authenticity! (Ok, probably not that last one.) But definitely cake – see, here’s proof:

takahē birthday cakes

Yep, those are two of the actual cakes, baked this actual morning, from my actual grandmother’s actual recipe. And there are four more being baked by other people!

It should be a fun night. We have five guest readers – two fiction (Owen Marshall and Deborah Rogers), two poetry (Bernadette Hall and Greg O’Connell) and one creative non-fiction (Janet Wainscott, who is a last minute replacement for an ill John Ewen – get better soon John! We’ll try to save you some cake.) Karen Zelas will be talking a bit about the history of the magazine, and then I’ll be chairing a panel session, asking as many strange questions as I can think of about the various journeys our guests have taken to become writers.

The venue is the Savoy East room at Rydges Hotel (on Latimer Square), and the madness begins at 6.15 pm. Best of all, it is completely, utterly and absolutely FREE. (Well, we’re asking for koha. But what you do or don’t choose to give is up to you.)

As a bonus for those of you who are regular Dark Feathered Art readers, I’ll have five copies of the cake recipe to give away to the first five people to come up to me at the event and say Parties! Prizes! Cake!

How could you possibly resist?

birthday takahē

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