Escalator Press have recently been celebrating the success of their author, L. J. Ritchie. His first novel, Like Nobody’s Watching, has been shortlisted for the Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction as well as the Best First Book Award in the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (NZCYA). The winner of each award walks away with $7,500.
We caught up with L. J. Ritchie to see how he is taking the news. Currently hard at work on his second novel, Ritchie said it was ‘a big surprise’ to be told he was a finalist in the NZCYA, especially in such esteemed company as Maurice Gee in the Best Young Adult Fiction category. Ritchie hopes that the positive buzz around the prestigious awards will encourage readers to engage with his next Young Adult novel, an alternate-history thriller about eugenics in New Zealand during the Great Depression.
Publisher Adrienne Jansen expressed her delight at the nomination, saying she is ‘very proud of Like Nobody’s Watching’ as a ‘great read that also asks big questions’. As Ritchie’s first book, she thinks it is ‘just the start’ of a successful career. The 2017 NZCYA winners will be announced on 14 August. We wish Ritchie, and all other finalists, the greatest of luck.
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LJ Ritchie has made the shortlist in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in both the Best First Book and the Young Adult Fiction category.
Check out Like Nobody’s Watching and the other finalists here.
Also see this fantastic article on The Sapling website for the publisher’s insights on each of the Young Adult Fiction finalists.
LJ Ritchie has been talking crime in the current series of Murder in the Library, running in conjunction with the Ngaio Marsh Awards. So is Like Nobody’s Watching a crime novel? Well it’s certainly a thriller, and if illegal surveillance, cyber bullying etc are crimes, it’s right in there.
Escalator Press is to be the featured publisher at the Featherston Booktown weekend event (12th – 14th May) with presentations from all three of last year’s authors.
Rob Hack has continued to promote his poetry book Everything is Here in readings and is ‘appearing’ frequently at his local Paekakariki cafe with book held high wearing beret and ironic gaze. (Paekakakariki is about 45km north of Wellington)
As well as recording a couple of his poems for the Kim Hill Christmas Eve show and hearing Kim read one herself, he has read at The Station Sessions on Paekakariki Railway Station, at the Fringe bar in Wellington with blues musician Shayn Wills, and at the Hightide Cafe Paraparaumu Beach.
In February he was asked to read a Dylan song (as a poem) at a Cohen/Dylan musical tribute concert to a packed Paekakariki hall. Using large hand-held cards with song words written on them, he asked the audience to sing along as the tune played on cue… not his poem…not his voice but… ‘he stole the show’ murmured some of the musicians.
Kate Carty’s Run Thomas Run is currently being serialised on Nine to Noon, Radio NZ. It’s very good timing for this novel, given that Iraq (Mosul) is constantly in the news at the moment with military action to reclaim the city from ISIS. It’s a powerful and moving story, just as much on radio as on the page.
Helen Waaka’s book Waitapu is announced as a finalist in the Nga Kupu Ora Book Awards.
Helen Waaka (Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Torehina) will be appearing on Sunday 11/9 at ‘Going West Books and Writers Festival’ in conversation with Sue Orr and Paula Green.
Rudy Castañeda López will be speaking at The Southern Cross Book Club next Monday (12th June), 6pm at the Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant, 39 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington – the first author ever to speak to this club.
Welcome to Rob Hack, who’s joined the exclusive list of Escalator authors! Escalator Press is publishing Rob’s first collection of poetry this year, which is an exciting new direction for us.
Rob has lived in Paekakariki since 2005 after a third attempt to live across the ditch. He has been an insurance salesman, greenkeeper, builder, personal trainer, gym owner, factory hand, gardener, shop assistant etc. and currently works as a handyman to buy second hand poetry books and petrol so he can visit his grandchildren each week. He’s performed his poems in Kapiti and Wellington for 15 years and hosts a poetry show on Paekakariki radio called ‘Not at the Table: poetry and stuff’.
“These poems are about places, people and events that mattered and still matter in my life. Initially I wanted to uncover and record my Rarotongan mother’s early life due to her increasing memory loss and later progressed into writing about the Cook Islands, our Niue Island years, my forays into Australia, poets I admire and a lot of other stuff.”