A thoughtful review of The Walking Stick Tree

Low Visionary, a blog with a focus on disability rights and a passion for accessibility,  has written a review of Trish Harris’ memoir that is well worth a read. 

“…there was much anguished discussion among disabled people about the need to tell better, more realistic and more nuanced disability stories. The Walking Stick Tree makes an excellent contribution to filling that aching void. It establishes a place for disability and disabled writers in the literary world in general, since the themes are universal, but it makes a place, with its familiar setting, in the New Zealand literary world.”

Read the full review here.

More on L.J. Ritchie’s NZCYA Award Nomination

Image via New Zealand Book Awards TrustEscalator 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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Murder in the Library

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.

Latest news on The Walking Stick Tree

Trish Harris’s memoir The Walking Stick Tree has received wide media coverage. It featured on RNZ’s Nine toNoon programme and on the Stuff news website with articles also appearing in journals, magazines and blogs. We’re delighted to see the book—which contains not only a great story but also four essays and quirky illustrations—has made it onto the recommended reading list for Massey University’s Disability Studies course this semester. That’s a first!

Everything is Here … is everywhere

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.

Hooked on NZ Books

Over the summer it was great to see LJ Ritchie’s Like Nobody’s Watching listed in the top ten books for the Hooked on NZ Books He Ao Ano summer reading & reviewing challenge.

Hooked on NZ Books asked readers to nominate their favourite NZ Young Adult titles. Over the summer, the challenge to readers was to read as many titles as they could, and to review them for the website if they wanted to. The challenge was for readers 13-18.