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Centre for the Book
Events and Opportunities related to Books at the University of Otago

4 Novelists Reveal the Secret to Starting

Join Fiona Farrell, Paddy RIchardson, Sue Wootton and Emma Neale for a conversation with Chris Else about how they wrote their most recent novels.

Presented by the Otago-Southland branch of the NZ Society of Authors, in partnership with Dunedin Public Libraries, the event is proudly supported by the University Book Shop.  There is a modest charge of $5, payable at the door.  UBS will also gladly sell you copies of the authors’ novels.

4th Floor, City Library

Thursday, 16 November 2017, 6:30 pm

David Elliot Speaks at Dunedin Public Library, 6 pm Thursday 23 November

Come and hear the author/illustrator discuss his multi-prize-winning book, The Snark.  Learn the back-story to this inventive riff on Lewis Caroll’s famous poem.


BOOKINGS: 474 3690 or

Thursday 23 November | 6 pm | 4th Floor | City Library

Exisle Publisher to speak at Public Library, 7 pm Wednesday 15 November

Join Gareth St. John Thomas of Exisle to hear about the imprint’s picture book series, EK.


Wednesday 15 November | 6.30pm for 7pm start 4th Floor | City Library

BOOKINGS: 474 3690 or
For more info contact

Books and Users–Now in Context

The Centre for the Book’s annual research symposium will take place this year amid a much larger event, the UNESCO Creative Cities Southern Hui.  See the website for full details of the programme, and to register for any or all of the events.  All are cordially welcome at all the events, but it would help everyone concerned if you could please register through the site for our symposium and well as the Hui events that you wish to attend.  You only have to tick the boxes for the days you wish to attend, and then enter your name and contact details and you’ll be in the system.

We are excited about the Symposium line-up, with an engaging blend of topics and speakers from far and near.  The draft programme is available for download, though we are still awaiting one or two confirmations.

Congratulations to Nicky and Noel and the City of Literature team for an exciting Hui.  We hope you find all the events attractive and look forward to welcoming you on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This Wednesday–Sense of Wonder at DPL

Stories where the book is the star. Tales set in book shops, storybook lands, and anywhere reading leads.

Bring along an old favourite or a new discovery to share.

Wednesday 13th September, 7pm
Dunningham Suite, 4th Floor, City Library

 [You are welcome to join us for a tour of the children’s basement collection prior to this session. Meet on the 4th floor at 6.30pm.]

Free, but booking essential: 03 474 3690 or – please confirm when booking, if you would like to attend the basement tour

For more information, contact:


Rare Book School 2018 in Melbourne Accepting Applications

Book of hours (fragmentary), Besançon, France, c. 1430–40, Rare Book Collection, State Library Victoria

The 13th annual Australasian Rare Book School is now accepting applications.   Details on the web.

With three offerings ranging from medieval MSS to the history of photography, the School is taking advantage of the State Library of Victoria’s rich holdings to offer a valuable and appealing set of classes.  For those wishing to upskill to rare book cataloguing, there’s a 3-day course, leaving you a few more days to enjoy Melbourne.  If you ever needed any excuses to visit, this summer’s offerings provide a good set. Classes run from Monday, 29 January 2018 to Friday, 2 February 2018.

2017 Printer in Residence Programme Starts Today

Keep your eyes peeled to see what delights pop off the type and onto the window over the next few weeks at the Otakou Press.  The project will be a collaborative one, featuring writer, editor, poet David Eggleton (12 poems); the Dunedin-based artist Nigel Brown (9 images); and printer Dr John Holmes of Frayed Frisket Press (1 handsome publication).

Entitled SNAP, you’ll need to be in quick to snap up one of the 100 copies available.  All expressions of interest to Donald Kerr ASAP.  And do feel free to call in and see the process at work.  Who knows, your comment might even alter the course of the work or help eliminate a typo before it has been painfully multiplied (and has to be even more painfully reprinted).

170 Years of Travel Publishing: Hakluyt Exhibition at Spec Colls through 8 September

Intrepid Journeys is an exhibition that highlights two major aspects. The first is the Hakluyt Society, established in London in 1846 with a commitment to print rare or unpublished voyages and travels. Beginning in 1847 with The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins, Knt in his Voyage into the South Sea in the year 1593, their publication programme has continued, enthralling readers around the world with the accounts of a wide range of voyagers and travellers, who manage to document something of their toil and adventures as they traverse unknown and distant regions. The second aspect celebrates the work of Dr Esmond de Beer, the Dunedin-born scholar of John Evelyn and John Locke, who was President of the Hakluyt Society from 1972 to 1978. De Beer and his sisters were generous and indefatigable supporters of the Society and its activities. He is the University of Otago Library’s prime benefactor, giving his large library collection to Special Collections.

Rather than concentrate on well-travelled paths like the Pacific, more attention in this exhibition has been given to those lesser known accounts, those that reveal something of those strange, exotic, out of the way areas of the world that have been explored, travelled, and mapped. The range is wide, covering 14th century Greenland and 17th century India, to mysterious Timbuktu, and travel into the interior of Australia. Magellan, James Cook, and Carteret also feature. Importantly, there are a number of maps on display. Not only do these documents help ground the reader in what was the real world, ‘terra firma’, but they also offer excellent visual impact.

The Hakluyt Society continues to produce very pleasing, scholarly editions that make journeying easy and accessible; ideal for the armchair traveller. Please enjoy the journey.

2017 Centre for the Book/UNESCO Extravaganza–“Books and Users”

The University of Otago Centre for the Book is pleased to announce our sixth annual research symposium. In 2017, we are teaming up with Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature to offer a 3-day extravaganza engagement with books and culture.

Download the full Call for Papers.

The Centre for the Book Symposium will start on Tuesday evening, November 28th, with our usual public lecture at the Dunedin City Library. The lecture will feature Warwick Jordan, proprietor of Hard to Find Books, talking about his wide experience as a bookseller and the variety of book users that he supplies.

The symposium proper will take place on the University campus all day Wednesday, November 29th, at the College of Education and will feature a slate of presentations on the theme “Books and Users.”

The two-day UNESCO Creative Cities symposium will follow, with international and local keynote speakers on Thursday November 30th, followed on Friday by facilitated workshops at the Dunedin Athenaeum in the Octagon.

Please note: Thanks to generous support from the University of Otago Centre for the Book, the NZ National Commission for UNESCO and the Dunedin City Council, both of these events will be free to attend, with delegates responsible for providing their own lunch. Delegates are welcome to register for specific days or all three days.

Thanks to Book Night Readers

As you can see from the photograph, we had a jolly gathering on Wednesday to listen to readings about the academic world, ranging from Old English verse to Coetzee’s Foe.  Thanks to all who turned out, and to the University for making it possible for us to use the Council Chamber.  The Rev. Burns probably did not approve of the recitation of Baxter’s “Ode on Mixed Flatting,” but his picture remained stolidly hanging at the end of the chamber above us, and the mix was great.