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Centre for the Book | He Rau Kupu
Events and Opportunities related to Books at the University of Otago

Another Sad Loss to the Dunedin Book World

Most of us will have learned of the death of Mary Ronnie via Radio NZ this weekend. Mary was always a gracious and lively figure at events, full of wise insights delivered with no-nonsense clarity. A pioneering figure for women, a tireless champion for books and an avid library historian, Mary will be deeply missed by many of us and many others around Dunedin and throughout New Zealand.

Book Conservator Talk, Tuesday 21 March, 12:10 pm, Otago Museum

Join the Otago Museum for another fascinating Friends in Focus talk at Otago Museum. Join Rosemary Coppell, Tūhura Otago Museum Conservator talking about what makes old books intrinsically valuable, what books can tell us about their previous owners, their historical use and importantly, how to care for your own collection.

Rosemary holds an MA in Conservation from Camberwell College, London. She has worked in conservation, collection care, and exhibitions in multiple private, regional, and national institutes in the UK and Ireland. Rosemary worked as both a private conservator and in collection care at the National Archives in Wellington before her current post as Conservator at Tūhura Otago Museum.

12.10pm, Tuesday 21 March
Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum

Otago Museum Talk, 19 March, 11 AM

Come along to learn about the roots of English literature from University of Otago’s Professor Simone Celine Marshall. Discover “How Arthurian legend, Beowulf, and Geoffrey Chaucer helped shape all stories that came in their wake.”  Bring a friend; it’s a free event. 11am -12pm on Saturday 19 March at the Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum.

Professor Marshall’s talk is part of a full day of events about the medieval world, and includes a paid workshop with Prof. Marshall on quill making and calligraphy, along with many other fun activities listed below.

Leaflet listing the activities of medieval day

Reading Allowed–next Wednesday, 8 March, 5:30 pm

Dunedin Public Libraries is continuing in 2023 to host Dr. Paul Tankard and Lorraine Johnston at Reading Allowed, where they each read aloud an excerpt from a work of classic or modern literature. It’s a relaxed and fun introduction to a wide range of works of literature.

Our next event is NEXT Wednesday, March 8, at 5.30pm by The Cube on the Ground Floor of the City Library.

No lecture — no fee — no gimmicks — no homework! Just come, sit, and relax.

The excerpts in March are from Spike Milligan’s Puckoon, and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar – both 60 years published.

Not in Dunedin? Join us on Zoom!

Zoom logoI’m very pleased to announce that Megan Hutching’s talk will be available by Zoom. See the link below. While we’d love to see you in person, we understand if that’s not possible and look forward to welcoming you digitally. I cannot promise that our ability to interact with questions at the end will be absolutely seamless, but we’ll do our best.

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android:
Meeting ID: 979 3300 8826
    Password: 205207

Deadline for dinner reservations

Text reading “Do It Now”If you wish to attend the World Book Day Dinner following Megan Hutching’s talk on Thurs 2 March, you must let us know no later than this Wednesday morning (23 Feb) by 9 AM, so that we can tell Ombrello’s. Details of the cost and menu are in the previous blog entry. We do hope you will be able to join us.

2023 World Book Day Lecture–Thursday 2 March, 5:30 pm

Metal table-stand microphonePlease join us as the Centre for the Book hosts our annual World Book Day lecture on 2 March 2023. The talk will take place from 5.30-6.30 p.m. in Castle 1 Lecture Theatre, University of Otago. This year, we are delighted to welcome Megan Hutching to speak on “Talking Books: Writing Oral History.”

Megan Hutching is an oral historian and author of many books including Over the Wide and Trackless SeaLeading the Way, a history of the New Zealand women’s suffrage campaign and, most recently, Threads of Caring, a commissioned history of Auckland’s Anglican Trust for Women and Children. She is currently researching Auckland restaurants and eating places in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her other research interests include women’s history and political activism.

The talk will be followed immediately afterward by dinner at Ombrello’s. A set menu of 2 courses is available at $50 per head (not including beverages), payable on the night. Please RSVP for numbers to

We do hope you can join us.

Rare Book Summer School Public Lecture

Alexander Turnbull’s earliest bookplate, designed by Walter Crane, 1891.
(Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref. BOOKPLATES-Graham-NZ-Turnbull-1891-01)

The Centre for the Book is delighted to launch our 2023 events with a public lecture by Anthony Tedeschi, FSA, Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing at Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington.  Anthony will be speaking on “Alexander Turnbull and the Book-Collecting Game.”

The talk will take place at 5:30 Wednesday 25 January in Burns 2, Ground Floor of the Arts Building.  All are welcome.  If you are not able to join us in person, it is also possible to join a livestream of the event, though there will not be a recording of the talk.  Go to
(meeting ID: 930 1369 2754, Password: 987561. If you wish to attend from beyond Australasia, please contact to request access).

We look forward to seeing everyone as we kick off the year in style.  And mark your calendars for the World Book Day Lecture at 5:30 on Thursday 2 March; more details to follow at the end of the month.

A Short Reflection on the 2022 Symposium

For those of us who were able to attend yesterday evening and today, and for any who had other commitments that precluded attendance, I have attached a brief summary of the Symposium.

A huge thanks to all those who made the event a reality.  It was a a whirlwind across the vastness of the Pacific, one that opened up the many possibilities and needs for research.  I look forward to many future developments in these areas.

2022 Symposium: Join Us this Evening and All Day Tomorrow

Here’s the roster of events for the Centre for the Book Symposium, Books and the Pacific17–18 November: 2022 Symposium Programme.

We will be hosting this year’s Symposium for the Friday meeting via Zoom Events.  Logging in requires no special software from you beyond your usual Zoom connection.  A separate Zoom link for Thursday evening’s public lecture at the Dunedin Public Library is listed in the programme. To Register for the main event on Friday please visit the Events page.  If you do not use Zoom, email us and we’ll add you.  We’d be very grateful if you could do so by 8 November so that we have time to prepare name badges and can let catering know of all dietary requirements for the morning and afternoon teas.  There are no fees to register, but if you are not registered, you will not be able to join the meeting online and might miss out on bikkies and drinks if you come in person.



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