Public Readings for Centenary of Eliot’s “The Waste Land”

Thursday, July 27th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Public Readings for Centenary of Eliot’s “The Waste Land”

Assoc Prof Paul Tankard will be bringing Eliot’s landmark poem to life at numerous venues around town over the next week or so.  Don’t miss the chance to hear Paul channeling the haunting voices of Modernism at your favourite venue.  Feel free to download and distribute the PDF flyer.

After a short introduction, the poem will be read aloud. No booking, no lecture, no commentary, no charge. The whole event will take around 40 minutes.

Sun 30 July, 4pm –  Inch Bar (with the Bill Martin Trio)
Tues 1 August, 5pm – Dunedin City Library @ the Cube
Wed 2 August, 5pm – Waikouaiti Library
Tues 8 August, 5pm – University of Otago Library @ Special Collections
Tues 15 August, 5pm – Hocken Library
Fri 18 August, 7.30pm – Knox College @ the Buttery

Tonight–books up for grabs if you’re clever

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Tonight–books up for grabs if you’re clever

Te Takarangi ki te Ao is hosting a Book Quiz event in the Dunningham Suite Dunedin Public Library  this evening Tuesday 11 July to celebrate Puaka Matariki with all things books! Arrive 5.15pm, quiz starts at 6pm.

If you’re free this evening, please please come along to our Te Takrangi quiz, it’d be super lovely to have you there, lots of beautiful books to gift and beautiful food being served by His&Her Catering (think pork belly with green applie five spice; tofu steamed bao buns with pineapple and chilli; pumpkin, watercress and parmesan arancini and more).

A special book quiz, book prizes, book authors and loads of book joy.

This is an invitation to join us and share in our Matariki celebration and love of books!

Please share this news, all welcome – bring friends and family. Share with your students too.

Some example pātai:

  • Which part of the body is tatooed with the puhoro pattern?
  • Who was the first Māori woman to gain a PhD in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • Where did the landmark exhibition Te Māori first open?
  • Where does Mataatu Wharenui now reside?
  • When was Whakaata Māori, formerly Māori Television, launched?

After checking out the very exciting Te Tauhoko Nui o Matariki night market on the Union lawn, come down to the Dunedin Public Library for a fun quiz.

Christopher de Hamel Public Lecture, Wednesday 16 August, 5:30 pm

Sunday, July 9th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Christopher de Hamel Public Lecture, Wednesday 16 August, 5:30 pm

Book of Hours, France (perhaps Paris), ca. 1435–1450. Dunedin Public Library

Friends of the Centre for the Book will be excited to learn that Dr. Christopher de Hamel will be presenting a public lecture entitled, “Medieval Manuscripts in Dunedin in the 1960s” at the Dunningham Suite of the Dunedin Public Library on Wednesday, August 16th at 5:30 pm.  The event is free and all are welcome.

Dr. de Hamel is an Otago graduate and recipient of a DLitt from the University in recognition of his expertise on medieval manuscripts.  He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and former Fellow Librarian of the Parker Library.

Anyone who has heard Dr. de Hamel present before will know what an enthusiastic and intelligent speaker he is.  Put the event in your diary now to avoid disappointment.  And please RSVP to ensure a place on the night:

Lynn Jenner, Public Lecture, Monday 5:30 pm 3 July

Sunday, July 2nd, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Lynn Jenner, Public Lecture, Monday 5:30 pm 3 July

Photograph of Lynn JennerThe Centre for the Book is delighted to present a public lecture by Lynn Jenner, author of Peat.

“With Charles Brasch on my Shoulder I Examine a Big Roading Project.” 

 “Peat is an archive. The black soil, the tea-coloured water, the sticks and the great trees. Whole ecosystems from the past are stored down there.” 

Peat (Otago University Press, 2019) is a real-time record of the lead-up to and the building of the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway on the Kāpiti coast, north of Wellington. Made up of essays and poems and two large poetic indexes, Peat has a literary and archival intent. It subjects the intention and process of the road building to scrutiny informed by the ideas of Charles Brasch. In her talk, Jenner will discuss the juxtaposition of Brasch with transport politics in more depth and the reason for choosing to write about events unfolding in the present.   

Lynn Jenner is a Northland-based writer and teacher of writing who lived on the Kāpiti Coast until 2020. She is the author of Peat (OUP 2019), Lost and Gone Away (AUP 2015) which was shortlisted in the non-fiction section of the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and Dear Sweet Harry (AUP 2010) which won the 2010 NZSA Jessie MacKay prize for Best First Book of Poetry.  Lynn has a particular interest in writing which crosses genre. Author website: 

Join us from 5.30 p.m. in Quad 1 Lecture Theatre on Monday 3 July. Free entry, all welcome.

Dunedin Book in the Making

Monday, June 26th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Dunedin Book in the Making

The Centre for the Book is excited about Prof. Simone Marshall’s latest project, “The Book of Otago.”  In collaboration with the Otago Art Society, contributions are invited for an exhibition intended to reveal the past, present and future. Inspired by the early medieval manuscripts of remote far-flung places (the Book of Kells), the Book of Otago captures a moment in time – what Otago means to us all.

Artists, writers, children, schools, community groups and other Otago organisations are encoiuraged to submit entries showing what Otago means to you.  Entries must be one page, measuring no larger than 297mm x 420mm (A3), in portrait orientation. Works may use any medium – painting, textiles, digital, photography, etc. – but must be suitable for inclusion in a book.

At the conclusion of the exhibition, selected works will be bound in the Book of Otago as a permanent celebration of the region.

For information and entry details email

The exhibition runs from 16 November to 3 December 2023.

UBS Summer Writer in Residence, Jan–Feb 2024

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on UBS Summer Writer in Residence, Jan–Feb 2024

Fancy not just a room but a historic cottage of one’s own?  The Centre’s friends at UBS, in partnership with the Robert Lord Writer’s Cottage, are pleased to announce that applications will soon open for the 2024 Summer Writer in Residence position.

The six-week Residency includes accommodation for six weeks in the Robert Lord Cottage, an office in the Book Shop, and a stipend of $2000. Applications are open from 1 July to 20 August 2023 and welcomes applications from emerging writers who are normally resident in New Zealand and who write for adults, young adults or children in any genre including poetry, drama, fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels, biography, autobiography, essays or literary criticism.  Full details are available here:

So sharpen your pencils and start dreaming.  The Centre for the Book and many other City of Literature partners look forward to welcoming the selected author.

A Proper Book Launch for Shoults–Thursday 8 June, 5:30 pm at UBS

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on A Proper Book Launch for Shoults–Thursday 8 June, 5:30 pm at UBS

The Centre for the Book is thrilled to be able to launch Donald Kerr’s study of William Arderne Shoults, book collector and source of many of the earlier books in the University of Otago Special Collections.  The UBS has graciously agreed to host the event and Donald has sourced a limited number of copies that eager readers will be able to purchase.

We hope you can join us to hear from Dr. Tony Fitchett about Shoults himself, followed by a few comments from Donald on this beautiful book.

5:30 pm, Thursday 8 June, at UBS, Great King St., Dunedin.
Please rsvp to by Monday 5 June for catering purposes.

NZ’s First Folio to be Feted at 10:30 am on Sunday, 23 April

Sunday, April 16th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on NZ’s First Folio to be Feted at 10:30 am on Sunday, 23 April

Map of locations of copies of the First Folio

Brighten your weekend with this global opportunity to celebrate one of the more important books in New Zealand, the 1623 folio collection Shakespeare’s plays.  The Auckland Public Libraries’ copy is the one farthest away in the world from it’s point of origin, but this event provides a chance to see where all the others are as well and to learn more the copy here.

Here are links  to the global First Folio celebrations with some delightfully presented information about the publication, it’s history and where copies are now held.

This page – shows where and when you can see an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio ranked in their distance from William Jaggard’s Print House. Ours is furthest away at 11,386 miles.  This page – has a beautiful map showing where copies of the First Folio are in the world.

Here is the link to the event on World First Folio Day –10:30am on 23 April.  Registration is free and will ensure you receive the Zoom link for the talks.

  • Auckland Libraries’ book conservator David Ashman will give an illustrated overview of what’s involved in conserving and digitising a 400 year-old treasure of English literature.
  • Dr. Sophie Tomlinson will talk about the University of Auckland Summer Shakespeare productions in the 1960s and 70s.
  • Michael Hurst will mark the official launch of the First Folio on Kura Heritage Images Online with a reading.
  • Robert Eruera will read from Ngā waiata aroha a Hekepia, Shakespearean sonnets translated into te reo Māori by Merimeri Penfold.

The Auckland First Folio will be on display, and visitors can also explore the online version.

Centre for the Book 2023 Symposium Call for Papers, 1 September deadline

Friday, April 14th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Centre for the Book 2023 Symposium Call for Papers, 1 September deadline

Dall-E image depicting conference theme

Each year, the Centre for the Book at the University of Otago organises a symposium with a theme designed to engage with ideas about the roles that books and print have played in shaping identity, indicating what’s important, explain how to do (and not to do) things.

The theme for the 2023 Centre of the Book Research Symposium is ‘Books and Resistance’.  We often discuss books as repositories or shapers of culture, most often considering the ways such print is revered, studied or transmitted, without so often pausing to think about all the ways that print, frequently in more ephemeral forms, also objects, resists or reframes our perspectives.  This year’s symposium offers an opportunity to reflect on how texts create, embody, celebrate, or challenge aspects of cultures that may otherwise be marginalised or silent, deviant or devout, brilliantly (but dauntingly) original or factually false that all find greater voice through print.  Resistance takes many forms, from graffiti to public manifestos and from handbills to social media posts.  The presentations in this symposium will discuss a variety of genres from different periods, some attending to distribution, some to subversive modes of production, some to resistant readers.  Why does print both enable resistance and provoke resistance?  Are some forms of print better suited to resistance?  Can choosing not to engage with print be a form of resistance?  These and no doubt other questions will be the focus of the 2023 Centre for the Book Symposium.

We hope you have something you wish to contribute to this topic, and that you will plan to join us for the public lecture on Thursday evening and the day of presentations on Friday, 16–17 November 2023

In line with this brief context, abstracts are welcome that examine any aspect of how books, newspapers, and the written word in all its forms enact, depict, obstruct or otherwise engage with resistance.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The inertia of physical books as a form of resistance
  • The ability of books to include or exclude voices of groups, individuals or nations
  • Radical publishing, whether on the left, right, or in areas otherwise marginal to the prevailing norms
  • Print permissions and censorship
  • Small publishers: acts of resistance, obstacles they face, survival as a form of resistance
  • Print and environmental issues
  • Print and Indigeneity
  • Print design to effect change
  • Print design that elicits unexpected resistance
  • Print and AI
  • Print and protest

Please submit abstracts of 250–300 words to the Centre for the Book ( by 1 September.  Feel free to contact either of the organisers, Shef Rogers ( or Donald Kerr (, if you have any questions.  We aim to send out notifications about acceptances and a draft programme by mid-September.  Online participation and attendance may be possible; precise format to be confirmed in July.  Whether online or in person, registration will be free.

Centre’s Co-Director on his Latest Research

Monday, April 3rd, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Centre’s Co-Director on his Latest Research

For those who might have missed this week’s Sunday Morning interview on Radio NZ, here’s a link to Donald Kerr discussing his current research on Ernie Webber.  We look forward to full story in print in due course.


Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.


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