Small Press Fest, 18–20 Aug. 2023

Friday, August 4th, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Small Press Fest, 18–20 Aug. 2023


18–20 August 2023 at Evening Books/Yours, 43 Moray Place

Small Press Fest is bringing together small presses and independent publishers from across the motu to Ōtepoti for three days of celebrations, workshops, talks, readings, and panel discussions.

Katie Kerr from GLORIA (Tāmaki Makaurau), Brannavan Gnanalingam from Lawrence and Gibson (Pōneke), Dunedin Youth Writers (Ōtepoti), Sasha, Achille and Renae from 5ever Press (Pōneke), Chris Holdaway from Compound Press (Tāmaki Makaurau), Rosa, Sam and Flynn from Newzician Magazine (Ōtepoti, Ōtautahi), Jennifer and Aidan from Rat World Magazine (Tāmaki Makaurau), Gilbert from Point Design (Ōtepoti), Blue Oyster Project Space (Ōtepoti), Gabi Lardies an independent book designer & writer / editor (Tāmaki Makaurau), and Val and Clare from Left of the Equator (Pōneke).

See the full Programme here: Small Press Fest • Ōtepoti • 18-20 August 2023 (

Reading Allowed–9 August–Chaucer and Stevenson

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Reading Allowed–9 August–Chaucer and Stevenson

The next session of Reading Allowed is NEXT Wednesday – August the 9th at the ground floor Cube area at 5.30pm

Come along to hear from a really old  and funny story by Chaucer, “The Miller’s Tale,” and from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, read aloud by Dr. Paul Tankard and Lorraine Johnston.

2023 Dalziel Lecture, “Laughter is From Mars: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene”

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on 2023 Dalziel Lecture, “Laughter is From Mars: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene”

The Centre for the Book is pleased to share the news about this year’s Margaret Dalziel lecture, “Laughter is From Mars: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene,” which will be delivered by Professor John Plotz of Brandeis University on Friday August 25, 4:30-6:00, Lecture Theatre 2 in the Arts/Robert Burns Building on the University of Otago campus.  Further details may be found here:

The lecture is free and open to the public, so please feel free to share the details with anyone who might like to attend.  There will be a livestream for those who are unable to be with us in person:

“Laughter is From Mars: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene”

This talk proposes that we have underestimated science fiction’s capacity to represent and critique science and the technological power it wields. When Joseph Conrad called H G Wells the “realist of the fantastic” he set surprisingly durable terms for understanding science fiction’s relationship to actuality. Scholars have argued since about whether the genre principally extrapolates from the present, or speculates  on what other economic/political/cultural  configurations might be possible. This talk, by contrast, traces the genre’s long tradition of mocking human self-centredness.

Recentring our understanding of SF on satire may offer a way to reframe Amitav Ghosh’s notion of “the peculiar forms of resistance that climate change presents” to “serious” fiction.  For many decades,  science fiction’s satiric thrust was Menippean, oriented chiefly against an exaggerated sense of humankind’s importance (do you think the world revolves around you?). But the nature of that satire has changed as writers struggled with the fact that humans truly had a world-altering and world-destroying capacity. In the 20th century, the human capacity to destroy the world (atomically, mainly) was satirised by Capek, Lem, Vonnegut, Le Guin and others. This lecture, after tracing that legacy,  assesses SF’s newfound capacity to satirize humanity’s present destructive power principally by way of  N K  Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, set in a world where people control and create earthquakes with their minds.

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.


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.


Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address