A sneak preview into a world inhabited by a hapless young girl rescued from a plague-ravaged slum by a sinister benefactor makes for a dramatic start to this year's Writers on Mondays series.
The series is presented by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML).
On 9 July, Victoria University's Writer-in-Residence and two-time New Zealand Post Young Adult Book Award winner Bernard Beckett will give the audience a glimpse of his new novel Lullaby—the third and final in his series of metaphysical novels examining death that began with Genesis.
Later in the series, New York writer Terese Svoboda shares her 'weapons grade' poetry along with the chilling story of her uncle's experience as a military policeman in occupied Japan, and the playwright/director relationship—which some say can be 'better than marriage'—will be examined by Ken Duncum and David O'Donnell on the back of their premiere of West End Girls at Circa Theatre.
Wellingtonians will have the chance to hear a baker's dozen of the 25 poets whose work was chosen for the online anthology Best New Zealand Poems 2011 in a reading on 23 July in the lead up to National Poetry Day.
And in the year New Zealand takes centre-stage at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Writers on Mondays also presents an opportunity to hear one of the world's most highly-esteemed translators of German literature, Michael Hofmann, converse with Professor Bill Manhire on 13 August. Manhire himself is in the spotlight on 3 September, with a reading and 'exit-interview' before he retires as IIML Director.
Later in September the annual series will present a host of exciting new literary talent emerging from the IIML, before finishing on Monday 8 October with words and pictures from Kerry Hines, whose work with an archive of 19th century New Zealand photographs has inspired a collection of poems.
IIML Senior Lecturer Chris Price says that with sparkling fiction débuts from graduates Gigi Fenster, Lawrence Patchett and Kirsten McDougall, a new play by Director of Scriptwriting Ken Duncum, and a career-defining Selected Poems marking the impending retirement of the IIML's Director, Bill Manhire, 2012 is a big year for both staff and graduates, and the series unashamedly reflects this.
"In a programme jam-packed with Wellington’s finest literary talent, Damien Wilkins' on-stage interview with Bill is bound to be a highlight—and in Terese Svoboda and Michael Hofmann, we have two fascinating writers to round things out with an international perspective."
Writers on Mondays events run from 12.15-1.15pm at The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa except for:
• Better Than a Marriage: Circa Theatre, Mon 20 August, 12.15-1.15 pm
• Short Sharp Script 1 & 2: Circa Theatre, Mon 24 September and 1 October, 12.15-1.15 pm
• Poems, Photographs & Regenerating Histories: City Gallery Wellington, Mon 8 October, 12.15-1.15 pm
The full 2012 Writers on Mondays programme appears below. The programme can also be viewed and downloaded here: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/about/events/writers-mondays.aspx.
Admission is free, all are welcome.
Writers on Mondays is presented by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and with support from Circa Theatre and City Gallery Wellington. Michael Hofmann's visit to New Zealand is made possible by the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation at Victoria University.