Books Archive

Hello darkness: Peter Wells on finding himself in the cancer ward

Author Peter Wells began a series of posts on his Facebook page last month, 'talking about what I saw, was going through, thought'. He has given the Spinoff permission to present his diary of life with cancer.

The second annual Spinoff Review of Books literary awards (including best dressed author)!!!

New Zealand literature! What is it, who reads it, and why does it exist? Some or none or all of these questions are about to be answered in the second annual Spinoff Review of Books literary awards!!!

The golden age of children’s writing in New Zealand is now

Tessa Duder provides a brief history of children's literature in New Zealand – and finds multiple reasons to be cheerful about the state of play in 2017.

The Monday Extract: Photographing the land of the long white cloud when it’s dark

A selection of images taken at night by Wellington photographer Grant Sheehan in his new book The Night Watchers.

The Friday Poem: ‘Overheard’ by Geoff Cochrane

New verse from Wellington writer Geoff Cochrane.

Unity Books best-seller chart: week ending December 1

The best-selling books at the two best bookstores in the North Island.

A man from Scotland travels to NZ and discovers forgotten genius Craig Marriner

Duncan McLean is a writer and publisher living on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. He travelled to New Zealand, drawn by the books of Frank Sargeson – and discovered the forgotten man of New Zealand writing, Craig Marriner.

Book of the Week: What makes Jack Reacher books so damn good?

Danyl McLauchlan celebrates the latest Jack Reacher masterpiece by Lee Child.

Announcing the longlist for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards: all the finalists, and some passing remarks

Yet another Spinoff Review of Books exclusive as we break the 5am embargo on the longlist of the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards by 60 seconds: the following story went up on our site at 4:59am.

‘Pissing on literature’: awaiting tomorrow’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalists

Spinoff Review of Books editor Steve Braunias anticipates the longlist for the 2018 Ockham national book awards, announced at 5am tomorrow.

Dame Anne Salmond: how a Spinoff reviewer got it wrong about my new book

On Wednesday the Spinoff Review of Books published a negative review of historian Anne Salmond's latest work, Tears of Rangi, which claimed Salmond reduced her Māori subjects to 'cardboard caricatures'. Today we publish her response.

The Friday Poem: ‘They called it love’ by Michael Gould

New verse by Canadian New Zealand writer Michael Gould.

Unity Books best-seller list for the week ending November 24

The best-selling books at the two best book stores north of the South Pole.

Book of the Week: The man who discovered Middle-earth

As a film location scout, Dave Comer is credited with finding many of the spectacular locations for Lord of the Rings. His widow Peta Carey describes her book on his photographs.

‘It turns our tipuna into cardboard caricatures’: Buddy Mikaere reviews Anne Salmond

Buddy Mikaere finds bias and misrepresentation in Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds, an otherwise acclaimed history of early New Zealand by Anne Salmond.

‘University English courses look like an exercise in whiteness’: ways to decolonise your reading

Brannavan Gnanalingam writes about the overwhelming whiteness of English literature as taught in New Zealand – and throws down a challenge to the gatekeepers, including the Spinoff.

Unity Books best-seller chart for the week ending November 17

The best-selling books at the two best bookstores in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Friday Poem: ‘The man who wanted to stroke my hair’ by Elizabeth Smither

New verse by New Plymouth writer Elizabeth Smither.

Book of the Week: The life of Claire Tomalin, toast of London literati

Marion McLeod reviews a memoir by author Claire Tomalin, who is candid about her affair with Martin Amis but maintains a classic English reserve.

Does literature exist on the other, emptier side of the Rimutakas?

In the latest of our occasional series of essays which investigate whether literature exists in the provinces, John Summers looks for clues in Greytown in the Wairarapa.

A pleasant outing: ‘He thought he would be decapitated as the balloon ripped through barbed wire fences’

Flash fiction writer Sandra Arnold on the time a hot air balloon ride went horribly wrong and could easily have gone a lot, lot worse.

Wellington’s LitCrawl event is freaking awesome. Does Auckland have the brains to do it too?

Steve Braunias reports from the 2017 LitCrawl in Wellington – and wonders whether it could be duplicated in Auckland.

I saw the mountain erupt: a Kawerau childhood

Morgan Godfery was born to a teenage mother and gang father in Kawerau, New Zealand's poorest town. He recounts the experience in this essay from the newly published Journal of Urgent Writing, 2017.

Unity Books best-seller chart for the week ending November 10

The best-selling books at the best two bookstores adhering to building codes.