GoodReads Best Books of 2014

With 3,317,504 votes cast by readers, this list is sure to have a few undiscovered delights. Many of my own favorites of 2014 are well represented including the Science Fiction winner, The Martian, written by Andy Weir, tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, one of the first people to walk on Mars and certain he he’ll be the first to die there as well. I listened to the audio version of this book and couldn’t get enough of it.

One of my other favs, Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie came in 12th place.

A bit surprised that Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin only came in at 14th place in the Fantasy list. I love Robin Hobb, well, except her Soldier Son books, just couldn’t get into those. Looks like I should get my hands on The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness though, over 51,000 votes it should be amazing.

You can view the full list of books here on GoodReads.

The Martian   Ancillary sword  Fools Assassin  The Book of Life

Ever wanted to write for children? Joy Cowley shares her top tips

Over the years, I’ve seen literally thousands of stories for children written by aspiring writers. While many showed promise, most had the same weakness: the authors didn’t know their audience. The stories had been written for a range of subjective reasons: the authors had values messages they wanted children to read; the authors liked a certain kind of story when they were young; stories with a popular theme were considered to have good market potential; it was easier to publish stories for children than writing for adults.I’ve tried as gently as possible to deal with these misconceptions in personal correspondence, and now, through the New Zealand Book Council, would like to offer experience that might be helpful to people who genuinely want to write for young people… Source: Booknotes Unbound

An Image is Worth . . . A LOT – The Fictorians

Ever wondered if it was ok to use an image you found on Google for your blog? I like to use images for writing prompts and I’ve posted a few here in the past as image prompts, I’m now wondering how ethical that was. Give this article a read and judge for yourself.

Source: An Image is Worth . . . A LOT – The Fictorians

Auckland Writers Festival 2015

Auckland Writers Festival 2015 begins tomorrow, 13th May, till 17 May at the Aotea Centre. Headlining this year will be the reclusive contemporary writer, Haruki Murakami. Murakami’ is a Japanese author who’s works have been translated into 50 languages and garnered several awards including the 2006 World Fantasy Award (best novel) for Kafka on the Shore. In 2007 he received an honorary doctorate of Letters from the University of Liège,[48], another from Princeton University in June 2008,[49] and in 2014, one from Tufts University[50].

Joining Murakami will be David Walliams of Little Britain and QI fame and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) will also appear the Festival, but the celebrity lineup doesn’t stop there, fare from it.

“They join a heady line-up of novelists, poets, thinkers, scientists, historians, playwrights and children’s literary stars including: one of the world’s most influential medical writers Atul Gawande who will talk about his most recent work Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End; the Festival’s 2015 Honoured New Zealand writer C.K. Stead; Helen Macdonald, winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award 2014 with her stunning Memoir  H is for Hawk; actor, writer, broadcaster, director, producer and musician Alan Cumming; UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy; internationally-acclaimed NZ singer/songwriter Hollie Fullbrook (aka TINY RUINS); journalist and media critic for The New Yorker Ken Auletta whose books include Googled: The End of the World as We Know It; multi-award-winning New Zealand poet and art historian Gregory O’Brien; much-loved Australian food writer Stephanie Alexander;  globally renowned Kiwi visual artist and writer Grahame Sydney; Australian National Living Treasure Tim Winton; British investigative journalist Nick Davies, responsible for uncovering the News of the World phone hacking affair; New Zealand’s favourite satirical writer Steve Braunias;  multi-award winning novelist David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks);  Booker Prize winning novelist and poet Ben Okri; England’s insatiable scientist Philip Ball who has written on just about everything – from how music works to his most recent book: Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler; Australia’s biggest-selling non-fiction writer Peter FitzSimons; critically acclaimed novelist Helen Garner whose most recent novel is The House of Grief; The Good Women of China writer Xinran who will talk about her latest work Buy Me The Sky;  multi-award winning New Zealand novelist Witi Ihimaeraglobally-celebrated British author of Alex Rider fame, Anthony Horowitz; New Zealand playwright Fiona Samuel and New York’s most irresistible literary critic Daniel Mendelsohn.”

– lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Full program available here.

Tickets can still be purchased at Ticketmaster


Learn to write with William S Burroughs

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about finding interviews from famous authors on writing and storing them in one, easily accessible place. Well, this week the wonderful Cory Doctorow posted an article on Boing Boing that included the youtube recordings of a series of lectures on creative writing (or reading) delivered by William S Burroughs.

In 1979, William S Burroughs delivered a series of lectures on creative writing (though he insisted that he was teaching creativereading — that is, analyzing the writing process by reading, because everyone can be taught to read, but only some will be able to write) at Naropa University. Three of these lectures, running to over four hours, are up on Youtube, covering writing exercises, Brion Gysin, Aleister Crowley, science fiction, General Semantics, and cut-ups. These are excellent listening, and are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivs-NonCommerical (as is the rest of the Naropa collection.)

You can read the rest of the article and listen to the recordings, here.