This week on Saturday Morning: Kim catches up with Professor Campbell McLachlan QC to talk through the latest twists and turns in the Brexit saga; New Zealand's own pop royalty Lorde drops by on a trip back home; the acclaimed author of gothic young adult books, Frances Hardinge, previews her visit to the Auckland Writers Festival; the spiritual leader of Tibet's Government-in-exile, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, on the country's battle for a "middle way' with China; writer A.N. Wilson discusses his historical non-fiction blockbusters; Neal Stephenson describes 'postcyberpunk' fiction and his work as a futurist; Nikki Gemmell on the shock of her mother's suicide, which turned out to be a 'death of choice'; and a conversation with giraffe expert and conservationist Dr Julian Fennessy.

 

 

8:10 Professor Campbell McLachlan - Ever-evolving Brexit battles

Campbell McLachlan

Campbell McLachlan Photo: Supplied

Campbell McLachlan, QC, is professor of Law at Victoria University, teaching international law and dispute settlement. He is author of Foreign Relations Law - the first modern study of this field in relation to the UK and the Commonwealth, and  was the only living author whose book was cited (with approval) by the majority in the judgment of the UK Supreme Court on Brexit in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union in January.  Prof. McLachlan talks to Kim about a week that has seen a war of words escalate between the Conservative Government of Theresa May and the European Union over the conditions of their ‘divorce’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:30 Lorde - Our Lady of Takapuna

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Ella Yelich-O'Connor - or known more famously to a worldwide audience as Lorde - shot to fame with her hit single 'Royals' in 2013 and has not stopped topping music charts ever since. Signed to the Universal record label shortly after winning the Belmont Intermediate talent competition in 2009, Lorde moved onto a creative partnership with the former lead singer of Goodnight Nurse, Joel Little, releasing the Love Club EP on SoundCloud in November 2012. 'Royals' was spun off as a single in the summer of 2013 and soon thereafter topped charts in the US, UK, Canada, and Italy, and reached the Top 10 in most other Western countries. Her full-length debut, Pure Heroine, followed in September 2013 and it also became an international smash, earning double-platinum certification in the US, quintuple platinum certification in New Zealand, and going gold in the UK. Further singles followed -'Tennis Court' and 'Team' - the latter of which turned into a Top 10 hit in the US. Her next outing was the song 'Yellow Flicker Beat', from the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Now working with US producers Jack Antonoff and Frank Dukes, she's released two singles, 'Green Light' and 'Liability', from her upcoming album, Melodrama, due out on June 16.

 

 

9:06 Frances Hardinge - The Lie Tree and dark stories for young readers

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Photo: Supplied

Frances Hardinge spent a large part of her childhood in a huge, old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. A few years later, a persistent friend persuaded her to send a few chapters of Fly By Night, her first children's novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to huge critical acclaim and won the Branford Boase First Novel Award. Hardinge has since written many highly acclaimed children's novels including Fly By Night's sequel, Twilight Robbery, as well as the Carnegie shortlisted Cuckoo Song. She was the first children's author in 14 years to win the Costa Book of the Year in 2015 with The Lie Tree. Frances Hardinge will be appearing at the Auckland Writers Festival on May 20 and 21..

 

 

 

 

 

9:30 Dr Lobsang Sangay - Leader of a government-in-exile

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Photo: Supplied

Dr Lobsang Sangay was born and grew up in a Tibetan settlement near Darjeeling. He was a Fullbright Scholar, obtaining a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D) from Harvard Law School - the first Tibetan to ever do so. A scholar of conflict resolution, he has organised seven major conferences among Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Western scholars including two unprecedented meetings between the Dalai Lama and Chinese scholars in 2003 and 2009 at Harvard University. Chief executive of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile since 2011, Dr Sangay became Tibet's highest leader (Sikyong) at the request of the Dalai Lama - and was re-elected as Sikyong for a second term in 2016. Dr Sangay has been in New Zealand to give public talks about the state of relations between China and Tibet to audiences in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

 

 

10:04 A.N. Wilson - Cook's boy; Darwin's mistake 

Photo: Supplied

Andrew Norman Wilson is a biographer, novelist, journalist and essayist. Initially drawn to the teaching profession and priesthood, Wilson published his first novel, The Sweets of Pimlico, in 1977. Since then, he's published over 50 works of fiction and nonfiction, across subjects ranging from the Bible to Queen Elizabeth II and Iris Murdoch. The television drama Victoria was based on his biography of the monarch, and recent work includes the novel Resolution, and a biography of Charles Darwin. He is a regular voice on BBC radio, and a columnist across many titles, including the Daily Mail, Telegraph, the Times Literary Supplement, and The Spectator. A.N. Wilson will be in New Zealand for the Auckland Writers Festival, featuring at events from May 19-21, and prior to that at the WORD Christchurch Autumn Season, May 15th. 

 

 

 

 

10:35 Neal Stephenson - Postcyberpunk author and futurist

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Neal Stephenson is an American writer, known for his fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about science, technology, and culture. In the past he has worked part-time at Blue Origin and Intellectual Ventures Labs; he's currently Magic Leap's Chief Futurist. His new work, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O (co-written with Nicole Galland) will be published in June. Various screen adaptations of his books are in the works including a film project based on his most well-known novel Seveneves. Neal Stephenson has joined the line-up for this year's Techweek'17, and will be keynote speaker at Future Realities, a mixed reality and IoT (internet of Things) conference, in Wellington on May 10. Stephenson is also visiting New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Film Commission's GPS 2026 Project, which aims to spark discussion about the future of the screen industry.

 

 

 

11:04 Nikki Gemmell - After the death of Elayn

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Photo: Kathy Luu

Nikki Gemmell is the best-selling author of 13 novels, including the international bestseller, The Bride Stripped Bare, and four works of non-fiction, as well as several children's books. Her books have been translated in 22 languages. Her new book, After, examines the author's response to the death of her mother, Elayn, in 2015; ostensibly a suicide, it comes to be understood by her daughter as her mother's 'death of choice' after many years of debilitating pain following foot surgery. The book has renewed calls for the legalisation of euthanasia in Australia. Gemmell is also a columnist for The Australian newspaper and a frequent media commentator.

 

 

 

 

 

11:35 Dr Julian Fennessy - Sticking your neck out for giraffes

Australians Dr Julian Fennessy and his wife Stephanie are co-founders and directors of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) - the only NGO that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe throughout Africa. The pair, along with their two children, are based in Namibia from where the GCF conducts its work, including extensive research based on fitting wild giraffe with GPS tracking collars to understand behaviour and threats to the species. The work is considered urgent by many in conservation, with numbers of giraffe plummeting by over 40 per cent in the last two decades, and the animal having gone extinct in at least seven African countries. Julian and Stephanie Fennessy will be in Auckland for a free event, hosted by the Auckland Zoo, at the Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium  on May 13, where they will present a screening of a David Attenborough-narrated documentary, Giraffes - Africa's Gentle Giants, about their Foundation's work.

 

 

Books mentioned in this episode

 

The Lie Tree (and others) 

Frances Hardinge 

 

The Victorians

Resolution  (and others) 

A.N. Wilson

 

Seveneves

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O  (and others) 

Neal Stephenson

 

After

Nikki Gemmell

HarperCollins

ISBN: 9781460753057

 

 

 

Music played in this show

Artist: Lorde
Song: Liability
Composer: Lorde
Album: Melodrama
Label: Republic Records
Played at: 8:30

Artist: Lorde
Song: Green Light
Composer: Lorde
Album: Melodrama
Label: Republic Records
Played at: 11.30