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This week, a band of volunteers at Karori Cemetary clear the graves and scrub the headstones of the victims of the 1918 Flu Influennza.  A new survey confirms that New Zealand writers are finding it harder than ever to make a full-time living from their pens, a new play by Fran Kewene looks at domestic violence, from the point of view of the perpetrators, and UK cartoonist and satirist David Shrigley looks at life after Brexit and Donald Trump.

Today's Laugh Track features Writes for women's Kerryn Palmer and Tanea Heke, and we meet 14-year-old WOMAD veteran McKenzie Jennings-Gruar.   Novelist Elspeth Sandys talks about her own Obsession, and a new exhibition remembers fashion awards from another age - the famous Benson & Hedges.  All this and an afternoon of songs about "old men"...

12:16 Remembering The Victims Of The 1918 Influenza Epidemic

The devastating influenza epidemic of 1918 killed more than 8,600 New Zealanders, including many soldiers who'd survived the First World War. The graves of hundreds of influenza victims are scattered throughout the country's second-largest cemetary at Karori in Wellington -most of them forgotten and overgrown.  But now, on the last Sunday of the month, a band of volunteers can be found digging, weeding and scrubbing the headstones of those who died during the epidemic. The project is part of next year's centenary of the end of the First World War, and Lynn Freeman joined project co-ordinator Barbara Mulligan and some of her keen volunteers at the Karori cemetary:

12:41 Making a Living From Your Pen 

Ashleigh Young, Paula Browning and Kyle Mewburn.

Ashleigh Young, Paula Browning and Kyle Mewburn. Photo: Supplied

It'll come as no surprise to New Zealand authors that it's not easy making a living.  But it's also getting harder.  Very few can make writing a fulltime career, it's harder than ever to find publishers, and one in five writers have had their copyright infringed. These are among the findings in The Horizon Research report, commissioned by Copyright Licensing N.Z. in conjunction with the New Zealand Society of Authors,  Writer's Guild and Playmarket.

400 writers contributed to the report, representing fiction, non-fiction, journalists, screenwriters and playwrights. Lynn Freeman talks to the President of the NZ Society of Authors, Kyle Mewburn, Paula Browning, Chief Executive at Copyright Licensing NZ, and poet and essayist Ashleigh Young, who hit the headlines for winning an international award, though her day-job is still as an editor at Victoria University Press.

1:10 At The Movies

This week Simon Morris talks to writer-director Tusi Tamasese about his new film One Thousand Ropes, and reviews the movies Logan and Alone In Berlin.

1:35 Can A Play Heal Family Violence?

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Fran Kewene and cast Photo: supplied

It's not often a play carries an R16 classification - but that's the case for a new show based on the experiences of people from violent relationships. Stories to Heal Violence is a verbatim performance, taken word for word from programmes for men and women seeking help after hurting others. Fran Kewene has written the play in collaboration with the charity Stopping Violence Dunedin.  Lynn Freeman talks to Fran and to Tarn Felton from Stopping Violence Dunedin.

Stories to Heal Violence opens this Thursday at Athenaeum in Dunedin as part of the city's Fringe Festival. 

1:49 British Artist David Shrigley's Thumbs-Up to Nelson's Column

British artist David Shrigley's ten-metre-high bronze sculpture of a 'thumbs up' is now the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. David is also a cartoonist for The Guardian newspaper, a music video producer and photographer, among many other things. CoCA Gallery in Christchurch is hosting his first solo New Zealand exhibition - David Shrigley: Lose Your Mind.

Lynn Freeman asked David Shrigley first about Really Good - the giant thumbs up.  Is it ironic, given these unsettled times, or does he just want it to cheer people up?

2:06 The Laugh Track - Director Kerryn Palmer and Actor Tanea Heke

Writes For Women

Writes For Women Photo: supplied

Kerryn and Tanea are part of the Writes For Women show at Wellington's Bats Theatre.  Their picks include Sarah Millican, Auntie Pania and Jason Momoa, Urzila Karlson, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House and the Topp Twins.

2:26 Seasoned Womad Journalist McKenzie Jennings-Gruar - And She's Just 14

Welsh band 9Bach is one of the acts lined up to be interviewed next weekend by veteran Womad Music festival journalist, McKenzie Jennings-Gruar.  McKenzie is 14 years old!  She and her journalist father Tim Gruar have faithfully covered Womad for the past few years, recording interviews with the acts and taking photographs of the on and off stage action.  Lynn Freeman talks to McKenzie and Tim about Womad 2017, which starts on Friday March 17 in New Plymouth.

2:40 Novelist Elspeth Sandys' Magnificent Obsession

Elspeth Sandys

Elspeth Sandys Photo: supplied

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Photo: supplied

Writer Elspeth Sandys offers us an view of a writer's life in her ninth novel, Obsession. The title refers to both several intense relationships in the book, and also the obsession that goes into writing for a living.

Elspeth is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer and playwright who has written extensively for the BBC and RNZ.  Elspeth lives in Wellington but returns regularly to the UK where she lived for 25 years. She talks to Lynn Freeman about her career and about the challenges of her new novel. Obsession is published by Upstart Press.

2:50 The Benson & Hedges Fashion Awards

The Benson & Hedges Fashion Awards were huge back in the 60s and 70s, before they were renamed when tobacco sponsorship went out of fashion itself.  The Awards were huge, televised and very influential.  Lucy Hammonds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery has co curated When Dreams Turn to Gold with Dr Natalie Smith - four decades of the Benson & Hedges.  She recalls her own memories of the Fashion Awards with Lynn Freeman.  When Dreams Turn to Gold opens at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on March 18.

3:06 Drama at 3 - The Collective by Jean Betts

A dramatisation of new theories of the authorship of Bertolt Brecht’s famous plays, and his exploitative and deceitful relationships with the writers (mostly women) responsible.


Music played in this show

Artist: The Beatles
Song: Mean Mr Mustard
Composer: Lennon-McCartney
Album: Abbey Road
Label: Parlophone
Played at: 12.12

Artist: Love
Song: The Old Man
Composer: McLean
Album: Forever Changes
Label: Elektra
Played at: 12.36

Artist: Manhattan Transfer
Song: Ole Man Mose
Composer: Armstrong
Album: The Spirit of St Louis
Label: Atlantic
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Tori Amos
Song: This Old Man
Composer: Amos
Album: Caught A Light Sneeze
Label: Eastwest
Played at: 1.10

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Song: My Old Man
Composer: Mitchell
Album: Blue
Label: Reprise
Played at: 1.45

Artist: Old Man River
Song: Norway (I Like It Like This)
Composer: Rein
Album: Trust
Label: EMI
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Lonnie Donegan
Song: My Old Man's A Dustman
Composer: Buchanan-Donnegan
Album: King of Skiffle
Label: Castle
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Ruth Brown
Song: Ole Man River
Composer: Kern-Hammerstein
Album: Ruth Brown
Label: Collectibles
Played at: 2.38

Artist: Three Degrees
Song: Dirty Ol' Man
Composer: Gamble-Huff
Album: The Best Of
Label: Epic
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Lips
Song: Standing Like An Old Man
Composer: Brown
Album:Ghosts and Demons
Label: Private
Played at: 3.58