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12:16  "New Normal" Literary Festivals

Rachael King

Rachael King Photo: supplied

Claire Mabey

Claire Mabey Photo: supplied


Literary Festivals are back - but not as we knew them.

The pandemic hasn't put a stop to traditionally popular writers festivals with three happening in the next few weeks - in Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington.

But a big line up of international guests just can't happen, and these were often the main drawcard for book lovers.

Maybe that means local writers, who can struggle for cut through in a Festival programme, will be able to get more attention.

Lynn Freeman speaks with Word Christchurch Writers Festival director Rachael King - it opens on 28 October - and with Claire Mabey who runs Verb Wellington, which opens the following week.

The literary programme of the Nelson Arts Festival is called Pukapuka Talks.  The first literary event is on Tuesday October 20, and the final is on Wednesday October 28.


12:30  Dame Jacqueline Wilson - 5 kids and It 

A movie based on a recent book that's based on another book from 1902 - that's the backstory of the new film Four Kids and It.

E. Nesbit's original novel Five Children and It is the story of an Edwardian family that comes across an ancient magical creature called Psammead with the ability to grant wishes that last for a day.

British writer Dame Jacqueline Wilson was inspired to write Four  Kids and It 110 years later, in 2012.   She gave the story a contemporary spin, with children from a newly blended family coming across Psammead and wishing to time travel.

Now Four kids and It is a movie, with the magical creature voiced by Sir Michael Caine, while comedian Russell Brand plays the arch villain. 

Lynn Freeman spoke to Dame Jacqueline, locked down in the UK, and asked if E. Nesbit's books like The Railway Children and Five Children and It were childhood favourites:

The movie Four Kids and It opens around the country on 24 September.




12:42  Cartoonist and illustrator Shaun Yeo

Cartoonist Shaun Yeo caught the nation's attention when his drawing of a crying kiwi in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks went viral.

He's now producing daily cartoons for the Otago Daily Times and in his spare time, he's been working on two childrens' books.

Pigs in Sheds is a Kiwi retelling of "The Three Little Pigs" that Shaun produced with Peter Millet.  They'd previously worked together on The ANZAC Biscuit Man.

And Midmost Marvin that Shaun created with Callan Goodall is about a young skateboarder desperate to win the heart of Millie by attempting a dangerous stunt.

Lynn Freeman asked Shaun Yeo if he found it easy to come up with his cartoon style.

Midmost Marvin and Pigs in Sheds are both published by Bateman Books.

1:10 At The Movies

School Life

School Life Photo: supplied by distributor

This week Simon Morris reviews Cut Throat City, School life (La Vie Scolaire) and The Quarry


1:31  Hole puts the Antarctic ozone layer on stage

The discovery of the growing hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica provided plenty of worrying headlines in the 1980s.   But in a rare example of international co-operation, action was successfully taken to reduce it.

In the second of a series of plays set in Antarctica, Hole, playwright - and former RNZ presenter - Lynda Chanwai-Earle brings together three very different characters onto the ice in 1985 - a New Zealand scientist, a Navy SEAL from American Samoa and a Greenpeace activist.

Hole is still in development, and like its predecessor, Heat, it uses green-powered energy like solar power so it can be presented off-grid.

Lynn Freeman talks with Lynda and the director of Hole Professor David O'Donnell.  The play has its development season at Wellington's Circa Theatre starting on the 22nd of September.

1:45 Katy Cottrell and the art of furniture marquetry

Reclaiming and decorating discarded wooden furniture is one of the skills of artist, graphic designer and teacher Katy Cottrell.

The technique called "marquetry".

In her latest exhibition Furniture Memoirs, Katy's given a battered antique mahogany chair and coffee table a new lease on life, and at the same time she's exploring untold and forgotten stories of trees used in the production of domestic furniture.

Lynn Freeman asks Katy Cottrell what's involved in marquetry.

Furniture Memoirs is on now at Toi Poneke in Wellington.  


2:06 The Laugh Track - Wade Jackson

When it comes to comedy, the pendulum tends to swing between two groups - writers and performers.   Some years it's all about the script - sitcoms, movies, smart TV satirical shows.  Other times it's all about the performers, thinking fast on their feet with nothing but their wits to rely on.

That's certainly the appeal of improvised comedy - watching brilliant performers make it up as they go along.

Today's Laugh Track guest is one of the prime movers of the improv scene in New Zealand since the Nineties.  Wade Jackson is the founder and Artistic Director of New Zealand's only full-time improvised comedy theatre - the Covert Theatre.  This year Covert celebrates the opening of a brand-new, 86-seat theatre in Ponsonby, Auckland.

2:25 Crime novelist Chris Stuart latest thriller For reasons of their own

Chris Stuart

Chris Stuart Photo: supplied by publisher

No caption

Photo: supplied by publisher

Being a Kiwi police detective - and a lesbian - in the Australian force is tough enough for Detective Inspector Robbie Gray in Chris Stuart's crime novel, For Reasons of Their Own.

But Robbie is now in trouble when a previous drug-related investigation casts suspicion on her and her team.

Author Chris Stuart is back in New Zealand after living in Melbourne for many years.

For this novel, she tells Lynn Freeman, Chris drew on her time working in humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross, Oxfam and particularly with Aboriginal communities in outback Australia.

For Reasons of Their Own by Chris Stuart is published by Original Sin Press.


2:40  Chloe Lane tackles many daughters' dilemma

Chloe Lane

Chloe Lane Photo: supplied by publisher

In her novel The Swimmers, Chloe Lane imagines a daughter's dilemma when her chronically ill mother wants to end her life.

It sounds almost too timely, but Chloe started working on the book before the current End of Life referendum.  She doesn't want it to be seen as backing one side or the other.  Ultimately The swimmers is a story about love, not death.

In it, Erin as an adult is looking back to when she was 26, the year her mother's motor neurone disease became unbearable.

Chloe Lane talks with Lynn Freeman, and first reads an excerpt from The Swimmers.

VUP has published Chloe Lane's novel The Swimmers.

2:49 Yannick Bisson, star and director of TV series The Murdoch Mysteries

Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch

Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch Photo: supplied

It seems the most saleable TV series around the world is the good, old-fashioned murder mystery.   Britain has Midsomer Murders, we have The Brokenwood Mysteries, Australia has Miss Fisher, and Canada has the hugely popular The Murdoch Mysteries, starring Yannick Bisson.

The Murdoch Mysteries has just started filming its 14th series.  And this time Yannick not only plays Detective William Murdoch, but also occasionally takes on the role of director.

The show's as much a costume drama as a whodunnit.   Set in Toronto, it began in the last years of the 19th century and has now moved into the early part of the 20th century.

Lynn Freeman talked with Yannick Bisson shortly after he got the first two episodes of series 14 in the can.

Seasons 1 to 6 of The Murdoch Mysteries are currently showing here on Acorn TV.


3:06 Drama at 3 - Cherish by Ken Duncum

A paternity drama in which two gay couples wrangle over who their new baby will live with. Where your own flesh and blood is concerned, people are prepared to be ruthless. When this family conflict spills over, it has an unexpected effect,changing the characters lives forever.  

Ken Duncum’s play Cherish was adapted for radio by Michele Amas, and stars Michele with Danielle Mason, Stephen Butterworth, Bruce Phillips and Nina & Bruno Smith.  Engineered by Phil Benge and directed by Duncan Smith.

Music played in this show

Artist: Bobby Freeman
Song: Come on and swim
Composer: Freeman
Album: Land of 1000 dances
Label: ACE
Played at: 12.12

Artist: Loudon Wainwright III
Song: The swimming song
Composer:  Wainwright
Album: Career moves
Label: Virgin
Played at: 12.27

Artist: The King's Singers
Song: Swimming over London
Composer: Bennett-Chilcott
Album: Swimming over London
Label: Signum
Played at: 12.40

Artist: REM
Song: Nightswimming
Composer: Berry-Buck
Album: Automatic for the people
Label: Warner
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Phil Tilbury
Song: Swimming the Clutha
Composer: Tilbury
Album: Swimming the Clutha
Label: Kiwi
Played at: 1.07

Artist: Florence + the Machine
Song: Swimming
Composer: Welch-James
Album: Lungs
Label: Island
Played at: 1.42

Artist: Martha Tilston
Song: Wild swimming
Composer: Tilston
Album: Lucy and the Wolves
Label: Longtime Listener
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Tony Perkins
Song: Midnight swim
Composer: Dee-Weisman
Album: The prettiest girl in school
Label: Cherryred
Played at: 2.04

Artist: 10cc
Song: Channel swimmer
Composer: Gouldman-Godley
Album: Original Soundtrack
Label: Mercury
Played at: 2.34

Artist: Friendly Fires
Song: Jump into the pool
Composer: Friendly Fires
Album: Friendly Fires
Label: XL
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Frank Ocean
Song: Swim good
Composer: Ocean-Mafia
Album: Chillout Sessions 154
Label: Ministry of Sound
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Song: Swim until you can't see land
Composer: Frightened Rabbit
Album: Now Hear This 85
Label: Word
Played at: 3.58