With the Auckland and Dunedin Writers & Readers Festivals both happening this month in New Zealand, as well as an autumn season of special WORD Christchurch events, and a number of Murder in the Library events spread all across the country, May is quite the month of booklovers.
Readers have the chance to see more than 35 crime writers, ranging from international superstars like Ian Rankin to a huge range of local writers, at events nationwide. It's like May 2017 has become an unofficial 'Crime Writing Month' here in New Zealand - not that I'm complaining.
As well as posting about or sharing all the various events individually here on Crime Watch and across social media, I thought I'd collate a bit of a May diary or calendar for you all here, so you can get an overview of what's on offer, no matter where you are in New Zealand (or look on jealously from afar if like me you're a booklover who's not blessed enough to currently be in Aotearoa).
We might as well go chronologically, eh? Why not, let's dive in...
Tuesday 2 May - Murder in the Library - Lower Hutt
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards entrants Cat Connor, TA MacLagan, and LJ Ritchie discuss how they create memorable characters, craft page-turning plotlines, and infuse their exciting storytelling with real-life issues. Steph Soper of the New Zealand Book Council will umpire. FREE EVENT, War Memorial Library, 6.15pm. More details here.
Saturday 6 May - The Student Body - Henderson
Simon Wyatt is a former police detective whose debut novel has scored highly on Goodreads.com and has been nominated for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel and Best Crime Novel. Join for a cuppa and ask Simon the questions you have always wanted to ask a serious crime author in the know. FREE EVENT, JT Diamond Room, Waitakere Central Library, 3 Ratanui Street, 11am.
Wednesday 10 May - Psst! Looking for a Writing Group? - Dunedin
Dunedin crime writers Paddy Richardson and Jane Woodham join fellow Dunedin writers group members to offer tips on living the writerly life, as well as launching a new website and radio series, and outlining their plan for a network of vibrant writing groups throughout Otago. FREE EVENT, Dunedin City Library, 12pm. More details here.
Friday 12 May - Stella Duffy Workshop (3hrs) - Dunedin
Novelist, theatre-maker and short story writer Stella Duffy has worked in theatre since the early 1980s. She uses theatre, improvisation and devising techniques to help writers overcome blocks, develop storylines and characters, and generally find the fun in their writing. $50, Clarkson Room, Regent Theatre, 9.30am-12.30pm. Buy tickets here.
Saturday 13 May - Stella Duffy - Dunedin
Stella Duffy’s a non-stop creative whirlwind: 15 novels, over 60 short stories, 11 plays, and winning a swag of awards. She’s also a theatre director and the co-director of Fun Palaces. Stella grew up in Tokoroa, studied in Wellington, and has lived in London for 30 years. She’ll chat about her diverse doings with Paddy Richardson. $12-22, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 10.15am. Buy tickets here.
Saturday 13 May - Crime Time - Dunedin
Ian Rankin gave us the magnficently misanthropic John Rebus; Stella Duffy was recently tasked with inhabiting the skin of Ngaio Marsh’s famous gentleman detective Roderick Alleyn to complete one of the author’s unfinished novels; and M.J. Carter has anchored her historical crime novels around Victorian odd couple Blake and Avery. They’ll discuss detectives and other dark matters with local crime writer Vanda Symon. $12-22, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 3pm. Buy tickets here.
Saturday 13 May - Ian Rankin - Dunedin
When Ian Rankin wrote Detective Sergeant John Rebus into life in Knots and Crosses in 1987, he didn’t expect him to grouch his way into the public’s heart and become one of crime ction’s most beloved characters. Ian will talk about his latest bestselling Rebus novel, Rather Be The Devil, and life at the top of one of fiction’s most popular genres, with fellow Scotsman and crime writer, Professor Liam McIlvanney. $18-25, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, 6.45pm. Buy tickets here.
Sunday 14 May - Hannah Kent - Dunedin
Australian author Hannah Kent's bestselling debut Burial Rites examines the story of a servant in Iceland condemned to death following the murder of two men. It won several awards and has been translated into 28 languages. Majella Cullinane will seek to find out what draws Hannah to the darker pockets of historical fiction. $12-22, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 10.15am. Buy tickets here.
Sunday 14 May - Ian Rankin: Writing Rebus - Christchurch
Rankin's crime novels have gained global acclaim and made him an international bestseller. WORD CHRISTCHURCH are thrilled to bring one of the world’s most popular and well-respected crime writers to their city to talk about his work and passions with Christchurch coroner Marcus Elliott. $20 (free with season pass), Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret's College, 6pm. Buy tickets here.
Monday 15 May - Stella Duffy: In Dame Ngaio's Footsteps - Christchurch
Stella Duffy is completing Dame Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel Money in the Morgue. She will talk with writer and editor Liz Grant about her latest books, crime novel The Hidden Room and historical novel London Lies Beneath, as well as her creative life and pursuit of one of the original Queens of Crime. $20 (free with season pass), Philip Carter Family Concert Hall, 5.30pm. Buy tickets here.
Friday 19 May - Master of Mystery: Paul Cleave - Auckland
In 2006 The Cleaner spectacularly launched the career of Christchurch crime writer Paul Cleave. Another eight thrillers set in Cleave’s hometown have followed, translated into 17 languages. The latest, Trust No One, won Cleave his third Ngaio Marsh Award. He's in conversation with Wallace Chapman. $12.50-$25, Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Centre, 1pm. Buy tickets here.
Friday 19 May - An Evening with Ian Rankin - Auckland
Rankin’s work encompasses not only Tartan Noir, but short stories, a graphic novel and a play. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, the Grand Prix du Roman Noir (France), and the Deutscher Krimi Prize (Germany). He is in conversation with Mark Sainsbury. $20-40, ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, 7pm. Buy tickets here.
Saturday 20 May - The Lie Tree: Frances Hardinge - Auckland
The Lie Tree is a rarity – a children’s book that won the Costa Book of the Year. Frances Hardinge positions her seventh novel as “a Victorian Gothic mystery with added paleontology, blasting powder, post-mortem photography and feminism.” Join Hardinge in conversation with Kate De Goldi for a journey to the darker side of story-telling. FREE EVENT, Upper NZI Room, Aotea Centre, 12pm. More details here.
Saturday 20 May - Incidents Unlawful - Auckland
Criminal activity has long captured the imagination of readers. Novelists Jonothan Cullinane, Kelly Ana Morey and Fiona Sussman join forces with crime fiction and serial killer academic David Schmid in 10-minute readings. Introduced by Kirby-Jane Hallum. FREE EVENT, Limelight Room, Aotea Centre, 4.30pm. More details here.
Saturday 20 May - A House of Many Rooms - Auckland
The Hidden Room is a psychological thriller, and the latest novel from Stella Duffy, who is also a playwright, theatremaker and performer, and the recipient of two Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards for her short stories. Duffy talks about her work, including writing an Inspector Alleyn whodunnit based on an unfinished Ngaio Marsh manuscript. She speaks with Carole Beu. $12.50-$20, Lower NZI Room, Aotea Centre, 6pm. Buy tickets here.
Sunday 21 May - Art Crimes - Auckland
Homegrown art crime is the subject of Penelope Jackson’s book Art Thieves, Fakes and Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story. Documenting over 100 years of bad behaviour – from a nicked nude to an international court battle that saw works taken during WWII repatriated to Italy – Jackson exposes the underbelly of the arty kind. $12.50-$20, Art Gallery Auditorium, 10.15am. Buy tickets here.
Sunday 21 May - The Art of Crime Fiction - Auckland
Miranda Carter, Paul Cleave, Ian Rankin and academic and author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture David Schmid chronicle the history of the crime novel, and sort the turkeys from the humdingers. FREE EVENT, Upper NZI Room, Aotea Centre, 10.30am. More details here.
Sunday 21 May - Natural Born Celebrities - Auckland
Over the past thirty years the figure of the serial killer, luridly transgressive and horrific as he or she is, has become endemic in pop culture. Academic and crime literature expert David Schmid argues that the figure of the serial killer is essential to the American psyche. Join him in an exploration of violence. $12.50-$20, Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Centre, 4.30pm. Buy tickets here.
Wednesday 24 May - Murder in the Library - Otahuhu
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards contenders Ian Austin, Angus Gillies, Sidney Mazzi and Fiona Sussman will talk about what inspired them to write tales full of crime, and how they create memorable characters and bring the world of their novels to vibrant life. FREE EVENT, Otahuhu Library, 28-30 Mason Avenue, 6.15pm. More details here.
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards contenders Jonothan Cullinane, Katherine Dewar, and Simon Wyatt discuss what drew them to crime writing, how they craft authentic characters and narrative tension, and the impact of setting on tales of crime and mystery. Coast FM book reviewer and Ngaio Marsh Awards judge Stephanie Jones will play referee and prosecute the offenders. FREE EVENT, Waitakere Central Library, 6.15pm. More details here.
Friday 26 May - Murder in the Library - Lower Hutt
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards entrants Brannavan Gnanalingam, Danyl McLauchlan, and Geoff Palmer are joined by 2016 longlistee Trish McCormack to discuss how they create memorable characters, craft page-turning plotlines, and infuse their exciting storytelling with real-life issues. Steph Soper will prosecute the offenders. FREE EVENT, War Memorial Library, 6.15pm. More details here.
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards entrants Penelope Haines and Christopher Abbey are joined by David McGill to discuss where their writing inspiration comes from, how they create interesting characters, craft page-turning storylines, and infuse their tales with real-life issues. FREE EVENT, Paraparaumu Library, 9 Iver Trask Place, 6.30pm. More details here.
Tuesday 30 May - Murder in the Library - Christchurch
2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards entrants Katherine Hayton and Mark McGinn are joined by 2016 Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist Tanya Moir and 2016 Best First Novel winner Ray Berard. The foursome will discuss what drew them to crime writing, how they craft memorable characters and page-turning stories, and the impact of our New Zealand setting on tales of crime and mystery. FREE EVENT but RSVP required, South Library, 6.30pm. More details here.
Wednesday 31 May - MARLBOROUGH MAN Book Launch - Nelson
Ned Kelly Award-winning crime writer Alan Carter, who now lives in Havelock in the Top of the South, will launch his first New Zealand-set crime novel, MARLBOROUGH MAN. Carter is an outstanding crime and thriller writer, come and meet him, hear him read, and take home a signed copy of his book! FREE EVENT, Volume bookshop, 15 Church Street, 6pm. More details here.