Author: Vic Books

LitCrawl 2015

Well, it’s all over now. After a successful weekend that saw a literary injection straight to the heart of the city, it is all over. It was their second run, and it just keeps improving. But the good news is that LitCrawl have already booked in for 2016. So put it in your diaries: Friday the 11th, Saturday the 12th, and Sunday the 13th of November.

We were honoured to be the designated booksellers for the event, as well as a contributing sponsor. It’s an event that is important, but has very little capital. So it was great to be able to do our bit for what is becoming an annual Wellington literary staple.

Between four of us, we managed to get to a wide range of events, and we were able to soak up the poetry and plays and thoughtful talks that were being poured all over the city.Along with the crowds, we roamed, ranged, and rushed all over town to the events. From The Young gallery on Hawker St, to the City Art Gallery, Hashigo Zake, Meow, Wellington Chocolate Factory, Six Barrel Soda CO., 17 Tory Street, and the Paramount theatre – we were everywhere, and so was everyone else.

Several events were full to the brim, and people were finding spaces where there wasn’t any. Volunteers collected the koha donation, and the speakers commanded the audience. And we were busy creating and dismantling mini bookshops to represent the writers and performers at each venue. There was also a LitCrawl Zine by Foodcourt, which we took with us to every event.



After the final events finished, everyone found their way back to the Paramount, for the after party. It was an opportunity to trade stories about your night, and to hear about events you couldn’t attend.

It was a heady night; the magic of the event was the oxygen in the room, and everyone was completely lit up. We had a stall there stacked high with everyone’s books. With a wine or beer in hand, those who had been audience became customers and friends; they approached excited to find a book by an author they had just discovered, or one they had been wanting to read. As the drinks kept flowing, so too did the book sales, and the clock hit 1 am.

Luke was a trooper and at it again on Sunday afternoon for the Tell You What Launch, which saw a quiet beer in the afternoon nursing everyone’s hangovers, as they listened to writers read.

This event is really special, and we are so grateful for all the work that Claire and Andy put into it. There aren’t many people out there with the same drive, passion, and dedication that this dream duo have. These two are invaluable to the landscape of the Wellington literary scene.

Thank you, Claire and Andy.

Nga Mihi Nui

Na Vic Books

Looking Forward: LitCrawl 2015


When LitCrawl arrived on the scene last year, it was the first of its kind in Wellington. This, unfortunately, made it a little hard to explain. Vic Books was (and is still) one of the sponsors and the booksellers. We told people that it was “like a pub crawl, but with books and authors”. To be honest, we didn’t really know what to expect, but we knew it would be memorable. It turned out we weren’t too far wrong. People picked and followed their path for the night, they heard from authors, visited different bars and venues, and by the end of the night, people were overflowing with bookish enthusiasm. It was infectious.

Coming into its second run, the organisers, Claire Mabey and Andrew Laking have been working hard to smooth things out and to build on the buzz that last years event generated. The line-up is full of excellent writers and authors and publishers; it’s going to be as good, if not better, than last year.

So put it in your diary: 14th November 6:00 pm

There are three 45 minute time slots. Each time slot has 5 different events on offer. So that’s 15 to choose from, but only 3 you can attend (comfortably, that is, and in their entirety).

But don’t let that deter you; you’ll meet people along the way, and you’ll be able to swap stories and make it seem like you got to them all. There is also an after party; Vic Books will be selling books, Food Court has put together a special LitCrawl zine, and they’ve even made bold promises to play talking heads. What could be better? The after party is in the Paramount theatre foyer, from 9:30.

But how do you decide which ones? Here’s a few that we would recommend:

∇ Fever 6pm Wellington Chocolate Factory, 5 Eva St

Hallucinations, fire in the blood, hot, heady Saturday Night. Come and enter an altered state with writers from the International Institute of Modern Letters: readings and performances will cast a fever dream and raise temperatures.

With dramatists Briar Grace-Smith and Ken Duncum, novelists Emily Perkins and Gigi Fenster, and poets Ashleigh Young and James Brown. It’s going to be sick.

∇ What We Write about When We Write from Prison 7.15pm Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki Street

Arts practitioners who believe creative writing can be a powerful element in change share work by prisoners from Aotearoa and around the world.

Join writers William Brandt and Pip Adam from Form of Expression, novelist Gigi Fenster, theatre makers Kaly Newman and Julia Campbell from Wellington Expressive Arts Collective, which uses a variety of Arts-based activities to encourage personal growth and development, Auckland writer James George and Arts in Corrections Adviser from Arts Access Jacqui Moyes. Hosted by Form of Expression.

∇ LitCrawl Pub Quiz 8.30pm Little Beer Quarter, 6 Edward St

A bit like a pub quiz but with added drink, nibbles and origami, Toby Manhire and Phil Pinner bring their Point-Chevalier-famous inquisition to Wellington, presenting a specially modified LitCrawl version. Gather a team of two to six quizzers and arrive early.

“Best pub quiz in Auckland.” – someone on Twitter

Hosted by Toby Manhire and Phil Pinner, with special guest Emily Perkins.

LitCrawl 2014

Introducing: Kate McIntyre

Name: Kate McIntyre

Role at Vic Books: Bookseller.

The book you are reading right now:  I have about five or six on the go, but right now I’m focusing mostly on reading The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz, which continues Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.

Favourite book of 2015: Being Magdalene by Fleur Beale, which is a sequel to I Am Not Esther and I Am Rebecca. It’s a harrowing read. I cried more than once (though I cry in everything…), but it’s a satisfying conclusion to her trilogy.

Favourite quote of the moment: “What is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” – The final line in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. It works better in context. Those words restored my hope in humanity.

How long have you worked at Vic Books? Just over a month.

What made you want to work in a bookshop? I was born into it. My parents opened their bookstore just months before I was born and it was my second home throughout my childhood. I was serving customers when I was as young as eight years old. But who wants to work for their parents in their twenties? Vic Books adopted me.

Tell us about your first day at Vic Books: I arrived over an hour early and made use of the café. I stayed two hours late as it just happened to be the Vic Book’s anniversary. There was wine. It was good.

What is it about bookshops that you enjoy the most? The books, the vibe, spending time browsing the shelves, big beautiful hardbacks, seeing what’s new, going to book launches and meeting authors.

What are the best parts of working for Vic Books? To be honest, the coffee, followed closely by the books and my co-workers tied in second place.

Favourite moment at Vic Books of 2015: I’ve not been here very long, but the anniversary drinks on my first day was a lovely night where I got to meet lovely people from all our stores.

Introducing: Elisha Minehan


Name: Elisha Minehan

Role at Vic Books: Bookseller   

The book you are reading right now: White Girls by Hilton Als 

Favourite book of 2015: The Chimes by Anna Smaill – rightfully our NZ contender for the booker.

Favourite quote of the moment: From Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost “…when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.”

How long have you worked at Vic Books? 4 Days! 

What made you want to work in a bookshop? A liberal arts degree and a desire to not have a “real job”.

Tell us about your first day at Vic Books: I was lucky enough to get the ball rolling with stock take on my first day. Counting the Vic Books 4 colour pen was a real highlight. And also: Busy!

What is it about bookshops that you enjoy the most? The feeling of being surrounded by ideas.

What are the best parts of working for Vic Books? Coffee! (oh and the books and the people)

Favourite moment at Vic Books of 2015:  … Free Coffee!

Introducing: Baz Macdonald

Name: Baz Macdonald         

Role at Vic Books: Bookseller and Storyteller

The book you are reading right now: Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, which did not, I’m afraid, live up to the hype.

Favourite book of 2015: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

 Favourite quote of the moment: “You’re tearing me apart Lisa!!!” From the cinematic classic The Room, by the pre-eminent Tommy Wiseau.  

 How long have you worked at Vic Books?: 9 months.

What made you want to work in a bookshop?: I enjoy sharing my passions with people, and I am passionate about books. An easy fit.

Tell us about your first day at Vic Books: I showed up for my interview and was asked if I wanted to jump right into the job. I spent the morning on the counters feeling right at home, chatting books and slurping coffee.

What is it about bookshops that you enjoy the most?: As an employee, I love the opportunity it offers to discover new books. Especially discovering books outside of what you would typically explore. As a consumer, I love to talk to booksellers about these discoveries they have made as employees. It’s a big beautiful cycle.

What are the best parts of working for Vic Books?: I adore Saturday morning storytelling. It’s such a pleasure to have families put aside a morning to enjoy books together.

Favourite moment at Vic Books of 2015: The first Saturday morning storytelling was a big stand out. We had a really enthusiastic bunch of kids come and kick off the event just right.

Introducing: Marion Castree

Name: Marion Castree

 Role at Vic Books: Bookseller et al

The book you are reading right now: From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle by the fabulous Kate De Goldi.

 Favourite book of 2015: Panguru and the City by Melissa Matutina Williams.

 Favourite quote of the moment: From the Book ‘Augustus Koch:Map Maker by Rolf W Brednich The map is a silent abiter of power

How long have you worked at Vic Books?  10 months!

What made you want to work in a bookshop? I have been selling books in Aotearoa for decades. Books and people, it’s my education. Vic Books is my latest choice!

 Tell us about your first day at Vic Books: I remember a wonderful warm welcome, a day sharing reading histories, and pawing the books. (And learning the ropes of course, ahem.)

 What is it about bookshops that you enjoy the most? Like many, I spend much more of my awake time at work than anywhere else. It has to be a sustained work life. Bookshops tend to provide an eclectic mix of wonderful people to work with, co-workers and customers. It’s the same with the books. All those books, new and old seem to always require fresh approaches to bookselling. Nothing is ever static. It’s the nature of the trade.

 What are the best parts of working for Vic Books? All of the above plus extramural fun.

 Favourite moment at Vic Books of 2015: Hard to choose really but there was a moment that really shone. We had a wonderful National Poetry Day event starring 11 much loved and acclaimed local poets. One of those times when you know it’s in the walls now.


Introducing: Luke Finnigan

Name: Luke Finnigan

Role at Vic Books:Senior Bookseller and Events Coordinator.

The book you are reading right now: Underworld by Don Delillo 

Favourite book of 2015: The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas

Favourite quote of the moment: Pete Evans: “7am: Two glasses of alkalised water with apple cider vinegar, then a smoothie of blended alkalised water, organic spirulina, activated almonds, maca, blueberries,  stevia, coconut kefir, and two organic, free range eggs.”

How long have you worked at Vic Books? 4.5 years

What made you want to work in a bookshop? I was unemployed. Reading a lot. Everything came together better than expected in the end.

Tell us about your first day at Vic Books. Boss explained to me how I was “peaking too soon”. It was a great day.

What is it about bookshops that you enjoy the most? Its where the books live. Everyone loves books. 

What are the best parts of working for Vic Books? It’s like being a student but without all the loans, assignments, essays, poverty, etc

Favourite moment at Vic Books of 2015: “Meeting” Pete Evans and learning his “Paleo Way”. He is very charismatic.