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

vicbooks’ Facebook Thing. With Prizes. Many Prizes.

We’re merging our cafe and bookshop Facebook pages. It’s a streamlining thing; a commingling, a joining of forces, almost an absorption. We want our books to share the joy of the brew, the demitasse, some joe. Think of it as a syncretic caffeine and literary process which ends with customers quoting Faulkner while mainlining some ‘feind. It’s a little dream of ours…

And prizes. Look at the beautiful prizes:

See how they shine!

So, it’s like this. Next week, on Monday the 8th of October, we will press the self destruct button on the Espresso Bar’s Facebook page. Anyone who ‘likes’ the vicbooks’ Facebook page at that point is in the draw for prizes. We have over 20 books to give away, as well as screeds of coffee vouchers. Lots of books and lots of coffee.

As you were.


* Any winners will need to either pick their prizes up at any of our shops, or arrange with us for them to be posted to them.

Cancelled Event – The Search for Anne Perry book launch is cancelled.

$44.99 in Trade Paperback

Unfortunately the Wellington book launch for The Search for Anne Perry has been cancelled. The word just came through from the publisher – we’re very sorry if you were planning to go , as it would have been a wonderful event. But circumstance has not been kind, leading to the launch and talk’s cancellation.

The book is still available at all good booksellers, ourselves included.

You can still listen to Joanne Drayton on Radio NZ’s podcast of her live interview.

On 22 June 1954, Juliet Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker murdered Pauline’s mother Honora in Christchurch.  Both girls were subsequently charged with murder and tried in a court case that was widely covered by the press in New Zealand, and overseas.

Joanne Drayton

Since Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, public interest in this case, and Juliet Hulme in particular, who is now a highly successful crime writer under the name Anne Perry, has been intense. Perry, until recently, has never wanted to speak about the events of her childhood, but has relented and agreed to in-depth interviews with Joanne Drayton, a NZ scholar and biographer of great acclaim. The resulting book is The Search for Anne Perry.


In 1994, director Peter Jackson released the film Heavenly Creatures, based on a famous 1950s matricide committed in New Zealand by two teenage girls embroiled in an obsessive relationship. This film launched Jackson’s international career. It also forever changed the life of Anne Perry, an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, who at the time of the film’s release was publicly outed as Juliet Hulme, one of the murderers. A new light was now cast, not only on Anne’s life, but also her novels, which feature gruesome and violent deaths, and confronting, dark issues including infanticide and incest. Acclaimed literary biographer, Joanne Drayton, intersperses the story of Anne’s life with an examination of her writing, drawing parallels between Anne’s own experiences and her characters and storylines. Anne’s books deal with miscarriages of justice, family secrets exposed, punishment, redemption and forgiveness, themes made all the more poignant in light of her past. Anne has sold 25 million books worldwide and published in 15 different languages, yet she will now forever be known as a murderer who became a writer of murder stories. Drayton was been given unparalleled access to Anne, her friends, relatives, colleagues and archives to complete the book. The result is a compelling read which provides an understanding of the girl Anne was, the adult she became, her compulsion to write and her view of the world.

Me vs. Poetry

Me vs. Poetry (in two parts): National Poetry Day

Me vs. Poetry I

I always reckoned that, if it came down to it, I could totally take poetry out. I mean, seriously, as much as one can respect poetry’s mind, poise and philosophies, it has to be observed that it wears glasses and is a little weedy. So I figure I’d totally kick its ass. Which, sadly, in a fight or flight kind of way, is a normal response to a thing fundamentally misunderstood. I’ve tried in the past but figured it was one of those things… my wiring or something.

Yet I ventured once more into Poetry’s domain, this time under tutelage and the auspices of National Poetry Day, and have been surprised at the delight of it. I seem to have been talked through the door and into a comfy chair where I’ve found the power of it, a real joy and splendour. I remain baffled, but am suddenly full of curiosity.

Poetry doesn’t box, it does one of those weird martial arts from the elevated, remote mountainous regions of Asia, where Mums and Dads pass on to their children the secret of extracting, using their pinky finger and breathing techniques, someone’s appendix through their elbow. I have a friend who studied a thing called Zen Do Kai – it’s one of those martial arts that takes the most violent parts of other martial arts and, through a process of bricolage and the hot wash cycle, concentrates them into something truly terrifying. This friend of mine, Broad of Shoulder, used to come around and say things like, “Dude, I’ve gotta show you this move, it’s awesome. Try and punch me really hard in the face.” And, after some false starts and argument, I would. Because I’m stupid. The next thing I knew I would be face down on the carpet with his foot on the back of my neck and my right arm at a distinctly uncomfortable angle, wondering what the hell just happened.

Poetry has a result like that.  In that you end up on the ground, staring at the ceiling, wondering how you ended up there. There are two basic forms of martial arts: hard forms and soft forms. Hard forms are all about the application of force, direct, precise and brutal, while soft forms are about the redistribution of the force, its transmutation. The soft form is strangely intimate. Poetry is kind of like that, a soft form. It’s amazing what it can change. It is also preferable to Broad of Shoulder’s process. I mean, staring at the ceiling unexpectedly can be fun but the process of getting there really makes a difference.

So I’ll get back to you about that ass kicking.

Me vs. Poetry II – the fight

The Press Conference:

Poetry: “Getting ready to grumble?”

Me: “What? You’re gonna alliterate me to death? What rhymes with orange, old timer? Answer me that!”

The Weigh In:

Me: “…look you guys know that while I have the utmost respect for Poetry’s record, and obvious amounts of admiration for its abilities, I can’t help but think its time is over. Modern convention has convoluted Poetry’s overall technique making it vulnerable to my superior reach and hand speed.”

Poetry: “Bring it, Fatty.”

The Post Fight Interview:

Me: “No there won’t be a bloody rematch. Get that camera out of my damn face!”

Poetry: “He floated like a butterfly… because that’s what big girl’s blouses do. Rhyme that douche-bag.”

Marcus Greville

Things to See & Do – Visits and Competitions


Photo: Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance Trilogy, will be in Wellington on June 28th, speaking at Scots College. Tickets are $5 - available through Paolini visiting Wellington June 28th

Teenage writer Christopher Paolini, whose dragon series – Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance – took the fantasy world by storm, will be speaking at an evening event in Wellington on Thursday, June 28th. Christopher will be happy to sign copies of his books after his talk and they will also be for sale at the event.

Venue: Scots College Hall, Monorgan Rd, Strathmore, Wellington
Time & Date: 6pm – 7.30pm, Thursday, June 28th, 2012  
Tickets are  $5 each and are now on sale only through The Children’s Bookshop.
Phone: 04 3873905 – email:

The Making of Mr Pip (the film) – a Bougainville Library Trust fundraising event

Director, screenwriter and producer, Andrew Adamson, (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia) will discuss the making of the film Mr Pip with Lloyd Jones, author of the award-winning novel Mister Pip, and film producer Robin Scholes, in an event at the Paramount Cinema on Wednesday 20 June to raise money to build a community library in Bougainville.

The panel discussion will focus on adapting the novel to the film as well as discussing the film making process. For this event Andrew Adamson has prepared an exclusive 10 minute film package from the film Mr Pip. The film will be released next year with Hugh Laurie in the leading role of Mr Watts.

Paramount Cinema, WellingtonWednesday 20 June at 6pm. Tickets $40, includes a glass of wine.
Bookings: At the Paramount Cinema in person, online at or by phone 04 384 4080 (after 1pm).

Writing Competitions: Once Upon a Time: Grimm Fairy Tales for Aotearoa New Zealand

A short story competition from The Goethe Institute, The Listener, and the IIML. A fantastic premise with excellent prizes (a trip to Germany!). Your story must be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, start with the words, ‘Once upon a time…’ and be a Brothers Grimm style fairytale for modern Aotearoa NZ. Entries close on July 1st. Check out their website for more details.

BNZ Literary Awards

For over half a century BNZ has been proud to support New Zealand’s preeminent Short Story writing competition, which was founded to acknowledge the work of Katherine Mansfield and celebrate New Zealand literature.

The BNZ Literary Awards are for both aspiring and established writers. For many of New Zealand’s famous writers, such as Frank Sargeson, Keri Hulme, Maurice Shadbolt, Charlotte Grimshaw and CK Stead, winning the main Award, the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, was where it all started.

There are prizes for the main award category – $10,000 prize money, For unpublished writers – $1,500 prize money, and for writers who are at secondary school – $1,500 for the student and $2000 for the winner’s school, as well as a short story of a maximum of 150 words submitted via Facebook – $500 prize money.

Médecins Sans Frontières – Book Launch and Panel Discussion

Here in Wellington we are lucky to have Fabrice Weissman, Director of the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) Foundation in Paris, here to launch a book, of which he is one of the editors – ‘Humanitarian negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience’.

After the launch there will be a panel discussion about the book’s content that promises to be fascinating. The book, through case studies, shows the practical reality of running an international humanitarian organisation in communities and states that often have a deep resistance to the core principles and goals of Médecins Sans Frontières. The studies reveal the compromises and negotiations that MSF has had to make, political deals they’ve had to strike, and the consequent evolution of MSF’s humanitarian goals and what compromise in the face of them means to those people they are trying to reach.

This is far from a work of PR for Médecins Sans Frontières, instead it is an honest and critical appraisal of decisions made and actions taken. Fabrice Weissman, so intimately involved in the field and as a Director of the organisation, will provide a stunning level of access into this realm of international aid and ‘humanitarian space’.

Plus, delicious refreshments will be available.

The event is being held on Monday April 2, 2012, from 5.30 – 7.00 pm at The Grand Hall, Old Parliament Building, 32 Molesworth St. Wellington. You will need to RSVP to (with ‘MSF’ in the subject line).

Click on image to see in greater detail