Love and Other Rituals : Our interview with author Monica Macansantos

Monica Macansantos’s debut short story collection Love & Other Rituals has already received glowing acclaim and marked her as an author to keep a close eye on. The stories in the collection revolve around Filipinos at home and in the wider diaspora. There are stories set in New Zealand, America, and the Philippines itself.

It’s the delicately relayed emotional journeys her characters undertake that really sets the stories apart. There is longing and beauty, hope and duty, all woven into the stories which are ultimately explorations about what it means to be human. Expect to be surprised and drawn into each tale.

Monica was a James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned an MFA in Writing, and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. Her work has appeared many publications such as in The Hopkins Review and the Pantograph Punch to name but a few,  and she has been named Notable in the Best American Essays in both 2016 and 2022.

So, when we got the opportunity to interview the Monica about her work, we jumped at it!

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Monica Macansantos for taking the time to answer our questions about Love & Other Rituals and her writing practice, and for providing such an illuminating insight into her world and work.

You can watch this fascinating and insightful interview below or by visiting our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Love and other rituals / Macansantos, Monica
“A man imprisoned by taboo learns the price of love. A child visits the grave of a cousin she’s never met; another absorbs the fallout of her parents’ divorce. Friendships rupture beyond repair, and family members collide when it comes to caring for their ageing father. These vivid stories of yearning, loneliness and resilience navigate the naivety of childhood, the complications of young adulthood and the politics of marriage. Monica Macansantos is a powerful new voice bringing us the raw and darkly beautiful perspectives of characters lost both in and out of their homeland, the Philippines.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bridget Williams Books: The Treaty of Waitangi Collection

A selection of book covers from the Bridget Williams Books Treaty of Waitangi Collection

Log in to Bridget Williams Books Treaty of Waitangi resources with your library card

Did you know that your library card gives you access to numerous collections from the award-winning New Zealand publisher Bridget Williams Books? Today we’d like to draw your attention to their outstanding home for online resources regarding the Treaty of Waitangi.

Bridget Williams Books’ Treaty of Waitangi Collection is broken up into different subtopics to assist your learning journey. You might like to start with one of their foundation texts, such as What Happened at Waitangi? by Claudia Orange. Following on from there, you could dive into BWB’s history resources to gain a deeper understanding of the historical context in which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. One useful text for this might be Redemption Songs by Judith Binney. After that, BWB has also provided a commentary selection, which includes publications such as New Myths and Old Politics: The Waitangi Tribunal and the Challenge of Tradition by Sir Tipene O’Regan. 

To access this Bridget Williams Books collection, simply head over to our eLibrary resources and scroll down to find Bridget Williams Books. Follow that link to access the collection. You will need your library card number and your pin to login. Happy reading!

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – 6th February events

Books about the Treaty, superimposed over the harbourHere in Wellington we’re far away from Waitangi where the official Waitangi Day commemorations happen every year. But did you know that we’re lucky enough to be able to visit the Treaty itself locally at the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library?

He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of three Aotearoa New Zealand constitutional documents, and preserves these powerful taonga for future generations. The three documents are:

  • He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (1835)
    Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840)
    Treaty of Waitangi
  • The Women’s Suffrage Petition (1893)
    Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine

On Waitangi Day this year you can visit the National Library for a 30-minute guided tour exploring this multi-award winning exhibition. Tours begin on the hour and half hour between 10am and 4pm, and there’s much more happening besides.

As part of the commemorations, our own He Matapihi Library (housed on-site at the National Library), will be open for the day for browsing, and will have two arts and crafts sessions open for children and their families:

  • Weaving: 10:30-11:15am
  • DIY Māori Treasure Box: 1:30-2:15 pm

Please note: He Matapihi will be the only Wellington City Libraries branch open on Waitangi Day — all other branches will be closed for the public holiday.

The National Library have a full day of activities planned so there will be lots more to see and do, including:

  • Arts and crafts activities for the whole whānau
  • Historical footage of Waitangi Day commemorations curated by Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision
  • Te reo Māori pronounciation and waiata workshops
  • View an installation of four giant banners featuring Treaty signatories, including local rangatira Te Wharepōuri

Waitangi Day 2023 at the National Library

Don’t forget you can find more information about Waitangi Day events happening across the city on the Wellington City Council website.

Browse our collection below:

The Treaty of Waitangi / Calman, Ross
“The best basic introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document; it summarizes the history of the Treaty and race relations in New Zealand/ Aotearoa How well do any of us know what the Treaty document means? In this easy-to-follow book, Ross Calman looks at what New Zealand was like before the Treaty and how this important document has effected the way we live now.” (Catalogue)

The Treaty of Waitangi / Orange, Claudia
“Today the Treaty has come to signify what both joins and divides the people of this country. It had different meanings also to those present at the 1840 signing -the new arrivals and the tangatawhenuathen occupying the land. To the British, it was the means by which they gained sovereignty over the country; for Maori, it represented something closer to partnership. That these distinct meanings were conveyed in texts written in different languages only added to the complexities now woven around this crucial agreement.Claudia Orange’s remarkable history was first published in 1987. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi : questions and answers
” Covering many historical and contemporary issues, it is for people who want to gain a basic knowledge about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications, as well as for those who want to refresh and update their understanding. It includes a summary of legislation and events since 1840 which have breached the Treaty, and a comprehensive reading list for further information. ” (Catalogue)

Treaty of Waitangi settlements
“The settlement of iwi claims under the Treaty of Waitangi has been a prominent feature of New Zealand’s political landscape over the last thirty years. In this timely book, leading scholars offer the first analysis of the economic and social impact of the settlement process.” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Ground-breaking full-colour graphic novel about Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi. Accessible, engaging, image-rich design. Dual-language flip book with Maori and Pakeha authors Ross Calman and Mark Derby. Text in te reo Maori version developed by Maori Language Commission-registered translator Piripi Walker. Reviewed by some of Aotearoas foremost Te Tiriti o Waitangi experts to reflect current scholarship. Includes a link to both versions of the treaty translated into thirty other languages and New Zealand Sign Language.” (Catalogue)

Treaty to Treaty : a history of early New Zealand from the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494 to the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 / Bennett, R. S.
“This book is a large & detailed history of early NZ and includes events elsewhere in the world that have had an effect on this country. The size of this project and the author’s wish to bring to the fore interesting and important material not covered in other historical work has necessitated the production of three volumes rather than the one as originally intended. Volume One contains essays on background topics.” (Catalogue)

Free CD loans for 2023!

You know what I really love? The CD players in a car. How when you put the CD right up by the slot, it actually takes it out of your hand, like it’s hungry. It pulls it in, and you feel like it wants more silver discs.
– Tom Waits

From February 1st 2023, Wellington City Libraries will be running a one year trial where all CDs will be free to borrow.

A picture of a shelf full of Wellington CDs available at Te Awe library.You can find our browsable collection of CDs upstairs at Te Awe Brandon Library if you like the hands-on approach to finding music, with roughly 5000 items available covering a wide range of genres including: Popular, Jazz, Blues, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronica, Soul/R&B, Folk, Classical, Experimental, and World Music – and most of these genre splits are there for separate New Zealand and Wellington music collections if you want to keep it local.

Large shelves from our storage facility, packed to the brim with CDs available for reserve

A further 23,000 items are available to reserve from our storage facility, Te Pātaka – while you can’t go through these in person, you can use our catalogue to filter down to the Off-Site Storage collection and Music CD formats to explore what’s available. All items are free to reserve with a valid library card – just sign in with your card number and PIN!

Having trouble deciding what to check out? Our staff regularly put together short reviews of recent CD releases that have caught their ears, and each month we update the new music in our collection on our What’s New page.

How long are CDs issued for?
CDs are issued for one week, and can be renewed once for an extra week.

Will my previous CD fees be removed?
This trial only applies to CDs issued from February 1st, when the costs will stop being applied upon issuing – previous fees will remain on your account.

I still have pre-paid slots for CDs on a Concession Card – can I use these anymore?
Similar to when we retired the Bestseller collection, we can make these concession card slots available to be used on our magazine, DVD or Vinyl collections. If these alternative items aren’t in your wheelhouse, we can also offer refunds.

Our glimpse into fiction titles scheduled for 2023: Part two

fortune teller gypsy GIF

So we kick off the second part of what to keep an eye out for in 2023, starting with July. Part One covers January to June, and you can read it here.

July’s scheduled novels start off with the sequel to Colson Whitehead’s acclaimed heist novel Harlem Shuffle that’s going to be titled Crook Manifesto; also in July we have a collection of short stories from 2022’s Booker Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka called The Birth Lottery & Other Surprises.

In August Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series finds a new author to take over the mantle, in the shape of Karin Smirnoff. The new book is going to be called The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons. Also, in August H is for Hawk’s author Helen Macdonald is bringing out a science fiction tome about the weaponisation of nostalgia, called Prophet. And to round off August we have Nicola Upson’s Shot With Crimson; a cosy crime novel set around the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

In September the fabulous Zadie Smith brings out The Fraud, a historical novel set in London and Jamaica during Victorian times. And previous Booker Prize winner Anne Enright is bringing out a novel called The Wren, featuring three generations of an Irish family. There is also a new stand alone novel from Mick Herron called The Secret Hours and, to round off September, we have a tale of thwarted love by Rose Tremain called Absolutely and Forever.

October will see the release of a feminist retelling of 1984 called Julia by author Sandra Newman. Jeanette Winterson is releasing a series of haunting short stories especially for Halloween called The Night-Side of the River and finally, in October, we have Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford, set in the speakeasies of 1920’s America.

And to round off our advanced peek into what’s coming up in the fiction world of 2023 we are going to have a very special look at what is in store fiction wise from our own fair shores.

In September we  have Becky Manawatu’s much anticipated sequel to the fabulous Auē  that’s going to be called Kataraina. There are already  a lot of very excited readers desperate to get their hands on that title.  Also, in September we have  The Bone Tree by Airana Ngarewa; a novel about two brothers losing their parents.

There is also a wonderful batch of New Aotearoa New Zealand fiction titles in the pipeline that we don’t yet have any fixed release dates for, but are due in 2023. These titles include Monty Soutar‘s historical novel called Tree of Nourishment which is set in pre-European Aotearoa in the 1700s.  Also, without a release date is the debut novel from Josie Shapiro called Everything Is Beautiful and Everything Hurts, about a woman athlete’s attempt to hit the big time. There’s also no set release dates for Sue McCauley’s novel Landed, which was shortlisted for the 2021 Michael Gifkins Prize, or for How to Get Fired by Evena Belich, but they both look fabulous.

Below we have a few previous titles from some of the authors mentioned, just to whet your appetite.

Harlem shuffle / Whitehead, Colson
“”Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…” To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The seven moons of Maali Almeida / Karunatilaka, Shehan
“Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet queen, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts who cluster around him can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The autograph man / Smith, Zadie
” Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs. A small blip in a huge worldwide network of desire, it is his business to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them, occasionally fake them, and all to give the people what they want: a little piece of Fame. THE AUTOGRAPH MAN is a deeply funny, existential tour around the hollow things of modernity – celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. Pushing against the tide of his generation, Alex-Li is on his way to finding enlightenment, otherwise known as some part of himself that cannot be signed, celebrated or sold.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Actress / Enright, Anne
“This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London’s West End. Katherine’s life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings. But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine’s past, or the world’s damage. As Norah uncovers her mother’s secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime. Actress is about a daughter’s search for the truth – the dark secret in the bright star, and what drove Katherine finally mad.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Slow horses / Herron, Mick
“You don’t stop being a spook just because you’re no longer in the game. Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent’s Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb’s misfit crew of highly trained joes don’t run ops, they push paper. But not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a ‘slow horse’. A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net. And whatever the instructions of the Service, the slow horses aren’t going to just sit quiet and watch…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Colour / Tremain, Rose
” Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph’s mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity. But the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother, and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new goldfields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of the colour, rush to their destinies and doom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The heavens / Newman, Sandra
“A young man, Ben, meets a young woman, Kate — and they begin to fall in love. From their first meeting, Ben knows Kate is unworldly and fanciful, so at first he isn’t that concerned when she tells him about the recurring dream she’s had since childhood. In the dream, she’s transported to the past, where she lives a second life as Emilia, the mistress of a nobleman in Elizabethan England. But for Kate, the dream becomes increasingly real and compelling until it threatens to overwhelm her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Oranges are not the only fruit / Winterson, Jeanette
“Winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a coming-out novel from Winterson, the acclaimed author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. The narrator, Jeanette, cuts her teeth on the knowledge that she is one of God’s elect, but as this budding evangelical comes of age, and comes to terms with her preference for her own sex, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household crumbles.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Light perpetual / Spufford, Francis
“Lunchtime, a Saturday, 1944: the Woolworths on Bexford High Street in southeast London has a new delivery of aluminum saucepans. A crowd gathers to see the first new metal in ages – after all, everything’s been melted down for the war effort. An instant later, the crowd is gone; incinerated. In it were five little children. Atomised. Who were they? What future did they lose? Running another reel, another version of time, Perpetual Light is the rest of the twentieth century as the five children’s destinies were extended…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Dear little corpses / Upson, Nicola
September 1st, 1939. As the mass evacuation takes place across Britain, thousands of children leave London for the countryside, but when a little girl vanishes without a trace, the reality of separation becomes more urgent and more deadly for those who love her.In the chaos and uncertainty of war, Josephine struggles with the prospect of change. As a cloud of suspicion falls across the small Suffolk village she has come to love, the conflict becomes personal, and events take a dark and sinister turn.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
: for such a time as this : a saga from the uttermost end of the earth – Aotearoa New Zealand / Soutar, Monty
” A young Māori man, compelled to learn the stories of his ancestors, returns to his family marae on the east coast of the North Island to speak to his elderly grand-uncle, the keeper of the stories. What follows is the enthralling account of the young man’s tipuna, the legendary warrior Kaitanga, after whom his marae’s whare puni has been named. Tracing the author’s own ancestral line, Kāwai: for such a time as this, reveals a picture of an indigenous Aotearoa in the mid-18th century, through to the first encounters between Māori and Europeans. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
A fancy man / McCauley, Sue
“Frank and Jess had seeped into each other. Severance would leave both of them maimed. Frank is in his forties, a hard-bitten, laconic Australian stockman, left with a baby son and a stepdaughter when his partner decides it’s time to move on. Jess is only fifteen, the daughter of the local schoolteacher, certain she wants a life beyond the tight little New Zealand rural town where she has grown up. This absorbing novel, wry, funny and moving, never sentimental, is about a love that transcends ‘accepted’ boundaries – and about others’ reactions to a relationship they fail to understand. It’s about unexpected criteria for happieness, about refusing to be bullied by convention.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“And now we welcome the new year” – Our picks of the novels of 2022

Highlights of 2022

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The year has passed in a flurry of events and unbelievably it has already got to that point in time when we can take stock of the best fiction releases of 2022. To celebrate the rich variety and diversity of fiction releases this year we have created a list of 100 books that we think do a good job at representing the year 2022 in fiction.

Click the links above to view our choices! We’ve selected titles from across the fiction spectrum: from mysteries to science fiction, award-winners to best sellers and all points in between — books from our own shores and novels from around the world. This is very much our own selection and whilst we have included some of the year’s best-sellers and award-winning titles, we have also included novels that are very much our own choice. This list is definitely not intended to be exhaustive or completist, and we apologise in advance if we missed out any of your favourites!

Miracle, by Jennifer LaneWhat we have noticed over the course of the year is the continued growing trend of World class crime and mystery novels originating from our own fair shore’s books such as Miracle by Jennifer Lane, Blood Matters by Renée and In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley.

This excellence and growth is spurred on we strongly suspect thanks to the fabulous Ngaio Marsh Awards which have proved such excellent nurturing  grounds for this genre over the years .

Akata Woman by Nnedi OkoraforThe trend for widening the range of international voices and giving readers a more diverse range of new world views has also continued this year.  We were especially pleased to see this evident in the publication of lots of afro-futurist books in the science fiction and fantasy world, with titles such as Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor, The World We Make by the fabulous N.K. Jemisin, as well as pop super star turned author Janelle Monáe’s collection of stories The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer all catching our attention. (We love the title of Janelle Monáe’s book too!)

How to loiter in a turf war, by Coco SolidThere have also been a few names who have burst onto the New Zealand fiction scene and made a huge splash this year — we’re thinking of authors such as Coco Solid with her vivid urban tale of modern New Zealand How to loiter in a turf war, Gina Cole’s science fiction spectacular Na Viro and Anthony Lapwood’s Home theatre. All three are relatively new authors on the New Zealand literature scene, and we’re excited to see more from them in the future!

And finally, it’s always nice to see well established writers in New Zealand and on the world scene creating masterful works for us to enjoy — such as Alan Garner’s Treacle Walker, Val McDermid’s 1989 and Vincent O’Sullivan’s Mary’s boy, Jean-Jacques : and other stories.

All in all, it’s been a fascinating and exciting year in the fiction world — now roll on 2023 and even more exciting new novels!