Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Staying afloat during the COVID-19 lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our accustomed way of living and working, and caused death and suffering in many countries. 

In February we were in close contact with our agent, printers and colleagues in China as the first wave of the coronavirus spread there. Happily everyone has made it through well and normal life is resuming.
Flying the Italian Tricolore in Oratia
Now we are feeling saddened and worried for our family and friends in Italy, and extend our amore and solidarietà to all, especially in Alessandra’s home areas of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia and Veneto, who have been hit so hard by the virus. Il nostro cuore è con voi!

Our most sincere condolences to Paola della Valle, author of the Oratia book From Silence to Voice, who has lost of her mother to the epidemic in Turin. Our heart goes out to you, Paola. 

The spread of the disease to other parts of Europe and North America is gravely concerning, and we wish our family, friends and business partners there all the best for this challenging period. 

We applaud the New Zealand government’s move to a Level 4 alert here, which is confining New Zealanders to their homes for four weeks minimum and closing all but essential work and services. 
The latest title in The NZ Series will now publish on 8 May
Oratia is lucky to be a home-based business so there was no need for a transition to remote work. We feel for our publishing colleagues and bookstores who had to reconfigure rapidly as the lockdown closed in on us. 

We are all having to adapt to not being able to sell or ship physical books while these are considered non-essential services.

The first consequence is rescheduling our next two books. Rush to Riches: Kauri and Gold moves from April to an 8 May publication date — the books are printed and ready now, but we have no way to distribute them.

Harry Sangl’s beautiful painting collection Te Kuia Moko: The Last Tattooed Maori Women, which is printing in New Zealand, will now publish on 9 June. 
Te Kuia Moko will now be available in June
The Oratia Books 2020 Catalogue will be out later this week, as planned. All the books are on schedule for completion this year, and we’ll just have to adapt timing and print options depending on how the fight against COVID-19 proceeds. 

Our New Zealand booksellers are the key to keeping New Zealand authors are print, so while shops are closed we recommend readers to bide their time and then get back to their local bookseller (be it bricks-and-mortar or online) once it's safe to do so.
The 2020 catalogue is ready
In the interim now we’re looking into expanding our Ebook range, to ensure more of our books continue to be available to readers. 

Among the industry initiatives underway — virtual launches, online reading and sharing of favourite reads – some of our authors are taking the lead also. Click here for Tim Tipene’s reading oMāui – Sun Catcher

Meanwhile useful advice from the Publishers Association of New Zealand, some of which is of general interest, is available here.

We wish everyone a safe and healthy period at home, and we’ll keep in contact. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Stay Home New Zealand, and read books :-)


As we move into lockdown in Aotearoa to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, our thoughts are with our many friends and colleagues in Italy who have endured weeks of terrible news during their time at home. The Italian campaign Io Resto a Casa (which has its equivalent in #StayHomeNZ) recommended reading as an essential activity while staying at home, and we agree. Oratia will remain open from our home offices during the Level 4 lockdown, and will do whatever we can to help Kiwis have books to read, whether in print or electronic form.

Image credit <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/home">Home vector created by freepik - www.freepik.com</a>

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Keeping the history of Le Quesnoy up to date


Since its publication in October 2018, Christopher Pugsley's Le Quesnoy 1918 has shared with thousands of readers the gripping story of how The New Zealand Division broke through German defensive lines to capture the French town of Le Quesnoy in its last and most successful action in the First World War. 

Among those readers have been many descendants of soldiers involved in the action, some of whom contacted the author to provide further commentary about their family members. 

With the information that has come to light, Christopher has been able to update a number of details — notably   the addition of two names to the list of casualties in the period 1–7 November 1918 or who died after from wounds sustained. 

They were Lance-Corporate David MacKay of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and Private Roy Walker of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion, both young men in their twenties who were killed on 1 November 1918.



The new entries for those who lost their lives during the Le Quesnoy ation
That takes the total of the New Zealanders who died liberating Le Quesnoy to 191, and the book is dedicated to ensuring they are not forgotten.

Le Quesnoy 1918 now has a new red colour to its cover, marking this updated edition that is out today, just over a month ahead of Anzac Day commemorations.


Dr Christopher Pugsley is one of New Zealand’s leading historians. A retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Zealand Army, he was a lecturer in military studies in New Zealand, Australia and UK until his retirement in 2012. His other books with Oratia include The Camera in the Crowd and Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story


Updated edition publishing today, 18 March 2020  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-49-0  |  RRP $39.99
Paperback, 297 x 210 mm portrait, 168 pages (8 pages colour)
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