Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monsters, tribes and a castle in the backyard

While children are glued to screens playing generic games of fictional heroes and villains, right around them is a history that is filled with real stories relating directly to who they are and where they live.

That was the realisation that drove Malcolm Paterson and his fellow alumni of the Committee for Auckland’s Young Leaders programme to create Sharing Our Stories, a series of picture books that bring to life the landscape of the city for readers in the 8–12 age group.

Over the past year, our books editor Carolyn Lagahetau has worked closely with Malcolm, illustrator Leah Mulgrew and the other Sharing Our Stories team to bring the first book to publication.

The Castle in our Backyard follows cousins Tui and Jennifer as they discover the castle near their place – Maungkiekie or One Tree Hill, in its day home to the goddess of fire, a Māori fortress, Chinese gardens, and the estate of Sir John Logan Campbell. It’s an engaging story that manages to include plenty of information and activities for kids on this voyage of discovery.

A first book for all involved, The Castle in our Backyard is also one those increasing rarities these days, a book published simultaneously in English and Māori. Te Pā Kaha kei tō tatōu Iāri, the Māori edition, will be launched along with the English at the end of July to coincide with Maori Language Week.

The Castle in our Backyard (978-1-877514-05-0)

Te Pā Kaha kei tō tatōu Iāri (978-1-877514-10-4)

Malcolm Paterson, illustrated by Leah Mulgrew

Published by Libro International, July 2010

Price: $19.99

284 x 208 mm portrait, PB, 32 pp, colour

For orders, contact our distributors:

Publishers Distribution Limited

Attn: Customer Services

Tel: 09 828 2999 Fax: 09 828 2399


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From the Turin International Book Fair

The Salone Internazione del Libro Torino is Italy’s major book fair, held at the Lingotto Fiere in Turin for five days every May.

Attended by over 300,000 book lovers, with exhibits from Italian publishers large and small, a packed programme of writer presentations, a special kids’ pavilion and live broadcasts from Rai TV and radio – it makes for an amazing hive of cultural activity.

Taking place alongside the Salone was the International Book Forum, the business side of the fair, which brought together over 800 professionals to talk book, film and broadcast rights. Oratia Media took its table there to pursue our objectives of taking New Zealand authors to the world and developing Libro International’s presence in Italy.

Although there was a healthy showing of Indian publishers – India being this year’s guest country – we were certainly the only publisher from anywhere further east.

It’s always hard to quantify immediately how much business will come out of a trade fair. All the same, after more than 20 meetings, lots of useful encounters and hours spent browsing stands, I’m confident that we have some exciting opportunities.

A few initial take-outs:

- A lot of curiosity about New Zealand but few immediate prospects for books linked to South Pacific culture in Europe

- Openness to dealing with writers in areas that are less region specific, particularly children’s books, education, business and biography

- A flat or contracting book market is afflicting everyone, particularly the UK, US and Spain …

- … but not India, where economic growth and valuation of literacy is stoking demand for printed matter, with a readiness to take risks

- Ebooks? Not a lot in the Italian market just yet, though Giunti announced at the fair it would soon start selling the first ebook in Italy with an online catalogue of 400 titles to follow.

- Per capita book sales in Italy are creeping up again. They say Italians don’t read much, but judging from the crush at many of the stalls, it would seem fairer to say that those who do read, read a lot.

- Goodwill: the relatively small size of the IBF made it easy to rub shoulders and make acquaintances, and the food and wine was outstanding. In Turin there is such a thing as a free lunch!

It’ll be worth being back next year.

From the International Book Forum organisers:

Si è chiusa la nona edizione dell'IBF. Appuntamento al 2011, dal 12 al 14 maggio

L'edizione 2010 dell’Ibf – International Book Forum, la business area del Salone Internazionale del Libro dedicata allo scambio di diritti editoriali e audiovisivi per la traduzione e l’adattamento, registra un nuovo record di presenze. Oltre 800, di cui 120 invitati in collaborazione con l'Istituto nazionale per il Commercio Estero (ICE), gli operatori professionali provenienti da oltre 30 paesi (ad esempio Argentina, Brasile, Canada, Egitto, Germania, Messico, Romania, Russia, Stati Uniti, Svezia) tra agenti letterari, responsabili dei diritti, produttori e scout editoriali per il cinema, la televisione e il multimediale che, infatti, hanno animato durante i tre giorni (da giovedì 13 a sabato 15 maggio) i 200 tavolini allestiti presso il Centro Congressi del Lingotto, quartier generale delle operazioni b2b del Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, per un totale di oltre 7500 incontri (1500 in più rispetto al 2009).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bonds of Blood and Memory

New Zealand serviceman gave their lives to help liberate Italy from Nazi occupation in World War 2. One town in Tuscany has made a special effort to remember that fact.

For decades after Tavarnelle Val di Pesa was liberated in August 1944, locals believed their liberators were Americans. It was only due to the efforts of former Tavarnelle mayor Stefano Fusi and his New Zealand wife Jill Gabriel that the true story came to be told – that soldiers from the 2nd New Zealand Division, and specifically from the 28th Maori Battalion, had been the troops to force the German retreat.

Marking Liberation Day in Tavarnelle

Last year the story of that liberation came to be told in a fine book published by Editore NTE, I Giorni della Liberazione: Le truppe neozelandesi da San Donato all porte di Firenze. The book collects contributions from New Zealand and Italian historians and testimonies of those who lived through those days of death and destruction.

At the invitation of Stefano and Jill, we attended the ceremonies to mark Liberation Day in Tavarnelle on 25 April the date of Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia. The coincidence of dates doesn’t seem so much by chance when you are there, such is the feeling of fraternity between our nations and people. A few days later, we were privileged to visit the current exhibition of photographs relating to the liberation at the beautiful Palazzo Medici Riccardi in the heart of Florence.

Libro International is committed to working with Stefano, Jill and NTE to make I Giorni della Liberazione available in English in 2011.

‘Questo volume è il frutto felice di un bel rapporto di amicizia e fratellanza … Un’amicizia che è solo l’ultimo episodio di un rapporto speciale che si è stabilito fra i nostri Comuni, i nostri territorio, con la Nuova Zelanda.’

‘This volume is the happy fruit of a positive relationship based on friendship and fraternity… A friendship that is merely the latest episode in a special relationship that has been established between our territory and New Zealand.’

- Stefano Fusi, from the introduction to I Giorni della Liberazione

At the Eighth Army … Various exhibition in Florence, left to right: Stefano Fusi, Florence provincial councillor; Jill Gabriel, one of the book’s translators; Fabrizio Nucci, publisher, Editore NTE; Peter Dowling of Libro International; Tavernelle mayor Sestilio Dirindelli; Gianna Magnani and Angela Mori of Tavernelle council, who also worked on the book.

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