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Sessions recorded at Writers and Readers Festivals in New Zealand

Pavlova with Everything

Is there a New Zealand cuisine or have we been swept away into a miasma of 'Asian-Pacific fusion'? Food writers Helen Leach, Alexa Johnston and Ray McVinnie discuss with Lauraine Jacobs the state of New Zealand cuisine past and present. Helen Leach's The Pavlova Story looks at the development of this national dish in New Zealand kitchens. Chef and food writer Ray McVinnie joins Helen and Alexa Johnston (Ladies, A Plate) to take an affectionate look at favourite dishes which have graced our tables past and present. Lauraine Jacobs is in the chair.

Travel Writing

Travel was once seen as a rite of passage for New Zealanders, but today's decision to get on an aeroplane is not so simple. Graeme Lay, Lloyd Spencer Davis and Thomas Kohnstamm explore areas in common to their very different approaches towards travel writing. Kapka Kassabova is in the chair. Graeme Lay's Inside the Cannibal Pot is a new kind of travel book which explores how and why we travel. Lloyd Spencer Davis's Looking for Darwin describes a journey both 'through the heart and mind' and some of the most beautiful and isolated places in the world. After four years in perpetual motion, American travel writer Thomas Kohnstamm published Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics and Professional Hedonism. The panel discussion is chaired by Kapka Kassabova.

I Must Go Down to the Sea Again

In this second of a series of panel discussions recorded in May, Joan Druett, Mary McCallum, and Barbara Else talk with Graham Beattie about how the ocean around New Zealand connects some very different historical books. Joan Druett is one of our most widely published authors, as novelist and maritime historian. Joan's most recent book Island of the Lost is an account of an 1864 shipwreck on the bleak Auckland Islands. Newcomer Mary McCallum's atmospheric novel The Blue is set in 1938 in Tory Channel and centres on Lilian, a whaler's wife, whose life is both threatened and sustained by the sea. Novelist Barbara Else completes the panel. Her castaway adventure Wild Latitudes rollicks through the brave new world of 19th-century New Zealand. Graham Beattie is in the chair.


Auckland as a location and an imaginative idea is explored by writers Stephanie Johnson, Derek Hansen and Paula Morris, with Paula Green in the chair. Stephanie Johnson's work explores the city of her birth, from 19th-century Parnell in Belief to 1960s Manukau in Music from a Distant Room. Derek Hansen brings to life the landscape of 1950s Ponsonby in Remember Me. Paula Morris explores contemporary Maori, Polynesian, and Asian Auckland in Queen of Beauty and Hibiscus Coast. Paula Green is in the chair.