Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday books in Aotearoa - The Good Word - speaking truth to power

 no embed - so click image, or here, to go to TVNZ Ondemand

The Good Word
I have just been watching The Good Word  hosted by the NZ writer  Emily Perkins,  a weekly books programme on TVNZ 7, one of the new digital channels on Freeview, and now Sky, It s also available on TVNZ OnDemand, here

TVNZ 7 is one of the new channel outcomes  from the governments 2006, $79 million largess to TVNZ  to help them, over 6 years, set up  and run their digital strategy. Would be nice to see something similar emerging for their cash strapped sister Radio New Zealand.  But I digress.
The latest episode
The latest series  of The Good Word  is broadcast in the twilight zone of Saturday night. However, mercifully, the entire series is up on TVNZ On Demand.  Last nights episode, the one I've just  watched  here,  has a lovely spirited panel exchange talking about Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. Emily Perkins, host and anchor, keeps it all running nicely.

Under the Covers 
I also enjoyed Finlay Macdonalds Under the Covers segment. In this episode he talks with  Ranginui Walker, the Maori scholar and intellectual who has been ' speaking truth to power' for nearly 50 years.  They discuss the ongoing relevance of his 1990 book, Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou - Struggle Without End, There is also some good contextual footage to the issues they traverse - including tv and heritage materiel on Maori history.

Man Alone
I like the Under the Covers idea - it brings out some of the real treasures to the New Zealand literary landscape, and Macdonald, one time editor of the NZ Listener, columist, and one time Sunday Star Times books editor, and now anchor host to the Auckland Msueum LATE series,  is in his element here.

See for example one of the early pieces in the first series on John Mulgan's seminal text Man Alone,  with its classic  terse tale of the returned 1st World War soldier coming back to a New Zealand about to be torn apart by the politics of depression and want.

Penguin classic
Man Alone is also one of  the 10 titles chosen by Penguin NZ  to mark their own version of the Popular Penguin series.

The others are: Going West, Gee Maurice, Potiki, Patricia Grace - The Skinny Louie Book, Fiona Farrell - Plumb, Maurice Gee - Smith's Dream, C K Stead - Oracles and Miracles, Stevan Eldred-Grigg- The GrandifloraTree, Shonagh Koea- The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera- Came A Hot Friday, Ronald Hugh Morrieson

Jason Books
By the by, the establishment shots for the Under the Covers series, take place in Jason's Books , the lovely second hand book store at 3 Lorne Street Auckland. I pass through it every day en route for lunch, or whatever. Great tø see it on the screen.


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