Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dunedin Public Library Event – My Writing: how it began

October through to December is a busy time at Dunedin Public Library. Lots of events are on offer to celebrate the library’s fast approaching 100th birthday. On Wednesday 29 October, 7.30pm, I’m sharing the spotlight with Penelope Todd. We’re talking about our writing careers, how we began to write, where we get our ideas from and how we got into print. It'll be great to share our stories with Dunedin book lovers.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Next Festival Appearance

The Press Christchurch Writers Festival runs between 4 – 7 September and is jammed packed with national and international writers talking about wide-ranging topics. The Christchurch Book Festival Trust and The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival Management Team’s theme for 2008 is ‘Getting between the Covers’. I certainly want to go to many of the sessions. I’m appearing on a panel with Mark Sarvas, Anya Ulinich and Christine Luenens on Friday 5 September, 1.30 – 2.45pm, in the Conference Room. Our session is entitled ‘It’s Not About Me – Or is it?’ Our Chair is Rachel King, current Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury. Come along and join us!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

‘Ribbons of Grace’ makes the shortlist for the Nielsen BookData NZ Booksellers’ Choice Award 2008

This award acknowledges the critical role booksellers play in supporting New Zealand writing and publishing. Our booksellers vote for the book they most enjoyed reading, selling and promoting over the last year. Contenders for the 2008 award include two novels and five non-fiction works. It’s a thrill to have my novel recognised in this way. I’m also delighted to be listed alongside the other six authors and their superb books.

The winner will be announced in Wellington at the 2008 Book Industry Awards and Conference Dinner on Sunday 20 July 2008.

Short Story on Radio National New Zealand

I’m a big fan of short fiction. I enjoy reading, writing and listening to short stories. My bookcases at home are lined with collections written by authors from a range of countries. I buy more short story collections than I do novels. One of my own stories is on radio this week. The following details were published on the web by Radio National.

Wednesday 2 July 2008
Stories Bodies Tell by Maxine Alterio
An embalmer with abandonment issues wrestles with how he’s going to tell the woman he loves what he does for a living, without scaring her off.
Read by Julian Wilson
Published by Vintage
ISBN Number: 1-86941-797-6
Episode 1 of 2

Thursday 3 July 2008
Stories Bodies Tell by Maxine Alterio
Episode 2 of 2

Yes, like my historical novel ‘Ribbons of Grace’, this contemporary short story is also set in Central Otago.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Win a copy of 'Ribbons of Grace'

The current issue (19) of the fab magazine NZ Life and Leisure has 3 copies of Ribbons of Grace to give away. To enter the competition click
You might also want to pick up a copy of the magazine to read a feature article entitled ‘Ribbons of Memory’ in which I describe what inspired me to write this novel. Happy reading!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Mslexia is a magazine for anyone who writes, teaches creative writing or wants to keep up with what’s happening in literature and journalism. The latest issue is always a welcome sight in my letterbox. I recently appeared in a section entitled OUT NOW, Issue 37, April / May / June 2008, where writers share their publication stories.

Check out for further information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival (AWRF)

The 2008 AWRF starts on 14 May.  Creative Directors Peter Wells and Stephanie Johnson’s catch cry for this year’s event is “Let’s talk up a storm”.  With nineteen internationals and over ninety New Zealand based writers, editors and publishers, a veritable gale, with diverse, stimulating and entertaining weather patterns, is predicted. I’m appearing on a panel with Dominican-American Junot Díaz and Chinese-Welsh Peter Ho Davies.  We’re in the ASB Theatre - Aotea Centre, 15 May, 4.30-5.30pm.  Our session is entitled Bloodlines: Do genetics dictate story?  James George is the Chair.  

2008 Edition

In March 2008, following excellent sales of the 2007 edition in the larger C-format, a new edition of Ribbons of Grace, in B-format, was released. Sincere thanks to all the readers who contributed to this development.

Book Launch

Ribbons of Grace was launched by artist and poet, Claire Beynon, on a balmy September 2007 evening at the Executive Residence, University of Otago, Dunedin. Auckland based Penguin publisher, Geoff Walker, and his partner, writer Sue Reidy, joined the celebratory group of family and friends, which included many wonderful women from Claire and my writing group – Eva, Kath, Martha, Huberta, Paddy, Jackie, Elizabeth, Shirley and Beatrice. Marcus Turner played Orcadian fiddle music as a tribute to one of the novel’s characters. We drank Central Otago wine, ate glorious food prepared by Roz Mason and generally enjoyed ourselves. My first novel was finally ready to leave home!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Deal

In August 2006 I signed a two-book contract with Penguin Group (NZ), a highlight in my writing career, as I had long fantasised about having a novel with an orange penguin on the spine. My contract came about after I sent my manuscript, Ribbons of Grace, to Penguin and another large publishing company who also offered me a contract, although just for the one book. The lure of a Penguin and the offer of their two-book deal proved irresistible, especially after my trip to Auckland to meet the Penguin team who proved to be great fun, as well as highly professional.

Then the hard work began. Over the next few months, under Geoff Walker and Rebecca Lal’s astute tutelage, I reworked the manuscript until it was ready to go to an external editor. This phase was a significant learning curve for me. While I am a confident academic writer and have in recent years also developed some skills in short fiction, Ribbons of Grace was my first novel. I had a lot to learn. It was an important book for me – one I had wanted to write since childhood when I was present at a party in Arrowtown, Central Otago, New Zealand, and overheard an adult conversation about a Chinese miner who was discovered to be female after he died.