28336363_1660162724042492_2329491303173871612_o

28336363_1660162724042492_2329491303173871612_o

My publisher sent me a bottle of plonk to celebrate the launch of my new book today.

I’m very grateful. I’ll make a dent in it later, maybe sooner.

This new version of ‘Kiwi Speak’ is upsized and updated. The original (with a grass-green cover) came out ten years ago and somehow wrangled its way into homes all over the country. And it fits nicely inside your handbag, which I’m told is a bonus.

It’s a book you might read in the bach, or on the bus, or when you emigrate to New Zealand when you need to know the difference between a ‘manu’ and a ‘manus,’ ‘hamu’ and ‘hungus,’ or the ‘wop wops’ from ‘Whack City.’ (All of these gems just popped up as ‘unknown words’ on spellcheck which is bloody enlightening.)

A lot has changed in our little country in the past decade. Along with the chapters ‘Mum Speak,’ ‘Dad Speak,’ and ‘Nana Speak,’ are newbies ‘Skuxx Speak,’ ‘Street Speak,’ and ‘School Speak.’ Like many Kiwis, I’m inspired by Taika’s movies, Lorde’s songs, random youtube clips posted by downhearted skaters (‘Nek minnit’) and loveable hooligan country kids (‘Eat some ice creams do some bombs!’).

This time around I dedicated the book to the late Murry Ball and John Clarke, two Kiwis who shaped our country with their words and ideas. If it weren’t for your gumboots where would you be?

Chur, New Zealand!

9780143772231

9780143772231

Orrgh, ace buzz!

Who knew this book would survive two Rugby World Cups and be celebrated ten years later with an upsized, updated edition. Might have a hoon on my durrie to celebrate. At the blue light disco.

Tumeke!

Before it hits the shelves you can pre-order Kiwi Speak from Penguin Random House or Mighty Ape.

If you want to speak with the author (ME) please get in touch with Jerome JBuckleigh@penguinrandomhouse.co.nz who is taking care of publicity for the book.

Meanwhile, here’s Kiwi Speak’s intro.

New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote. It’s also the only place on Earth where builders eat pie sandwiches for lunch. This land of plenty invented the jet boat, spreadable butter and the electric fence. It’s also the only place where jandals and shorts are considered ‘semi-formal’. This is the home of tiny bathroom basins and 20 million traffic cones, where courgettes are zucchinis, flannels are face cloths, cling film is glad wrap, a dairy is a shop, swimming shorts are togs, sweets are lollies, and where homes are insulated by a solitary heated towel rail.

Welcome to Kiwi Speak, a book that toasts the way New Zealanders yarn. It celebrates the vowel-flatteners and noun-nasalers among us. There are sayings we used to say and sayings we shouldn’t. There are put-downs, pick-me-ups and things you can yell in the pub. You’ll discover how Kiwis lose their rag on the road, in the bach and up over the backblocks. The little toerags have their own lingo too. (When they’re not wagging, that is. Or is that bunking?).

Maybe you’re new to New Zealand. Maybe it fits like an old pair of Stubbies. Whatever the reason, why not pull on your ugg boots, jump in the La-Z-Boy, grab an L&P and check out a few of these beauties. And don’t sweat it if you’re not a big reader — you’ll knock this bastard off in no time. PS: Though these sayings aren’t all exclusive to New Zealand, they are used in everyday speech, often having been passed down generations. Some youngsters born after Helen started running the joint won’t know some of the old ones. Conversely, your nana probably reckons the ‘Street Speak’ section sounds as ludicrous as fart tax. One thing’s for sure: New Zealanders, we’re different. So let’s have a shandy and celebrate.

shot-boom-score-allen-unwin

Good news! If you have an avid short(ish) reader in the house, I have a signed copy of my middle grade novel Shot, Boom, Score! to give away. 10th person who emails me will win.

Here’s what the book is about:

“Toby, if you get twenty wickets and ten tries before the end of the year, Mum and I’ll buy you a new GameBox V3.’

Can you believe it? One minute I’m in trouble for double-bouncing my sister and the next Dad is telling me I’ve got the new GameBox V3! And it’s not even Christmas. Shot!

Toby thinks this will be easy — after all, he gets Player of the Day all the time. But he hasn’t reckoned on Malcolm McGarvy. McGarvy is one of the biggest kids in the school and he’s got a huge scar which he got in a shark attack — he wears one of the teeth around his neck. You know McGarvy is near because you get goosebumps up your arms. And he’s going to make sure Toby doesn’t get that GameBox V3…

A hilarious story about a boy who is promised a Gamebox V3 by his dad if he scores 20 wickets in cricket and 10 tries in rugby, but is foiled at every turn by the class bully.

shot boom score

This opportunity, offered to me by a boy named Kit at a school talk in Nelson, sums up why I write for kids. They have no fear and no filters. Their heads aren’t clogged with mortgages, work woes or what to cook for dinner. So they’re not allowed ice cream for dinner, or to stay up past ‘X-Factor,’ but nothing tops climbing trees, licking the bowl or having a fist fight with your best mate.

For the past ten years I’d focused on writing non-fiction travel (UK on a G-StringBowling Through India) as well as humour (Kiwi SpeakRugby Speak). In truth, I wanted to write middle-grade fiction, like my hero Roald Dahl. But first I had to meet someone who knew what they were doing. That someone was Joy Cowley, who I accosted one day at the Story Lines festival in Auckland. A few days later – when she’d read my stories – she agreed to be my ‘Yoda.’ She is a very generous and smart lady.

Then one day I had the idea for Shot, Boom, Score! It came while on the sideline at my daughters’ soccer match. Like many kids, sport played a major role in my childhood. As did rewards for doing well. Many a parent has bribed their kids with a ‘pie for a try’ or ‘movie tickets for a wicket.’ With Toby in Shot, Boom, Score! I wanted to take this theme to a new level. Here is a boy who struggles with school, but excels at sport. When his father sets him the GameBox V3 Challenge Toby thinks he’s hit the jackpot. Sadly, he hasn’t accounted for class bully Malcolm McGarvy – who does his best to ruin the party.

Kids can be ruthless critics. If something stinks they’ll let you know. So it was with a certain amount of relief when my nine-year-old daughter Sophie (who was having Shot, Boom, Score! read to her class) came home and said, ‘Dad, even the bullies love this story – and they never share their feelings!’ Here’s hoping many other kids enjoy the book.

P.S. I did end up dedicating a novel to Kit, but as of yet haven’t seen any money.

Bowling Through India was a was one of those trips where something happened almost every five minutes. Which of course became perfect fodder for a travel book. Stephen Singh of Birmingham wrote to me today and asked: ‘Have you ever feared for your life during any of your travel writing stints?’

There was the car crash in the game reserve in Namibia. (Our car had to be lifted from rocks by 15 burly locals.) And I seriously thought I’d end up in A and E boogie boarding down the Zambezi River.

This question, however, took me to the place where many others had lost their lives: a cemetery in Varanasi, India. Our cricket team, consisting of five New Zealanders, decided to challenge the local village to a game. It was a bizarre, beautiful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19.sbs-new

If you tune into Radio New Zealand on Saturdays and Sundays you’ll hear Shot, Boom, Score! being read on Storytime Treasure Chest. You can either catch it live or listen to the MP3s. It’s my junior novel for 8-12 year olds and was recently won a Notable Book Award at Storylines Festival. Enjoy.

70916

May already? They say our lives go faster because we do the same thing every day, over and over. So today I’m writing this in a submarine off the coast of Ghana. I’ve also started lying more.

Some news. I was stoked to recently receive a Notable Book Award at Margaret Mahy Day for my junior fiction novel, ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ There are some legendary names on that list, so I was very happy. I took my Mum along and she behaved, unlike at the ‘Wicked’ stage show after party. (Love you, Lyn.)

In other news, I am excited to be on a brand new drive show on a brand new radio station with the ultimate co-host, Stacey Morrison. Our on-air rule has always been, if it’s in your head, you gotta say it.

Let the Wild Rumpus start!

Image

kiwiana goes pop

kiqi

A while back the first Kiwiana Goes Pop album was released featuring my song Good Keen Metrosexual. Kiwiana Goes Pop 2 is out now and features Billy T James, John Clarke and Tim Finn’s little known song ‘Runs in the Family.’ The old TV ads on the album are a good laugh. Fiona McDonald (Columbine pantyhose), Annie Crummer (Soda Stream) and Hugo Said You Go (KFC). Not to forget The Miramar Chess Club with this brilliant Rugby World Cup song. I snuck onto the album with my song ‘Great Place To Bring Up the Kids, a satirical (sometimes acerbic) look at life from my book Myth New Zealand. Random, weird, nostalgic collection. Enjoy!

PS. Brilliant artwork by Lester Hall

Varanasi Ganges

During our life-changing journey that became the bestselling book Bowling Through India, it was somewhat ironic the Black Craps (as our five man cricket side was known) should end up playing cricket in a cemetery in Varanasi, otherwise known as the City of Life. The tombstones were used as stumps and a Catholic caretaker tried his best to keep games to a minimum – until we turned up. Thanks to The VC and photographer Brendon O’Hagan for providing this slideshow of our unforgettable match.