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  • Published: 3 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143774228
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $69.99


A companion volume to the remarkable Timeless Land.

A handsome, landmark book celebrating the work of three of our literary and artistic heavyweights.

The complementary work of artist Grahame Sydney, fiction writer Owen Marshall and poet Brian Turner was first brought together in the hugely successful Timeless Land in 1995. Its pages showed their shared, deep connection to Central Otago, to its vast skies, its wide plains punctuated by jagged ranges, its unique colours and its dwarfing effect on the people who pass through it. Twenty-five years later, this lavish new volume from these three long-time friends showcases a rich selection of their subsequent work, including recently written, previously unpublished pieces. Through their own marks about the land and its people, be it in ink or paint, they offer a love song to the South Island, in particular Central Otago.

  • Published: 3 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143774228
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $69.99

About the authors

Owen Marshall

Owen Marshall, described by Vincent O’Sullivan as ‘New Zealand’s best prose writer’, is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, poet and anthologist, who has written or edited 30 books, including the bestselling novel The Larnachs. Numerous awards for his fiction include the New Zealand Literary Fund Scholarship in Letters, fellowships at Otago and Canterbury universities, and the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in Menton, France. In 2000 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to literature; in 2012 was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM); and in 2013 he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction. In 2000 his novel Harlequin Rex won the Montana New Zealand Book Awards Deutz Medal for Fiction. Many of his other books have been shortlisted for major awards, and his work has been extensively anthologised.

In addition, in 2003 he was the inaugural recipient of the Creative New Zealand Writers’ Fellowship, and was the 2009/10 Antarctica New Zealand Arts Fellow. In 2006 he was invited by the French Centre National du Livre to participate in their Les Belles Etranges festival and subsequent tour, anthology and documentary. He was the President of Honour of the New Zealand Society of Authors 2007–08 and delivered the 2010 Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture.

He was a school teacher for many years, having graduated with an MA (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, which in 2002 awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, and in 2005 appointed him an adjunct professor.

See more at www.owenmarshall.net.nz.

Many leading contemporary writers have counted themselves amongst his admirers, including Janet Frame and Fiona Kidman, who wrote of his work, ‘I find myself exclaiming over and again with delight at the precision, the beauty, the near perfection of his writing.’ Writer, historian and literary biographer Michael King wrote of Marshall, ‘Quite simply the most able and the most successful exponent of the short story currently writing in New Zealand.’ In World Literature Today, Carolyn Bliss described Marshall as a writer who ‘speaks with equal intensity to the unbearable loveliness and malevolence of life’. Writer and academic Vincent O’Sullivan has claimed ‘nobody tells our [New Zealand] stories better’.

When Gravity Snaps, a collection of short stories that was runner-up for the 2003 Deutz Medal for Fiction, was described by Gordon McLauchlan in the Weekend Herald as displaying ‘the gift of telling stories that take hold of you in a personal way and bring echoes of people, places and events you have known, but not paid enough attention to at the time. It is a magical heightening of the ordinary.’

The short story collection Watch of Gryphons and Other Stories, shortlisted for the 2006 Montana Book Awards, ranges over a rich variety of subjects and settings, from Perugia’s ancient ruins to the South Island’s empty tussocklands, and displays the nuanced emotions which typify Marshall’s writing. The next collection, Living As a Moon, also shifts between European and Antipodean settings.

David Eggleton wrote of Owen’s poetry in The New Zealand Listener, ‘Marshall weighs his words as if regarding you with a raised ironic eyebrow. The poems employ the same bluff, resilient, yet harmonious language as Marshall’s prose.’
Marshall’s third novel, Drybread, combined elements of the thriller alongside a love story, exploring the ‘ambiguities of relationships’ (The New Zealand Listener).

Kelly Ana Morey, reviewing his next novel, The Larnachs, in TheNew Zealand Herald, described it as ‘a thoughtful, tender love story with ... an awful lot of lovely, restrained writing by Marshall’. The book is a fictional treatment of real events in the nineteenth century, and John McCrystal in The New Zealand Listener noted: ‘The Larnachs is an interesting development for Marshall. For many years pigeon-holed as a writer of realist fiction from a masculine perspective, he has proved himself far more than a one-trick pony. He has published two volumes of poetry and The Larnarchs is his fourth novel. Half of it is written from a woman’s point of view.’

Marshall has compiled two anthologies, Essential New Zealand Short Stories and Best New Zealand Fiction #6, and collaborated with painter Grahame Sydney and poet Brian Turner on Timeless Land, an appreciation of the landscapes of the Central South Island, which has been published in multiple editions.

Grahame Sydney

Grahame Sydney is one of NZ's major artists, best known for his glorious landscapes of Central Otago. Working in oils, watercolours, egg tempera, etchings and lithographs, his paintings have been widely exhibited and are held in private and public collections worldwide. Sydney is also a talented, highly regarded photographer. In 2003, he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to painting.

Brian Turner

Brian Turner is a former Te Mata Poet Laureate and one of this country's best loved poets. An ardent and accomplished sportsman, conservationist and champion of our wild places, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Otago in 2011. He is the author of several books and lives in the Ida Valley in Central Otago.

Praise for Landmarks

. . . once again we've got this quite remarkable display of talents of, as you say, three of our leading creatives . . . their powers haven't in any way faded, it's a hugely impressive book. . . it's a very successful book . . . what comes through mostly is of course their commitment to the area . . . and their celebration of really, as I say, what is one of our remarkable areas of landscape.

David Hill, National Radio

In LANDMARKS (Godwit, $75), Sydney's landscapes - sprawling, eerie, usually unpeopled - are perhaps even more majestic alongside new poems from Turner and verse and fiction from Marshall. Sydney adds a touching story about his idol, Janet Frame, and her biographer, his friend Michael King.

NZ Listener

a love story dedicated to the landscape of Central Otago

Simon Henderson, Lakes District & Central Otago News

Featuring some previously unpublished work, Landmarks celebrates not only a love of the landscape but four decades of friendship between three of our most singular literary and artistic treasures. . . . A painter (Sydney), a poet (Turner) and a writer of prose (Marshall) - but really, all are philosophers at heart.

Weekend Herald

Cambrian-based Grahame Sydney's paintings from the last quarter century, rarely peopled (although Top Nosh includes the proprietor and a customer of the pie cart), continue a tradition of big skies, magic light and mysterious landscapes which the locals and visitors have recognised as showing the spirit of the place like no other artwork. Poet Brian Turner, now an Oturehua old-timer, has kept at it. He is now so much part of the place that every line in every poem seems to reek of the wind, the hills, the heat, the frosts and the rivers of his beloved stamping ground. For Owen Marshall, regular visits to Central Otago have recharged his muse, and his stories, universal in their sentiments, are embedded with nuggets of local gold. . . . Landmarks is full of good things. . . . By now Landmarks is probably in almost every home in Central Otago. If not, it should be.

Jim Sullivan, Otago Daily Times

Sydney's paintings might seem a little bleak at first, until you realise they are pitting you against the sheer immensity of the landscape. Marshall's prose peoples the landscape and fleshes it out with a sense of longing, and Turner's poems, which so often reveal hidden layers of the countryside, take on a political edge, a lament about intensive dairying.

Peter Shand, Wairarapa Times Age

It’s not like anyone is ever not going to like Grahame Sydney’s landscape painting. They are clearly very desirable things. Landmarks is lovely. It’s a beautiful book, an exquisite book. Big, well bound, glossy in all the right places and lots of pictures. Beautiful, exquisite pictures …

Andrew Paul Wood, Reading Room

Landmarks brings together three men who have invested much time in Central Otago. The coming together of Owen Marshall, Grahame Sydney and Brian Turner is truly something special.

Tony Nielsen, Daily Post

Awards & recognition

NZ Booklovers Award

Shortlisted  •  2021  •  NZ Booklovers Award

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