Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reading at Work

It doesn't always go down well when you're working in an office to be seen reading something by Mark Twain or Charlotte Grimshaw. So the NZ Book Council has, rather sneakily, come up with a concept that allows keen readers to escape the workaday world while staying in full view of nosy workmates.

Go here to readatwork.com for the weirdest thing I've seen in a long time: short stories, poems and parts of novels made into power point presentations complete with bullet points, flow charts, graphs, and other graphic displays. In other words, it would take a very nosy workmate to work out you're hunched over Oscar Wilde's Happy Prince or Tim Jones' Win a Day with Mikhail Gorbachev or a poem by Brian Turner or Emily Dickinson.

For some of the work, the literary language suffers in the new construction, but for some of it the bar graphs and bullet points isolate words and phrases rather felicitously.

I'm still reeling. [Warning when you go to readat work.com you appear to be in Windows but it reads 'Widows' instead. This is intentional. Click on the word BOOK and go from there.]

Another way to connect with literature while you're at work is to go to the Writers on Monday series at the National Library Auditorium in Wellington from 1-2 pm. This week Jennifer Compton is the writer on the spot.

New Zealand-born Compton has lived in Australia for most of the past 30 years so she finds herself in the odd position of being called an Australian across the ditch and a Kiwi writer here. Jennifer has been living in NZ this year as writer-in-residence at the Randell Cottage in Thorndon, writing her first novel All the Time in the World set in the Wairarapa and finishing a book of essays, but she is more widely known as a poet and playwright.

She has published two collections of poetry and a chapbook, written half a dozen stage plays and a number of radio plays, been poet-in-residence at the Whiting Library Studio in Rome, seen her poetry collection Blue shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2001, and in 1995 was awarded the NSW Ministry of Arts Fellowship (poetry).

Jennifer will discuss this and other aspects of her trans-Tasman writing career in conversation with the chair of the Randell Cottage Friends - which would be me. Actor Michele Amas will also add a touch of the dramatic with a reading from Jennifer Compton's play The Big Picture (which Michele starred in at Circa nine years ago.) Go here for more about the series.

4 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

Hi Mary
that read at work sight had me in a panic - I am a mac user, but just recently insalled Microsoft office for Mac, so when that first window came up, I thought I had lost everything - silly - but first reaction. Gee you NZeders, such jokesters!

Mary McCallum said...

So sorry G-G! It freaked me out too the first time. I have put a warning on the post now.

Anonymous said...

oh hi! most kind of you - cheers - jen

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Brilliant! I read all the way through the powerpoint presentation of The Happy Prince, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

Thanks for telling us about this.