Damien Wilkins (ed)

Great Sporting Moments: The Best of Sport 1988-2004

ISBN: 9780864735157

Winner for Reference and Anthology 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards

This collection is an excellent reflection of the nature of Sport magazine and the influence that it has had on the development of New Zealand writing. David Elworthy describes the collection as “cocky and sure of itself – and rightly so.” He was “greatly taken by the book’s exuberance.” This is a valuable collection of New Zealand writing spanning a period of significant growth in the country’s literary output. It shows that Sport was a vehicle that got a number of beginning writers published and gave more experienced writers another outlet for their work. The collection is full of lively and memorable stories, articles and poems. It is a very enjoyable bedside book, fun to dip into randomly, very well put together and nicely designed. From the judges' report.

The literary magazine Sport burst onto the scene in 1988 with a first issue featuring outstanding writing by a group of new writers who would go on to be some of the biggest names in New Zealand literature, including Elizabeth Knox, Jenny Bornholdt, Barbara Anderson, Anne Kennedy, Damien Wilkins, Nigel Cox. Sport 1 also featured established stars like Bill Manhire, Keri Hulme and Vincent O’Sullivan.

Sport has gone on to publish an invigorating list of celebrated writers and new discoveries; Emily Perkins and Catherine Chidgey are just two writers who first appeared in print in Sport’s pages.

Great Sporting Moments is a little different from a conventional ‘best of’. Greatest hits like Emily Perkins’ ‘Not Her Real Name’ and Bill Manhire’s ‘My Sunshine’ are here. So are hard to find gems like an autobiographical essay by Owen Marshall and a story of an infernal encounter in Venice by Elizabeth Knox. And true to Sport’s mission, so is an exciting collection of stories, poems and essays by the yet-to-be-celebrated.

Great Sporting Moments: The Best of Sport Magazine 1988–2004 defines the most exciting and creative era in New Zealand’s literary history. It is also an entertaining and unpredictable reading experience that provides intriguing clues to what might happen next.

Praise for Great Sporting Moments

In it are Sport editor and novelist Damien Wilkins’ picks of the best of 30 years of one of the country’s undoubtedly best literary journals. How he and publisher Fergus Barrrowman made their selections from so much material is hard to imagine. ...All show the collective health and vitality of this country’s writing life ...If you buy any collection this holiday, this should be the one.

How good is it? Bloody good. ...This bulky tome is an important taste of new New Zealand literature. Amazingly reasonable price, too.

How does one review over 500 pages of sheer delight?
Isa Moynihan TAKAHE

They're cunning buggers at Victoria University Press, so lets be clear right from the start: Great Sporting Moments is not about sports writing, it's a selection of the best of what has appeared in the first 17 years years of the Wellington-based literary journal. ...down the years the magazine has enjoyed an amzing hit rate, introducing to the wider reading public the work of such people as Jenny Bornholdt, Barbara Anderson, Elizabeth Knox, Emily Perkins, Catherine Chidgey, Peter Wells, Andrew Johnston, Kate Camp, Jo Randerson, David Geary and Glenn Colquhoun, all of whom are represented here. Even if you are of only slightly literary bent you'll still find lots to admire in this handsome book.

Editor Damien Wilkins is one of the leading New Zealand writers of his generation. He is the author of four novels, including The Miserables, which won the NZ Book Award for Fiction, and most recently Chemistry, which was published in NZ by VUP and internationally by Granta Books and Allen & Unwin, and short stories, essays and poems. His writing for television includes episodes of Duggan and The Insider’s Guide to Happiness, and he has recently had a play workshopped by the Auckland Theatre Company. He was one of the founding editors of Sport, and now teaches in the MA programme of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.


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