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Fishy business from Braunias

Media release for immediate use: 25 September 2008

Fishy business from Braunias

Four years in the making, Fish of the Week is a new selection of wide-ranging columns – satirical, serious, intimate, with particular emphasis on the pleasures of steak and fatherhood – from much-awarded writer Steve Braunias.

A past winner of Columnist of the Year at the Qantas Media Awards, and winner of the Best First Book of Non-Fiction at the Montana Awards for his first selection of columns (Fool’s Paradise, published in 2001), Braunias has attracted a cult following as a weekly columnist first with the Listener and more recently with The Sunday Star-Times. His appearances at literary festivals around New Zealand are regularly sold out and have been reviewed as ‘outstandingly funny... like a stand-up comedy act but with genuine literary excellence’.  He also writes for Eating Media Lunch, winner of Best Television Comedy at the 2008 New Zealand Film and Television Awards.

Braunias went into semi-retirement as a journalist this year to look after his baby daughter, but has found time to work on two new projects. He has become a roving essayist who travels obscure corners of New Zealand with photographer Jane Ussher for North & South magazine. He has also turned his savage wit on parliament as a political sketch writer for The Sunday Star-Times. His assessments of Helen Clark, John Key, Winston Peters, Rodney Hide and other politicians have been fair-handed inasmuch he has skewered almost everyone in parliament.

2008 marks his tenth year as a weekly columnist in a national publication. The columns in Fish of the Week, from the Sunday Star-Times magazine Sunday, reveal Braunias at his best and most unpredictable, as he swings wildly from self-parody to quiet meditations on violent crime, from ridicule of sacred cows to tender reflections of his new life as a father, and from affectionate portrayals of small New Zealand towns to a campaign on behalf of steak.

It is his fourth book, following Fool’s Paradise, the best-selling How to Watch a Bird, and a collection of his newspaper profiles of prominent New Zealanders, Roosters I Have Known.

Although the 70-plus columns in Fish of the Week amount to an up-close illumination of a fascinating mind, one question remains: Is that Steve Braunias – writer, bird-watcher, parent, urban reptile who often appears in newspaper gossip pages – on the cover of the book? Or a figment of artist Dick Frizzell’s imagination?


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