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Bitter-sweet moon launch

Bitter-sweet moon launch


The launch of Rotorua teacher Kathy Sutcliffe’s new young adult novel Moon Boy is a bitter-sweet time for her. The ‘sweet’ is launching a new novel she’s been working towards for years, but the ‘bitter’ is the sadness she feels that children’s book advocate and bookseller the late John McIntyre isn’t around to read it.

McIntyre, who owned The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington and reviewed books on National Radio, passed away last month. He was always encouraging authors he thought were good at their craft. He praised Sutcliffe’s previous young adult novel When Romeo Met Mercutio, saying it was a stunning book for young readers. ‘Sutcliffe is a compelling storyteller,’ he said.

And when Sutcliffe approached him with the early manuscript for Moon Boy, he encouraged her to submit it to up-and-coming Wellington publisher Mākaro Press, who were already getting some success with YA books in the NZ Book Awards.

McIntyre was delighted when Mākaro Press accepted the manuscript and was looking forward to the launch in July, but he passed away in June.

‘I am sad John won’t get to read Moon Boy after all his support for it,’ says Sutcliffe, ‘but this book wouldn’t exist without him and I know it goes into the world with his blessing, so I feel he’s still part of it in some way.’

Unlike her last novel, Moon Boy is not set in Sutcliffe’s home town of Rotorua, but rather in a fictional town further north. However the descriptions of life at the local secondary school and wide use of te reo and tikanga Māori show the influence of the place the author lives and works. And as with When Romeo Met Mercutio, Sutcliffe writes about outsiders in school life – in this case the two main characters are both new to town, their mothers are partners and Eru, the moon boy of the title, is a Māori with blond dreads and a pale complexion and – worryingly – no ears. As the publicity says,
e is
oon than boy …’

Kathy Sutcliffe is proud of the issues her novel raises and that her protagonist and other main character are young Māori. Publisher Mary McCallum says, 'There is nothing quite like Moon Boy out there in Aotearoa at the moment. We can't wait to see what young Kiwi readers say about it, and we just wish John McIntyre was still here to be part of the excitement.'

Moon Boy launches at 5.30pm, Wednesday 19 July at McLeods Bookshop, 1148 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua, all welcome. If you can’t make the launch order a copy from McLeods or another independent bookseller. RRP $25. For ages 16+.

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