Top authors boost library funds

22:14, Oct 15 2012
Michael Palin
AUTHORITATIVE TALKS: Michael Palin will speak at an event supporting the North Shore Libraries Foundation.

International bestselling authors Michael Palin and Ian Rankin speak within weeks of each other at events supporting the North Shore Libraries Foundation.

Hosting two such household names in such a short space of time is exciting for the foundation that this month celebrates its 20th birthday.

Palin, the legendary Monty Python comedian turned adventurous travel writer and television presenter, speaks on October 31.

Rankin, whose Inspector Rebus books are said to sell half a million copies within the first three months of printing, talks on November 12.

Both have new books out. Rankin's Standing in Another Man's Grave marks the return of Rebus after an absence of five years. Palin's latest, Brazil, is the companion book to his new series for the BBC. It's his first series for five years, too.

Libraries foundation secretary and Takapuna community library manager Helen Woodhouse says the events give fans a chance to feel closer to the authors.


Woodhouse says the authors often react in a personal way to the crowd, sometimes sparked by the questions they are asked. The high-profile events enable the foundation to raise the profile of its work, she says.

Woodhouse says the foundation helps provide special things for libraries they wouldn't normally afford.

Funds raised by the foundation have helped the new Birkenhead Library get a Jeff Thomson sculpture and furniture and it gained a lotteries grant that helped digitise North Shore historic photos.

In future it would look at projects such as the Northcote Library upgrade and Devonport Library plans to see whether it could assist, she says.

Foundation chairwoman Helen Gillespie says it's an amazing way to celebrate the foundation's 20th anniversary.

"Michael Palin has a huge following here as we know from previous visits," Gillespie says.

"And we look forward to hearing about his latest exploits travelling in Brazil.

"Ian Rankin is a brilliant writer of the murder mystery genre and an entertaining speaker from a city of famous authors, Edinburgh."

Tickets to both events, at The Spencer on Byron Hotel in Takapuna, are available from

North Shore Times