Books from Rosa Mira

The Book of Hat

The Book of Hat

Harriet Rowland

“The real The Fault in Our Stars.” Auckland libraries

Harriet Rowland — known as Hat — was 17 when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that began in her knee. At the time she was a student at Queen Margaret College in Wellington, New Zealand.

Going through treatment was often a lonely time, as friends — while supportive — didn’t always understand Hat’s new life. This was until she fell in love with the character Hazel Grace from John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars, a girl who talks honestly and openly about living with cancer. Like her, Hat found life changed in ways that were both good and bad: falling in love and hospital stays among them. And she was surprised by how much happiness there was still to find.

Throughout her journey, Hat kept a blog called My Experience of Walking the Dog, and this book, first published in 2014 by Mākaro Press, is a collection of those posts edited with the author. Why the blog title? Her parents say cancer is like a dog — fine if it stays in its own yard. Hat’s dog got out. This is her unexpected story.

This way I will NEVER have to get a job, learn how to cook more than two-minute noodles or do anything mildly productive. I never have to grow up and I can forever be a kid! Though my ‘forever’ is shorter than most, I don’t mind. What I do mind is that I am going to have to leave everyone I love behind. Harriet

“Her writing is funny and truthful and wise, exactly like the Harriet we got to meet when she visited the set last year.” Peter Jackson, filmmaker


Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold

Pam Morrison & Annie McGregor

In the wake of news that her only sister, Annie McGregor, had terminal cancer, Pam Morrison began to write a journal. Very soon it became a shared container; a form of slow dialogue between the two, and a way to capture the mystery, beauty and bewilderment of their lives.

Over the following year, the ritual of shared writing provided a safe place for naming what was otherwise too tender to be spoken.

Pam and Annie's journal, Fields of Gold, takes the reader on a transformational journey. Its honesty, its eloquent, gutsy prose and imagery sound and resound deep within. This is a glorious, tragic, strong-hearted duet sung in celebration of life's multiplicity in the face of death.

With a foreword by Rita Charon, physician, literary scholar and the Founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.

Read excerpt now




Carolyn McCcurdie

Albatross: An elderly woman with spiked-up hair and a suicidal bent heads out to sea in her tiny boat; Evan Brody supposes he’d better go and save her.

Collision: Chrissie finds a noisy city apartment the unlikely venue for tender realisations about her partner and his contrary father.

Wings of Stone: Dell Donovan buys a house on the edge of town, trying to make peace with her past, her children, and the uneasy present in which a ghostly figure is nightly tearing up the garden.

Carolyn McCurdie writes with a poet’s lightness, a novelist’s grit and realism, and psychological astuteness that comes across as real life speaking, in tones fresh and subtle and true.

In three small human collisions that serve to challenge assumptions, Carolyn compassionately examines discomfort and how people grope their way through it, looking for what makes sense and finding (if they’re lucky) the something true about the other person, and so about themselves.

Three stories: three explorations of love.

Read excerpt now

Buy 2, Get 3US$3.00

Buy any 2 of these 3 new 10k eBooks and we'll send you the third one for FREE.

The Desert Road

The Desert Road

Lynn Davidson

Returning home for the first time in eight years, Tess hears the house nibbling and ticking around her as it used to; she takes in the familiar iron and dirt smell of the cold here in Turangi where she grew up, her Italian father a tunneller with the Tongariro Power Development.

Familiar, too, is the wariness between her parents and sisters concerning the event that has lain un-discussed between them for decades.

Kindled memory peels back time, to the days of crackling pumice roads and a makeshift kitchen at the mouth of the Tokaanu tunnel — and to the pivotal moment — before Tess left to pursue her musical career in London, before Maria lost the love of her life, before Jeanie, still a child, fled to be with Finn.

With its penetrating narrative eye and finely honed prose, Lynn Davidson’s story gathers to a shocking — then a tender — denouement.

... written with a poet's eye for detail and image [and] attentive to the power of silence. Charles Dawson, co-founder, Association for the study of literature, environment & culture, Australia and New Zealand. Read more.

Read excerpt now

Buy 2, Get 3US$3.00

Buy any 2 of these 3 new 10k eBooks and we'll send you the third one for FREE.

The Angel of Reshaping

The Angel of Reshaping

H.T.R Williams

When H.T.R. Williams arrived in New Zealand from his native Wales 18 years ago, psychosis soon hauled him from his everyday life into the inner underworld of mental illness.

With unflinching honesty, he traces his descent and his ancestry, searching for cause and effect. He describes encounters with the medical fraternity and others afflicted, and the disquieting atmospheres of hospitals and halfway houses.

On his disconcerting odyssey he meets his ‘Reshaping Angel’, that subtle inward presence which proves to be a faithful guiding and ordering influence even in the labyrinth of psychic chaos.

I've suffered a lot … but it's not tragic at all because it's made my life meaningful and has helped me to heal. I've come out the other side and made art of it, too.

H.T.R. Williams’s writing is smart, fresh and often funny, his story both rigorous and haunting.

Read excerpt now

Buy 2, Get 3US$3.00

Buy any 2 of these 3 new 10k eBooks and we'll send you the third one for FREE.

The Linen Way

The Linen Way

Melissa Green

Passionate about poetry and seeking guidance to write her own, Melissa Green embarked on a Masters program at Boston University in 1981 and immediately caught the attention of her teacher, Derek Walcott, and his friend the Russian Joseph Brodsky. Giants of American poetry and Nobel prize winners, they recognized in her a literary peer with an innate and dazzling talent.

In a parallel reality, Melissa was living a knife-edge existence, her life an unpredictable and embattled odyssey between poetry and despair, a pendulum-swing between fervent, luminous writing and sudden, ferocious bouts of suicidal illness. In a black shipwreck of a house, she hid away for years, caring for her demanding and difficult grandmother.

That she survives is our blessing; that she has retrieved poetry from the abyss is a timeless boon. As poet Zireaux writes: … having travelled to the outer reaches of human experience … with a fine-tuned lyre and Odyssean strength of purpose, Melissa Green reports her discoveries back home, in the language they demand.

In The Linen Way, Melissa walks the reader along the thin, perilous path between poetry’s affirmation of life and the unwelcome ghosts of hope apparently lost; a linen way, perhaps, but wrought also of fire and sulfur and the ironmonger’s hammer.

Read an excerpt

Reviews of The Linen Way


Winged Sandals cover

Winged Sandals

Martin Edmond

Having tried it before, he swore he wouldn’t again: Martin Edmond was a reluctant taxi driver on the streets of Sydney — three times taking up a trade like Charon’s, ferrying souls to keep himself in writing time. In this essay he explores the history and challenges of the profession, carrying the good, the bad and the delinquent through the underbelly of Sydney. He describes his ambivalence, coping with tedium, with idiotic or unsavoury behaviour and with his own early disinclination to work as a servant; how he made an accommodation with himself, finding a parallel in writing — and ultimately transforming his practice, allowing him to serve his clients with a kind of grace:

“Thus it makes perfect sense to treat them as honoured guests; and to do all that is in your power to bring them safely, happily, perhaps even changed, to their destination.”

Edmond is the sort of writer that makes you feel smarter, more creative and more civilised simply for having read him. Landfall Review Online

Martin talks about his work.

Martin’s website


The Siren cover

The Siren

Aaron Blaker

Summer. A relentless rain falls — on the houses, on the cemetery, on the rotting boards of the pier.

Hector arrives in a small East Coast town along with the millennial rains. He is captivated by the elemental beauty of the swimmer Marama, the community's own Pania of the reef. Alongside his obsession grows disgust at the squalid violence of daily life around him.

Ten years later, Eric and his daughter wash up in the township. Eric needs to know what happened to his brother, but the community, unnerved by his resemblance to that other stranger, wants to leave the past submerged. 

A finely calibrated story — deeply humane, and darkly uneasy.

Aaron Blaker's tale ... introduces an individual voice ... an emerging talent. Owen Marshal, in his introduction to Best NZ Fiction. 

Aaron talks about The Siren. Aaron's website:


The Happiest Music on Earth cover

The Happiest Music on Earth

Sue Wootton

Earle wants ‘more than anything in the whole entire universe to ride a roller coaster’ at the A&P show. At the same time he wants not to do the compulsive thing that takes him close, though never quite close enough, to bliss. Casting shadows over Earle’s hopes and fears are his father, Lloyd, and the man in the car that pulls up alongside, offering tickets for the show.

Margaretha dreads the ‘sweet zephyrs’ of spring that lure maids from the house where her husband labours over his ‘vats of stinking hell’ — seeking gold in urine. The new maid Hilda — ‘hot Hilda!’ — besides being a boon in a wintry bed harbours alchemical secrets of her own.

Lily’s mother sees shapeliness waiting to emerge from raggedy rosebushes, and from a gangly half-grown daughter. But a Saturday morning death and its awkward, bruising aftermath threaten the lovely forms.

Three stories that demonstrate the author’s verve and versatility, her keen eye and attentive ear.

Sue talks about The Happiest Music on Earth.


Amigas cover

Amigas A novel written in Spanish and English in Argentina and New Zealand

Elena Bossi & Penelope Todd

When Elena Bossi and Penelope Todd met in Iowa 2007, their default language was laughter. Penelope's Spanish was paltry; Elena's English was picturesque. Nevertheless, on parting, to sustain their friendship, they agreed to write a novel together in alternate chapters (and letters), each in her own country and language. In 2009, they met in Argentina to polish the translations of their story. Amigas presents both English and Spanish versions in one edition.

2009: in Argentina, a woman prepares to travel to Italy for a funeral. In New Zealand, two friends discuss art, loss, and how to accept life as it plays out. 
1969: a girl from New Zealand and another from Argentina are stranded in the airport in Rome. A friendship is forged and they exchange letters for a decade, until events take a sinister turn during Argentina's 'dirty war'.
2009: again in the airport in Rome, cancelled flights throw together two women whose lives have intersected in unexpected ways. 
The hidden threads of these friendships are drawn deftly together.

Amigas is a story of female friendships, how they are forged, how they endure across time and geography, how they stimulate and sustain.

The prose is cogent, clear and often shot through with silken lyricism. There is resonant, evocative work here that leaves a long emotional contrail in the reader. —Emma Neale 

Read excerpts in English.
Read excerpts in Spanish.


Road Markings cover

Road Markings: An Anthropologist in the Antipodes

By Michael Jackson

Internationally-acclaimed anthropologist and poet Michael Jackson travels his natal New Zealand, reflecting on the idea of origins. Visiting old haunts and old friends, he ponders the hold our histories have over us, and the enduring power of our first experiences in life. Jackson reflects on the ways we tell our life stories, write our national histories, assign value, allocate blame, and determine cause. His recurring theme is the tension between the forces that shape us and our freedom to take our destiny into our own hands.

Skillfully blending ethnography, history, philosophy, literature and personal reflection, he asks what it means to call a place or a time one’s own.

“Although our lives may not transcend our origins, we seem to need to believe that this is possible, as in the myth of Maui who sought to return to the womb and be born again.”

… exact, resonant and moving; beautifully wrought. Martin Edmond, Dark Night: Walking with McCahon.

Read Chapter Two


Slightly Peculiar Love Stories cover

Slightly Peculiar Love Stories

By a superb cast of New Zealand and international authors

Whimsical, intense, pensive or amorous — we bring you a love story for every mood, each a little unorthodox, mysterious, or slightly peculiar.

Slightly Peculiar Love Stories paint a grand mandala of experience and circumstance: love appears and disappears; it aches and it dares; amuses and amazes; hurts, heals and begins again.

Love preoccupies writers from New Zealand, Israel, Hong Kong, Argentina and Athens, the UK and the US. Their 26 stories have been selected and edited by Penelope Todd.

Learn more about our slightly peculiar writers here and on the Rosa Mira Books blog.

Read excerpts now, from some of our wonderful writers.


Glass Harmonica cover

The Glass Harmonica: a sensualist’s tale

Dorothee E Kocks

Finalist in the Utah Book Awards 2012

What becomes of a woman who strives to live by her own vital principal, to find and embrace her own ‘electrical’ impulse?

Young Chjara Vallé, full of irrepressible music and sensuality, is exiled from her Corsican homeland, sold as a servant to an opium addict in Paris. Music paves the way for her to flee with Henry, her love, to New England. There the new freedoms and Puritan vigor vie for ascendancy. What will the Americans make of this throat-singing, harmonica-playing exotic who lives to make a virtue of pleasure?


Read excerpts now, from the first chapter and from chapter 7.

Buy the paperback edition

View the video trailer.

Reviews of The Glass Harmonica

More about Dorothee