Mandy Hager Says: ‘You Can Read Your Way Through Isolation’

As the current President of the NZ Society of Authors, I’m hearing many stories of local authors whose small amount of paid work has disappeared due to Covid19, says Mandy Hager.

‘For most of us who write, we make a tiny amount from the sale of books, supplemented by speaking events, festivals, grants and running workshops.

A paltry income for most

In fact, the average income for NZ writers is only $15,200 per annum (2019 CLNZ survey). As of now, all these opportunities have dried up.

Writers average income — just $15,200

Creative New Zealand (CNZ) pulled the plug on its latest funding round last week, stating that many of the applications for performances etc would no longer be relevant, and CNZ would address loss of earnings in a new way.

While it’s good to see them acting quickly, it’s worrying what the implications of this will be for writers, whose applications were most probably for amounts greater than will be offered in a support package.

As a sector, we are extremely worried.

A glimmer of hope

There is, however, one small glint of opportunity for local writers.

‘One small glimmer of hope’ for ur writers

With many, particularly those over 70 (and more as alert levels rise), now at home, it is a time when those who like to read could make a huge difference to local writers by buying NZ written and published books to support the industry.

You can order from your local bookstores such as Paperplus, even if you aren’t able to leave the house, or via websites such a Fishpond, or local booksellers such as Unity Books and the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie. 

If each of us put the money we would’ve spent in cafes and going to films into buying NZ books, it would be an invaluable contribution to NZ’s creative sector.

What a great idea! I recently bought Confessions of 2nd-hand Bookseller, about the biggest 2nd-hand bookshop in
the world, it’s in Scotland! Terribly well written by the bookseller himself. Now I’ll look for NZ books to order. All the best, Graham

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