There is a pretty special Nayland connection in the recently launched collection of “epic” New Zealand men’s stories by author and former Nayland student Stuart Lipshaw.
The book is titled ‘Oh Boy’ and features some stunning artwork by various artists, as well as a section on another famous Nayland alumnus – Paralympic gold medallist Liam Malone.
Stuart Lipshaw now lives and works as a publisher at Penguin Random House in Auckland and, though this is his first book, he’s dreamed of writing for much longer than that.
“That’s sort of why I got into publishing. About 10 years ago I tried to write a novel and sent it out to all the publishing houses and got the standard letters of rejection back. […]. I sort of thought the best way to maybe get published would be to learn about the publishing industry, be around writers, make books and if an opportunity came up, I’d be there,” he said.
Stuart says he can’t take the credit for the idea behind this book – featuring such diverse men as war hero Willie Apiata, pacifist Archibald Baxter, film icons Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, and dancer Neil Ieremia – as it came out of the success of previous female-focused collections such as ‘Go Girl’ and ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’, also published by Penguin Random House.
The focus on men’s stories was deliberate. “Sometimes it’s really hard to get boys to read and boys need the same thing – to be inspired to choose their own path and follow their dreams – whether they want to be a writer or an architect, or an athlete or a fashion designer, they need to know that those paths are all available to them too,” Mr Lipshaw said.
Liam Malone’s story – accompanied by illustrations by Neil Bond – was one of the first that Stuart Lipshaw wrote. “The Paralympics were still fresh in my mind. He was someone who I though just had such a positive outlook. Then when I learnt more about his story and quite recently he’s been talking about all the anxiety and stuff he had – it’s so important to be talking about those sorts of things. I really wanted to get someone who had that message into the book. He’s pretty inspiring.”
Stuart Lipshaw emphasises that all of the men in the book have had their challenges and that overcoming these has been key to their success. “All these people who’ve achieved amazing things, they’ve all had obstacles, they’ve all had doubts, they’ve all had times when they’ve thought ‘I should just stop, I should just take the easy way’ but then they just pressed on and they’ve been able to do amazing things as a result.”
‘Oh Boy’ is available from booksellers nationwide.
By Sera King