I am thrilled to accept the ALCOHOL SPRONSORSHIP PRESS AWARD for the week, administered by NZ media star Steve Braunias, for my work on the Penguin and Tui story below (More Bad Penguin). It is not that we are rum drinkers. I think it might be the greatest highlight in my writing career to date, supplanting my pride at being voted second most popular writer (beaten only by the TV reviewer) in the local paper some time ago. Fame and rum await, if not fortune.
1) The second edition of the Tui NZ Fruit Garden – is it an improvement on the first version which was withdrawn from sale with indecent haste this time last year? (Subtitled: why cooks should keep to writing recipe books and not over reach themselves with garden books.)
2) Podocarpus henkelii – a handsome, slow growing, evergreen tree from South Africa in Plant Collector this week.
3) Garden tasks for the week as autumn
slowly morphs into winter.
1) To say that we were simply amazed to see that Penguin is reissuing the Tui NZ Fruit Garden in May would be an understatement. Same cover, same author. This is the book they withdrew from sale extremely quickly a year ago when the massive problems of plagiarism and inaccuracy were pointed out to them. Presumably the text has been reworked because the early blurb refers to it being in conjunction with a panel of industry experts. It is to be hoped that industry experts include people with extensive personal experience in growing these plants at home throughout the country and not just the commercial producers who want to sell their plants. That aside, it is astonishing that Penguin appear to think that sticking with a discredited and blitheringly ignorant author is just fine. Are we really meant to have such short memories?
2) Alcantarea regina (or is that geniculata?) in flower this week.
3) Garden tasks for this week as autumn officially starts.
4) The third part in our series of step by step compost instructions – this time making cold compost which is the common technique for home gardeners.
Unbelievable. The second most read entry on this website is the piece on plagiarism I wrote last May which resulted in a lightning quick withdrawal from sale of Penguin’s publication: The Tui New Zealand Fruit Garden by Sally Cameron. Even now, that article attracts several hits most days. But Penguin clearly think the public will have forgotten. Exactly a year later, they will be releasing the new version of the book. To all intents and purposes it looks the same, but apparently this new edition has been written “in conjunction with a panel of industry experts”. Well that is a relief and shows that some notice may have been taken of the earlier shortcomings, but what on earth made them think that the author, Sally Cameron, has any credibility left?
Are we to see this new edition released with all the usual hype and hollow accolades for the author? I fear it is likely, given the early blurb on Penguin’s website: The Tui NZ Fruit Garden [PDF] It is a good topic, Penguin, and you produce good looking books. You just needed a credible author and a new look. Will you be offering to replace the withdrawn copy with the new edition for those who were unfortunate to waste their money on the first attempt?