The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports

2001 Jan-June

The Press
January 15 2001

Varsity press still listing withdrawn Ellis book
by Yvonne Martin

Canterbury University Press is still promoting a book on the controversial Peter Ellis child-sex case that it is no longer publishing after a fallout with the author.

The publisher's website lists Dunedin author Lynley Hood's latest book, A City Possessed, among its new titles and allows readers to pre-order copies.

The listing continues despite Canterbury University Press (CUP) saying before Christmas that the book was about to be removed from the website.

Ms Hood confirmed in November that her book contract with CUP had been terminated. CUP said at the time that Ms Hood's manuscript exceeded the length stipulated in her contract and she would not agree to cuts.

Ms Hood said that she was astonished CUP continued to list her book.

CUP managing editor Mike Bradstock said in late December that negotiations over the contract's termination were still being concluded.

He said the book was about to be taken off the website and CUP was not taking any pre-orders. "It's been a painful business for all concerned."

A CUP employee could not explain why the book was still listed this year.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Society of Authors has complained to the University of Canterbury about CUP's continued promotion of the Hood book.

"They are advertising a book they have no intention of publishing. It's odd, as well as misleading," said the society's national president Joan Rosier-Jones. "This is a very important book and Ms Hood is a well-respected and important writer."

Ms Hood said several other publishers have been interested in taking up her book.

Ellis was convicted in 1993 of abusing children in his care at Christchurch's Civic Childcare Centre. He was released last February after serving two- thirds of a 10-year sentence. Retired Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum is investigating aspects of the Ellis case.