Going Off The Page In Palmerston North, 15-16 April

I’m going to be taking part in two speculative fiction events in Palmerston North in mid-April: a panel on the evening of Friday 15 April with writer Jessica Richards as one of Massey University’s regular Off the Page series of events, – and then a two hour workshop on writing speculative fiction at Palmerston North Library the following morning. Details:
Panel: 6.30pm on, Friday 15 April, Palmerston North City Library:

6.30pm: Reception
7.00pm: Panel discussion
8.00pm: Book signing 
Workshop: 10am-12 noon, Saturday 16 April, Palmerston North City Library (Writers who don’t normally write speculative fiction are welcome to attend!)
For more details, contact Palmerston North City Library: http://citylibrary.pncc.govt.nz/about-us/contact-us/
I’ve enjoyed my two previous trips to Palmerston North to take part in poetry readings – and I’m looking forwards to a return visit that takes advantage of a different side of my writing.

Tuesday Poem: Soprano, by MaryJane Thomson

The gloved hand tapping the table,
hiding its nail from the world,
clawing to come out and show you
things are never as they seem,
the stage is set, they’re ready to
 leave as you enter.
The gloves come off, time has passed,
it’s all too late, no stool to sit on,
just leather shoes on the floor board
and a lone figure smoking,
you wonder where they’re from,
you know you ought to know,
You’re looking for a way out,
like when at a party and someone
enters you into a conversation,
you see the exit,
their foot hits the ground,
you turn around, they shoot you dead
square between the eyes.
The gloves go back on,
the gun sits there,
they leave a trace.

Credit note: “Soprano” by MaryJane Thomson is published in her collection Lonely Earth (HeadworX, 2015), which is available from HeadworX.

Tim says: Whether the “Soprano” in question is Tony I’m not sure, but I like this ominous, tightly wound poem from MaryJane’s new collection.

MaryJane Thomson is an artist, writer and photographer living in Wellington, New Zealand. Her poems are from her second poetry collection Lonely Earth (HeadworX, 2015). Her website is www.maryjanethomson.com

MaryJane’s poems have appeared in Black Mail Press, Valley Micropress and broadsheet. Her first book, a memoir Sarah Vaughan is Not my Mother (Awa Press, 2013), was widely reviewed in NZ papers/magazines. Kim Hill interviewed Thomson in 2013. In 2015, the international website Outcryer (USA) featured her poetry.

My novella “Landfall” has been reviewed … in Landfall!

In the week that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar, I’ve had my own brush with a literary form of Inception: my novella “Landfall” has been reviewed in Landfall magazine (well, to be fair, the review is in the associated Landfall Review Online, but you get the point.)

Reviewer Michelle Elvy sets the scene:

The book opens with twin torpedoes sinking a rickety Bangladeshi river ferry carrying refugees just off the coast of New Zealand; and it follows two characters in alternating chapters towards an inevitable encounter with each other. We are first introduced to Nasimul, who survives not only the loss of his wife and son but also the sinking of the ferry and the ensuing firestorm of the determined New Zealand navy and finds himself, by the end of the first chapter, clinging to a remnant from a lifeboat, floating on the tide towards shore. The tone shifts dramatically when we come to the second chapter, in which we meet foul-mouthed Donna, a new and inexperienced recruit in the Shore Patrol who shows little potential but a good deal of enthusiasm.

and ends her review by saying:

Whether Nasimul and Donna will survive is one question, but also looming large at the heart of this timely tale is the dark space where fear of the unknown is met by firepower. Tim Jones deftly tackles the big themes of racism and xenophobia in the small space of this novella, and the reader is left with the unsettling knowledge that the problems that manifest in the littoral zone between first-world bravado and the needs of the rest of the world will not wash away with the tide.

For the most part, she likes what she reads, and as the author I found her review incisive and thought-provoking.

Thanks for this review, Michelle, and thanks to Landfall Review Online for publishing the review – and, of course, Paper Road Press for publishing the novella!

How to buy Landfall

Right, my path is clear. What should I start work on next: new literary novella “The Listener”, Donald Trump biography “The New Yorker”, or that adorable tale of a child who gets mixed up between his Grandpa and his Grandpa’s first name, a little thing I like to call “Granta”?