An Open Mike, An Open Heart

An Open Mike

Just a couple of days now till the Voyagers Book Tour of New Zealand begins, and we have decided to include an Open Mike for science fiction/speculative poetry at the tour events for which we don’t have a full slate of Voyagers poets reading. Note the highlighted events on the tour:

14 Oct: Dunedin Library, 5:30 pm
15 Oct: Circadian Rhythm Café (72 St Andrew St, Dunedin), 7 pm
16 Oct: Madras Café Books (165 Madras St, Christchurch), 5 pm

19 Oct: Wellington Central Library, 5:30 pm
20 Oct: Paraparaumu Library, 179 Rimu Rd, 5:30 pm
22 Oct: Auckland Central Library, 5:30 pm
24 Oct: Depot Artspace (28 Clarence St, Devonport), 6:30 pm

At these bold events, not only will Voyagers poets will read their own and (in some cases) others’ work from the anthology, but there will also be an opportunity for other poets to bring along their own science fiction/speculative poetry (we won’t be too strict about definitions) and read it at these Voyagers events. I already know at least one poet who, inspired, is setting out to write a poem or poems specially for the event they plan to attend. You can choose to do likewise, or simply to come along, sit back, and listen!

An Open Heart

I have been known to criticise Creative New Zealand on occasions, notably when they slashed the funding of the New Zealand Poetry Society in 2008. But it’s only fair that I should also acknowledge the good things they do: a number of books in which I have had stories published would not have been possible, or would have had a smaller print run, without Creative New Zealand funding.

Last year, I was the guest editor of Issue 26 of JAAM Magazine. I was happy to take on the task because JAAM published some of my earliest fiction and poetry and has continued to be a hospitable home for my work over the years: so it was a good chance to do something for JAAM and for writing in general in return. I didn’t expect to be paid, and I wasn’t.

But, a couple of weeks ago, I received a very nice surprise with my subscribers’ copy of JAAM 27: an ex gratia payment for editing Issue 26. A note from publishers Helen Rickerby and Clare Needham said that the payment to editors had been made possible by an increase in this year’s Creative New Zealand grant for the publication of JAAM, which also allowed an increase in this year’s payment to contributors.

So, thank you Creative New Zealand!

4 Unrelated Topics A Writer Can Shoehorn Into One Blog Post

Apparently blog titles with numbers in them, like “6 Writing Lessons From Jane Austen”, are very effective in attracting traffic. So I thought I’d try one.

Kapiti Date Added To Voyagers Book Tour

The Voyagers Book Tour of New Zealand has added an extra date: There will now be a Voyagers event at the Kapiti Library on Tuesday 20 October. Up and down the country, Voyagers poets will be reading their poems in the home towns. I’ll be taking part in the Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington events, and I hope to see you somewhere along the way!

Pat Whitaker Launches His Latest Book

Kapiti Coast author Pat Whitaker launched his latest book, Returning, in Otaki on Sunday 27 September. I had hoped to make it to Otaki for the launch, but a slavering monster called Huge Backlog Of Work snuck up and stuck its claws in me, so Pat, I hope it went well! Anyway, follow the link to find out about Returning and Pat’s other books.

JAAM 27 Hits The Shops

The latest issue of literary magazine JAAM, edited by Ingrid Horrocks, has recently been released, and it’s now hitting the independent bookshops that stock it. I have two poems in this issue, “Family Man” and “Over Islands”, and within its pages you will find some superb poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction, a good deal of it written by people whose names have appeared in this blog over the two years of its existence. You can find out more about this issue over at the JAAM website.

Rachel Walker’s cover image, and Anna Brown’s cover design, for this issue are particularly striking, too:

(image courtesy of Helen Rickerby)

Belletrista Is Launched
is a new website dedicated to celebrating women writers from around the world. To quote from its introductory statement:

Welcome to the first issue of Belletrista, a nonprofit, bi-monthly magazine celebrating the wonderfully varied literary work from women writers around the world. Whether you are a seasoned reader of international literature or someone just beginning to travel beyond your literary shores, we think you will find something, from far or near, in this issue, to intrigue you.

The editor of Belletrista is Lois Ava-Matthew. I met Lois, and many of the other contributors, through LibraryThing, the combination social networking site/personal cataloguing system for booklovers. An interview with New Zealand author Eleanor Catton is one of the features of the first issue.

Although all the writers being celebrated are female, not all the reviewers are, and I am contributing a review to the second issue. If the first issue is any guide, subsequent issues should be well worth reading.

You can follow Belletrista on Twitter: (and while you’re at it, you can follow me on Twitter as well:

Borges in Spain, Extreme Weather Events, Interviews, JAAM 27, and Summer Flings

Borges in Spain

My brief review of Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Poems has been reprinted in the Spanish/English online literary magazine, in their fifth issue, which focuses on the intriguing and apt combination of Borges and the Kabbalah.

This is the third issue of Yareah I have seen, and they are always interesting. Yareah is keen for more contributors, and if you do contribute, you get a rather nice online profile on their site – so, if you are intrigued, check them out.

Extreme Weather Events Reviewed

Mike Crowl has posted a review of my first short fiction collection, Extreme Weather Events, on his blog. Mike chose EWE as the book to take with him on a recent visit to hospital – as you’ll see from his blog post, I did suggest that EWE wasn’t the ideal post-op book, being quite dark and all, but he got a fair bit out of it all the same.

Author Interviews: 2008 revisited, and my first interview for 2009

Within the next week or so, I’ll be posting an interview with New Zealand author Sue Emms on my blog. I will be aiming to run roughly one per month this year, assuming enough willing victims fall into my net. In case you haven’t seen them, or are feeling nostalgic, I ran interviews in 2008 with the following authors:

Helen Lowe
Harvey Molloy
Helen Rickerby
Jeanne Bernhardt
Tania Hershman
Lee and Nogi Aholima

JAAM 27 Reminder

A wee reminder that submissions for Issue 27 of JAAM magazine, edited by Ingrid Horrocks, close at the end of March.

Things I’ve Been Enjoying Lately

A carefree late-summer selection …