Voyagers for Sale, Stand Up Poetry, Online Voting for the Vogels, and James Dignan’s New Exhibition

Voyagers for Sale

Mark Pirie and I are still waiting for the contributors’ and review copies of Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand to make their way to the shores of Aotearoa, so we can start sending them out. But it is already possible to buy – or at least order – Voyagers online, as follows:

  • From as a paperback or Kindle e-book (search for “Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry”)
  • From Fishpond in New Zealand.
  • From the publisher, via the Voyagers mini-site which also has information about and excerpts from the book.

And a poem from Voyagers has already gone cross-platform! (That sounds good – I hope it makes sense.) Meliors Simms has produced a video version of part of her poem “Two Kinds of Time”, which appears in the anthology. You can see it and read about it on Meliors’ blog, and also see it as part of Helen Rickerby’s initiative, NZ Poets on Video. It’s well worth watching.

Get Up, Stand Up

I will be the featured reader at Stand Up Poetry at Palmerston North City Library on Wednesday 3 June at 7pm. Helen Rickerby was the May reader, and it sounds like she had a great time; Harvey Molloy is reading in August; if someone can tell me who’s reading in July, I’ll mention them too. I’m looking forward to it – come along if you are in the Palmerston North area and hear my repertoire of anecdotes for the first time!

UPDATE: As Helen Lehndorf has reminded me, and I should have remembered, Glenn Colquhoun is the June reader. Helen Heath will be reading in September.

Online Voting for the Vogels

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards, New Zealand’s equivalent of the Hugo Awards, will be awarded at ConScription, this year’s National Science Fiction Convention, being held in Auckland at Queen’s Birthday Weekend. There’s a very strong field of finalists, and yours truly has two finalists (Transported and JAAM 26) in the field for Best Collected Work.

Members of ConScription and of SFFANZ, the administering body, are eligible to vote – and if you join SFFANZ (it costs $10 per annum) you can vote online until 27 May 2009. I encourage you to do so.

James Dignan’s New Exhibition

Dunedin artist and reviewer James Dignan has his fifth solo exhibition, “The Unguarded Moment”, at the Temple Gallery, 29 Moray Place, Dunedin from May 15-28, with the opening this Friday (the 15th) from 5.30-7.30pm. I recommend it! You can find out more about the exhibition, James’s art, music and writing, and his past exhibitions on his website.

Of Montanas, Skodas and Likeable Things

Montana Book Awards

The biggest thing first: congratulations to all the winners, and all the nominees, in the Montana Book Awards, which were announced in Wellington on Monday night. In particular, I want to congratulate Mary McCallum, who won the Best First Book of Fiction and overall Reader’s Choice Awards for her novel The Blue, and Jessica Le Bas, who won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for her collection Incognito. Charlotte Grimshaw’s Opportunity – a short fiction collection – won the overall Fiction award, and Janet Charman’s Cold Snack the Poetry award.

The Skoda Diaries

The Skoda Diaries, a new story by me – one of my short, weird ones – is now online at Southern Ocean Review, which also has a nice capsule review of Transported and a number of other books (including Swings and Roundabouts: Poems on Parenthood).

If you seek a key to the Skoda, you might want to read up on the history of the Social Credit Political League. Of course, most of this particular short fiction is fiction, but the “controversial construction project” referred to in the Wikipedia article was the building of the Clyde Dam on the Clutha River – the moment when Social Credit jumped the shark.

Likeable Things

Groomed by a Bird, a poem by Emma Barnes

The cover of My Iron Spine, a poetry collection by Helen Rickerby

St Clair Apartments, a painting by James Dignan

Why I Write, an examination of motives (one motive per blog post), by Sean Molloy

Blogs in Their Summer Clothes – 2

This is the second in an occasional series highlighting blogs and other sites to which I link from “Books in the Trees”. In the first instalment, I said a little bit about the blogs of Harvey Molloy, Helen Rickerby, Giant Sparrow, Meliors Simms and Kay McKenzie Cooke. Here’s another four blogs, and one web site, worthy of your attention.

  • I mentioned in the first instalment that Harvey and Helen’s blogs had served as role models for me when I first set up this blog. That’s true, but going a little further back, it was Fionnaigh McKenzie’s blog Beautiful Monsters that first made me realise that a blog could be a work of art – not that I’m claiming the same status for “Books in the Trees”. Fionnaigh, who was another member of the CREW 256 “Writing the Landscape” class in 2003, is a fine poet who infuses her blog with the same spirit as her poetry.
  • I met Edwin McRae through the New Zealand Society of Authors Mentoring Scheme. As well as being a cyberpunk writer, Edwin is a storyliner for Shortland Street – so he knows the inside goss before anyone else, because he thinks it up!
  • Reading the Maps is a multi-author blog about literature, Marxism, and much else besides. I got in a bit of a stoush with them over their coverage of Bernard Gadd’s death and literary/ideological views, but I still return there regularly for refreshing literary and political opinion.
  • James Dignan has a website rather than a blog – but “Blogs and Websites in Their Summer Clothes” sounds cumbersome, so I’m not going to change the title. I have known James for many years – since around 1986, in fact, when we were both involved in organising Halleycon, that year’s NZ National Science Fiction Convention. A writer and musician when I first met him, his career as a visual artist and art reviewer for the Otago Daily Times has since taken off.
  • Finally for this instalment, I don’t know John Crowley personally, but I do know and love his fiction, which occupies a space all of its own, somewhere between metaphysics, fantasy and realism. High points of his career include Little, Big; the Aegypt tetralogy; and The Translator. He’s the only fantasy writer I know whose work has been ringingly endorsed by Harold Bloom

Enough for now. But I’ll be back with another five blogs (or sites) to watch out for sometime in the not too distant future.