Fantastic Voyages: Writing Speculative Fiction went very well last night, in this reporter’s opinion – and also in the opinion of my fellow panelists. Under the expert chairpersonship of Lynn Freeman, Helen Lowe and I each read from our work, and fielded questions from Lynn and from an audience which included many writers and readers of speculative fiction. Some people told me afterwards they felt inspired by the event, which makes me very happy!
Anna Caro, initiator of New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, very kindly recorded the event after our original recordist wasn’t able to attend. You can find the podcast, and a brief report of the event, on Anna’s blog.
I’d like to thank everyone for their support and help: Random House New Zealand; Unity Books and in particular Anna and Cameron; Toi Poneke/Wellington Arts Centre and in particular Will; chairperson (and spec fic enthusiast) Lynn Freeman; my fellow panelist Helen; all those who came along on the night and the many others who couldn’t be there but sent their best wishes. Thank you!
UPDATE: Jenni Talula has written a report of Fantastic Voyages on her blog that made me feel very happy. And Sally McLennan has added a lovely report, with photos.
Hard on the heels of the news that a short story collection by science fiction writer Chris Beckett has won the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize, beating collections by Anne Enright, Shena Mackay, Ali Smith and Gerard Donovan, comes the slightly less big – but still welcome – news that Radio New Zealand (National Radio) is holding a panel discussion this coming Sunday afternoon (the 11th) on writing science fiction and fantasy. Here’s the official announcement:
2:30 Chapter and Verse
A panel of New Zealand Sci-Fi writers and publishers, on the on-going fascination with the future, and what the future holds for our Sci-Fi. On the panel are writers Tim Jones, Helen Lowe and Russell Kirkpatrick, and publisher Lorain Day from Harper Collins.
(Ooh, I do dislike that term “Sci-Fi”! It always sounds patronising to me – but I’ll learn to cope…)
Two of the panelists, Helen Lowe and Russell Kirkpatrick, are best known for their fantasy novels (though Helen is also an excellent short story writer and poet), so I expect to be holding the fort for science fiction and for short fiction.
If you live in Wellington, keep your eyes peeled for another writing event in September featuring Helen Lowe and myself – more details to follow!
Details of how to access Radio New Zealand broadcasts are available on their site (see “Ways to Listen” on the bottom left of the home page) and, if a podcast is made of the panel, I will put the link up here as soon as it’s available.
Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand has just been published. You can buy Voyagers from Amazon.com as a paperback or Kindle e-book, or from Fishpond in New Zealand. You can also find out more about Voyagers, and buy it directly from the publisher, at the Voyagers mini-site.
This afternoon, National Radio in New Zealand played an interview that Arts on Sunday presenter Lynn Freeman recorded with Mark Pirie and myself about Voyagers. The interview is now available as a podcast in mp3 format from the Radio New Zealand website – the address to download it is
While you’re in podcasting mode, you might also want to check out this Sunday Group discussion from earlier in the day about the Transition Towns movement – very interesting:
During the Voyagers interview, I mentioned – jokingly – the prospect of a second volume, given the number of poems we could potentially include, and the number of poets who have said they would like the chance to submit a science fiction poem or two. But what should the title be? I’ve got as far as Voyagers 2: The Voyaging. Anyone have a better suggestion?
My ten minute interview with Ruth Todd of Plains FM in Christchurch is now available online as a podcast. It can be played online or downloaded as an MP3 file.
Ruth and I talk about:
- my short story collection Transported
(which you can buy online through Fishpond or New Zealand Books Abroad, among others, or in person at an increasing range of bookstores)
- why some ideas turn into poems and others into short stories
- the benefits of diversity in a short story collection
- my disastrous attempt to impress a woman [you know who you are!] with my Russian accent when it turned out that her boyfriend spoke the language fluently
- the educational benefits of the Intermediate Section of the Invercargill Public Library
- being the child of assisted immigrants
- writing a short story about literary funding (come in, “Said Sheree”)
- acceptance and rejection from both the writer’s and the editor’s point of view
- The Frank O’Connor Award longlisting for Transported.
The interview was a lot of fun to take part in. I hope you enjoy listening to it.