Emily Perkins wins 2009 Believer Book Award

Well known, and much acclaimed New Zealand writer Emily Perkins has won the fifth annual Believer Book Award for 2009 with Novel about my wife. The Believer Book Award winner is chosen by readers of The Believer magazine, from a short list of novels selected by the editors as representing the strongest works of fiction published in each year. Novel about my wife, although set in London, was completed in New Zealand when she moved from London to Auckland with her family. It can be described as a psychological thriller, ghost story or domestic drama and is her third novel, the others being, Leave before you go, published 1998 and New girl published in 2001.

An audience with Bryce Galloway

Second in our series of interviews with our favourite zine producers, we have Bryce Galloway, author of the longest running zine we know of, with one of the longest names: Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People. The WCL Zine Collection holds 30 issues, so come check them out on the first floor of the Central Library.

Describe an average day:

Exceptional. It’s all in my zine. Check it out.

How did you first get into zines?

I wanted to promote the release of a CD I’d put out and I wasn’t getting much help from the music press so I figured why not just print something myself.

Describe your work:

My zine work is autobiographical with a penchant for the embarrassing moment and everyday crisis. There’s also a bit of musing on the things that have immediate impact on my life, like parental gender roles and loss of youthful mojo.

What do you like about zines?

I like the immediacy and I like the modesty and pathos of the media. More “substantial” magazines can be so MOR (middle-of-the-road). There’s real personality in zines. The advertising and editorial pressures of the regular press can make for boring reading.

Is there anything you don’t like about zines as a medium?

No. I’m little surprised if a zinester tries to sell their $1’s worth of photocopying for $10 as there’s a bit of an ethic of accessibility which usually equals affordability.

How do you get inspiration for a zine?

I just stare at my navel, or my wife and kids, or my own expectations.

Tell us about some of your favourite zines:

Arlo Heynes is a local twelve-year old comic artist who draws great loopy narratives with titles like The Adventures of Steve and Human Buzz Fly.

Wellington musician Stephen Clover once made a zine called ‘Looking For A Fish-Drying Plant?’ It was so brilliant, he invested so much in it, that he hasn’t made a zine since. I wish he would. In one great piece of journalistic invention he flew around the country posing different dietary requirements like vegan and kosher so he could write airline-food reviews.

Auckland artist/musician Glen Frenzy has made some wonderfully dark tribute CD + zine combos about the late junky musician GG Allen, following those up with a tribute to Billy Joel!!! He inspired my own John Lennon tribute and a Madonna one that I have in the pipeline.

For more info about the WCL Zine Collection, please visit /zines

An Audience with Kerry Ann Lee

What is it that makes the world of Zines so exciting, creative and diverse? It’s the people that make them! We decided to ask some of our favourite zine producers some questions in a new series.

First up we have Kerry Ann Lee, renowned zine maker, distro runner, artist, designer and all round amazing woman…

Describe an average day:

Average days are such a rarity. They tend to start off the same. I get up approximately half an hour after my alarm. I have three different alarm clocks next to my bed and choose which one to set depending on how I best feel like waking up. One sounds like a bull-horn, one sounds like the X-files theme tune and the other one is an androgynous 80’s talking robot voice. I will most likely have coffee and cereal and read something. I will then either go and teach an art class or answer emails and keep abreast of current affairs on the internet. I will have a project I’m working on. This will probably be design work, zine making or making something. I may be writing a letter or putting together a care package I need to post to the other side of the world – that’s if my friends don’t catch me accidentally online on the internet and we start chatting about the weather in Italy, the traffic in Beijing or gigs in New York. My day often involves some form of caffeinated socialising, maybe some curly fries, veggie sushi, or mock deep fried drumstick (and if I’m lucky a game of chinese checkers with Sam). All the while I will be crossing off things on my ever-growing ‘to-do’ list like returning comics, zines and music to the City Library or purchasing everyday household items. Evening times are filled with either lots more work, hang-outs or the occasional smelly punk show. The later also entails late night eats and lots more slang talk til the wee hours.

How did you first get into zines?

Reading DIY NZ comic zines and anarcho punk fanzines like Profane Existence as a surly teenager. My friends started making zines in the mid 90s and I wanted in.

Describe your work:

angular, scratchy, furry, bountiful and green.

What do you like about zines?

The fact that the artist/author is also the maker, that they can be made by anyone, for anyone about anything, anywhere and the materiality of these things made from scratch. I also like that although many zines share common themes or interests, they tend to be very individualistic and often tend to defy category or cliques.

Is there anything you don’t like about zines as a medium?

Cost is always a mitigating factor in production and distribution. Also having been making these things for over 11 years, it is sometimes tiring having to still explain what they are and their value. I find I’m doing less of this now due to having an amazing public zine library and lots of inspired and enthusiastic people involved. ūüôā

How do you get inspiration for a zine?

Hearing crazy stories and bad jokes, reading lots of books and zines, watching old horror movies, meeting interesting people, encountering odd occurances. Wanting to learn more and share things to possibly amuse, educate and irritate others. I used to just hide away and emerge with a zine, but now I find I talk about it enough,involve other people through collaboration, submissions or interviews and then it has to happen.

Tell us about some of your favourite zines:

Radical! Cometbus, Scenery, Punk Planet, Doris, Dharma Punks, Child that Mind, Helter Skelter, Maximum RockNRoll, Thriftscore, Girlyhead, Flying Fox, Bamboo Girl, Keep in Touch, Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, Hodgepodge, Choice Guy, Ladyfriend, I Hate this Part of Texas, Enobled Mind, Burn Collector, HeartattaCk, Foodgeek, Is Not Magazine, This is Not a Comic, Johnny America, the list goes on…

Draw (or collage or photograph) a picture of yourself:

John Updike, American writer dies

John Updike the celebrated, award winning American author has died of lung cancer aged 76. He was a prolific writer, having 27 novels published along with 14 short story collections, plays and numerous volumes of poetry, essays and criticism. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction twice, the first for Rabbit is Rich in 1981 and the second for Rabbit at Rest ten years later. His most recent novel, published in 2008 was The Widows of Eastwick. This was a sequel to his 1984 novel, The Witches of Eastwick made into a motion picture starring Jack Nicholson. He was on the staff of the New Yorker magazine for many years and later became a highly regarded art crtic and reviewer.

Hard-boiled crime writer dies

James Crumley, the hard boiled American crime writer has died aged 68. He was a much acclaimed novelist, who published only seven private eye novels. His detectives were often drug-infused, alcohol-soaked, violent and enjoyed the use of profanities, but all were likeable, complex characters, that reflected some of their creator’s life experiences. His first published novel in 1969, was his only non-detective novel titled, One to Count Cadence. The Last Good Kiss published in 1988, was considered by most to be his best novel. The Right Madness was his last work published in 2005. He was divorced four times and is survived by his fifth wife.

Jenny Pattrick awarded top literary prize

Wellington writer Jenny Pattrick has been awarded the $100,000 New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize. This pestigious award covers her travel and living expenses for six months in France with time to be spent at the Villa Isola Bella in Menton, the south of France, where between 1919 and 1920, Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote. Previous winners include, Lloyd Jones (1989), Maurice Gee (1992) and Damien Wilkins (2008).

Jenny Pattrick is best known for her historical novels, The Denniston Rose (2003), Heart of Coal ( 2004) and Catching the Current (2005 ). Her latest work, Landings, is another historical fiction this time set along the Whanganui River.

Michael Crichton dies

American writer Michael Crichton has died after a long battle with cancer aged 66. He was a man of many talents, being a medical doctor, an author, film producer, film director , screenplay writer and television producer. He is best known for his science fiction and techno-thriller novels, selling over 150 million copies. The movies of his novels, Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World,  had huge global success. His first novel was published under his pseudonym John Lange, which he used until 1972, along with the name Jeffrey Hudson. He also wrote and directed 8 movies and created the popular television series ER, writing the first three episodes. Michael Crichton had strong views on global warming, which he expressed in his penultimate novel State of Fear published in 2004. His last novel Next was a futurist suspense thriller about scientific discoveries.

The Best New Zealand Fiction volume 5

The 2008 fifth edition of The Best New Zealand Fiction has this year been edited by the veteran short story writer Owen Marshall. Dame Fiona Kidman began the series in 2004, editing the first three volumes followed by Fiona Farrell in 2007. The latest edition includes a short story by Julian Novitz who won $10,000 for this year’s BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award for his story Three Couples. Previous winners of this award, Charlotte Grimshaw and Carl Nixon also have stories included in this fifth volume of stories, along with Craig Cliff a previous winner in the novice category.¬†The most recently reveived¬†New Zealand fiction can be found on My Library

American crime writer Tony Hillerman dies

book coverAward winning American crime writer Tony Hillerman died on 26th October 2008 aged 86. His first novel, The Blessing Way, published in 1970, featured Lieutenant Joe  Leaphorn of the Navajo tribal police. This character  became a favourite with readers, and when Tony Hillerman linked him to another equally popular character Sergeant Jim Chee, in the novel Skin-walker, published in 1986, it became a bestseller and won a Spur award from the Western Writers of America. All his eighteen mystery novels are set in the Navajo lands of south-west America and deal sympathetically with issues facing the Navajo people and their culture. He was awarded the best novel Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1973 for Dance Hall of the Dead.

Tony Hillerman also wrote children’s books, edited¬†numerous anthologies as well as several non-fiction books about the American south-west. His last novel, The Shape Shifter was published in 2006.

Nobel Prize for Literature 2008

The 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to a French novelist and philosopher, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio. Born in 1940, he spent his early life in Nigeria and several years in the 1970’s living with the Embera-Wouaan tribe in Panama. He has published more than 36 books, that include short stories, novels, essays and translations on the subject of Native American mythology. In 1980 his novel Desert was the winner of the Grand Prix Paul Morand award. This is one of his best known publications set in the Sahara, it is one of few works that address the relationships between France and her former colonies.