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. 🙂

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.