This Friday I'll be flying down to Palmerston North to chair a session in Massey University's "Off the Page" series of writers events at the City Library from 6.30 pm (there'll also be an open mike reading from 5:45-6:30). These events are jointly sponsored by the School of English and Media Studies and the Palmerston North Public Library.
The panel I'm in charge of will be focussing on short fiction, and includes renowned writers Owen Marshall, Jaspreet Singh, and Tracey Slaughter. Books by all three of the panelists will be available for sale from representatives of local independent bookseller Bruce McKenzie Books.
photograph: Liz March
Owen Marshall needs no introduction, I should imagine: he is, after all, probably the most celebrated virtuoso of short fiction in New Zealand. I've never met him before, though, and am greatly looking forward to it.
The amazing Jaspreet Singh, whom I met for the first time yesterday at the Signalman's House in Devonport (aka The Michael King Writers Centre), where he's staying before flying down to Palmerston North to take up the Massey University writer-in-residence position there for the next ten weeks, is probably better known for his two novels Chef (2010) and Helium (2013), but actually began as a short story writer.
His first book, Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir, published by Véhicule Press of Montreal, won the 2004 QWF McAuslan First Book Award. He tells me he has a number of other short stories in stock, but of course commercial publishers will persist in preferring full-length novels ...
I have to say that I'll be particularly excited to introduce Tracey Slaughter to the audience, though. Bronwyn and I are both great admirers of her work, and we're therefore very pleased to announce that Pania Press has just published her novella The Longest Drink in Town. You can find out more about this publication here, and if you'd like to order a copy of it, please try here.
Tracey has a somewhat larger collection, Deleted Scenes for Lovers, due out from Victoria University Press in early 2016, but this is her first stand-alone book since Her Body Rises (Random House, 2005) - though of course her stories have appeared in many, many magazines and anthologies since then.
The Longest Drink in Town is available in an initial print-run of 100 copies.