Monday, January 11, 2016

Beaut trees


Beautiful Trees is Nik Perring’s much anticipated follow-up to Beautiful Words, in which Alexander and Lucy’s story was told, and the second book in the genre-pushing trilogy ending with A Book of Beautiful Shapes.  

“There are many reasons to love [Beautiful Trees]. We are in a relationship with them for a start, […] like some sort of involuntary symbiotic love affair.”

There are many reasons to love Beautiful Trees. We get to find out what happens to Alexander when he meets Lily, for a start, “[a]fter Lucy went away”. Only, there are reminders of Lucy everywhere, little echoes, so that no matter how different trees may seem on the surface, the reader cannot help but notice how beautiful the words of the twenty-three stories in Beautiful Trees are, too.

Gorgeously illustrated by Miranda Sofroniou and published by Roast Books, Beautiful Trees is a visual treat of originality. Each page is printed and patterned with images that build on the symbolism revealed about the trees featured in the stories and add to the mythology of Alexander and Lily. The overall effect is one of opening a dictionary and finding that every definition not only has a map but also pinpoints another stop in the journey of a love story. 

But nothing is ever as simple as it first appears. Beautiful Trees is much more than a series of jigsaw pieces about trees and their relevance to the lives of Alexander and Lily. The book makes a much broader commentary on the significance of nature on all our lives. Not only the nature we are surrounded by, but the nature within us. 

Beautiful Trees makes us question what it is to be human, our mythology, to be connected to something greater than individual selves, and to think ahead to what may be. It’s really a book about choices, if we have them, or if we are in a bigger story arc, one where trees are the main characters, perhaps, and we are merely players, on repeat. 

“[…] without their leaves. Their bark was silver. ‘Like glowing bone,’ you said, and I knew then that we were the same.”

Nik Perring is a member of The Society of Authors, National Centre for Language and Literacy

"Nik Perring's stories are gems, every one of them" - 3 :AM Magazine

Follow him on Twitter: @nikperring

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Textual tennis

Introduction from Sexual Textual Tennis,
Copyright © 2015 by Carolyn Gage and Rachel J. Fenton


Back in January, I connected with playwright Carolyn Gage on LinkedIn. A few years previously, I'd asked Carolyn for permission to quote from her play The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and use her as a character in one of my stories, which she agreed to, so I was pleased when she messaged me the following:

"If you're ever looking to illustrate a graphic novel, esp. a lesbian one... I've got some!"

Although I was too busy with the NZ Book Council's Graphic Exchange Residency, and the subsequent graphic work that went into Island to Island, and Three Words, and I wasn't able to take on a large unpaid project, I still wanted to collaborate, so I suggested we take the text from one of the essays on her blog and turn it into a comic. Sexual Textual Tennis is the result. Also available in paperback and as downloadable pdf.

Friday, December 4, 2015

New shoes

I am utterly chuffed for Peadar and Collette O' Donoghue whose labour of love The Poetry Bus is finally receiving some long overdue recognition with a terrific review of The Money Issue in The Irish Times. And my "New Shoes, Another Brick" gets generously mentioned, too - many thanks to Martina Evans, The Poetry Bus and The Irish Times.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trees, words

Much gratitude to Nik Perring, author of Beautiful Trees (Roast Books), for inviting me on to his blog to talk about Three Words, which Nik had this to say about:

"It’s because the whole thing just drips with goodness – it’s the sort of thing that anyone and everyone should be excited about. It’s an excited thing". 

You can read the whole post here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Threes fame

Click on cover to pre-order
You can now pre-order your copy of Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa / NZ Women's Comics at a special pre-order price of $45! Estimated delivery date: 3rd of March, 2016.

"A brilliant, collaborative, manifold project, 'Three Words' features all kinds of comics from all kinds of Kiwi women, a vast and varied representation of the beautiful diversity that makes up women's comics in New Zealand – a completely unprecedented collection." Beatnik

With comics by Adele Jackson, Alex McCrone, Alex Wild, Alice Tumblescribbleson, Alie Macpherson, Andra Jenkin, Bek Coogan, Anna Crichton, Beth Duckingmonster, Beth Sometimes, Carolyn Anderson, Celia Allison, Claire Harris, Dawn Tuffery, Demarnia Lloyd, Diane Rimmer, Elsie Joliffe, Emma Blackett, Erin Fae, Debra Boyask, Giselle Clarkson, Indira Neville, The Rabbid, Jem Yoshioka, Jessica Dew, Jessica Hansell, Joanna Anderson, Judy Darragh, Kayla Oliver, Kerry Ann Lee, Lauren Marriott, Margaret Silverwood, Olga Krause, Linda Lew, Lisa Noble, Liz Mathews, Loux McLellen, Lucy Meyle, Maiangi Waitai, Marina Williams, Mary Tamblyn, Mengzhu Fu, Mirranda Burton, Miriam Harris, Pritika Lal, Rachel Benefield, Rachel Shearer, Rae Joyce, Raewyn Alexander, Rebecca Hawkes, Renee Jones, Rosemary McLeod, Warsaw, Sally Bollinger, Sarah Laing, Sarah Lund, Sharon Murdoch, Sophie McMillan, Sophie Oiseau, Stella Corkery, Susan Rugg, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Suzanne Claessen and Zoe Colling.

And essays by Robyn Keneally, Ruth Boyask, Jem Yoshioka, Miriam Sapphira and Rae Joyce.

Please pre-order Three Words and support us making history!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Et al knowing

There's currently a really interesting and important display on level 2 of Auckland Central City Library, giving a detailed and engaging summary of Aotearoa/New Zealand's contraception history and abortion debate.

It's a subject area I covered in my Dundee International Book Prize finalist novel Some Things the English, so I was very interested to read about the developments, and lack of them, in the law and archives.

I was pleased to see the reproduction of some of the Broadsheet magazine illustrations, having only become aware of this amazing and influential publication during my co-editorship on the Three Words Aotearoa/NZ women's comics and cartoons anthology (to be published by Beatnik very soon).

There's also an accompanying blog - the most comprehensive and readable research resource I've seen on this topic - at Auckland Libraries' Heritage & Research site "Heritage et AL".


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Refugees welcome

I'm extremely happy one of my stories is going to help refugees as part of the Refugees Welcome Anthology. My thanks and gratitude to Greg McQueen and team. More details to come!