05 August 2017

Poetry Day 2017, 25 August: Wellington and Hutt City Events


Hutt City

06 July 2017

Dan Davin Literary Foundation – Short Story Conference September 2017

I'm presenting a paper at this conference - alongside some rather distinguished writers and academics - scary but hopefully fun! I'm really looking forwards to it.

Dan Davin Literary Foundation – Short Story Conference September 2017
The Dan Davin Conference on the New Zealand Short Story – its traditions and departures – will be held 1-3 September 2017.

The conference is an opportunity to celebrate Southland-born author Dan Davin as one of the fathers of the modern New Zealand short story, and the development of the New Zealand short story to today. The short story has always been of significance in New Zealand literature, and continues to be an important form of writing.

Some of New Zealand’s foremost writers of the genre including Owen Marshall, Dame Fiona Kidman and Tracey Slaughter will attend.   Janet Wilson will be key note speaker. It will be the first conference for many years devoted entirely to the short story and its place in New Zealand literature.

The programme will begin on Friday 1 September with the annual Dan Davin Award presentation – this is a local Award in three categories – junior and senior student and adult. Janet Wilson will give the key note address focusing on Dan Davin’s war stories while also touching on Katherine Mansfield and examining the New Zealand-overseas and international frames for reading and interpreting short stories with a local origin.

Saturday 2 September
will be held in the drawing room of Invercargill’s majestic Civic Theatre. Throughout the day papers will be presented from a variety of writers and academics. Dame Fiona Kidman, Owen Marshall and Tracey Slaughter will present papers as well as participate in a panel discussion with Janet Wilson. Saturday evening will be a chance to relax and enjoy some local entertainment and cuisine.

Sunday 3 September
will begin with a bus trip to Bluff and the magnificent Te Rau Aroha Marae where you will be welcomed onto the Marae and into the Wharenui and treated to the stories of the carvings. This will be followed by several more papers and finally a delicious lunch featuring Bluff’s famous seafood.

For those able to stay into the afternoon (which we highly recommend) the bus will take you to Stirling Point and Motupōhue (Bluff Hill). And then you will head out to Riverton to visit Southland’s thriving coastal community.

For more information and to register visit our website: www.dandavin.org.nz

Dan Davin Short Story Conference 1-3 September 2017

Presenters List

Majella Cullinane
A Foot In Two Countries: Writing Short Stories as an Irish-Kiwi

Paula Morris
Short Story Writers or Readers?

Tom McLean
The intended audience of mid-twentieth century New Zealand short stories have been relatively little discussed.

Thom Conroy
‘Images that Wouldn’t Leave’: A Typology of Pleasure in Tracy Slaughter’s Short Fiction

Anna Smith
Ghosts on Dee Street: Scaring the crap out of the short story

Tim Jones
“Below the Thunders of the Upper Deep": The Visibility and Invisibility of New Zealand Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Frankie McMillan
'Every sentence, every phrase, every word has to fight for its life.' - Crawford Kilian

Craig Cliff
The moves in contemporary New Zealand short stories

Rebecca Styles
‘Show don’t tell’ and endings

Katie Wilson
Short stories of Phillip Wilson

James Eunson
Ballard of a Scarfie: A Love Letter to the Dunedin Literary Scene

Maggie Rainey-Smith
Reading short stories in prison

Kevin Ireland
Putting a gloss on a glossary

Keynote Speakers:

Dame Fiona Kidman
Digging for Truffles: Why New Zealand short story anthologies are important.

Tracey Slaughter
‘Something Very Red Comes Very Close’: Intensity and Short Fiction

Janet Wilson
Imagining New Zealand/Aotearoa; A Century of the Short Story

Panel Discussion:

Topic: Short Stories – How We Make ThemChair – Paula Morris
Panel – Dame Fiona Kidman, Tracey Slaughter, Janet Wilson and Owen Marshall
Register here: http://www.dandavin.org.nz/dan-davin-conference-2017.html

13 June 2017

My story "The Bycatch Child" is in Sponge Issue 1

I've been so busy lately that there are various bits of news I haven't blogged. Time to start catching up!

* My story "The Bycatch Child" is published in the first issue of Sponge, a new New Zealand speculative fiction magazine. Check out the lovely cover:

I've also recorded an audio version of the story for Sponge - I'll update this post once that's up.

You can also follow Sponge on Twitter.

30 May 2017

Tuesday Poem: Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs

Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs

1. Old man with a notebook

They find Messiaen entranced in the magic hour
between dawn and the day’s heat
wandering the woodlands, skirting marshes,
annotating the contrasting calls

of pipit and nightjar. For many hours
he has been walking the forest fringes, lost
in the ecstasy of birdsong, until scientists,
deferential, insistent, come to fetch him home.

“Tell me again,” he says, Loriod
holding his hand. “Your Institute’s machine
will carry us backwards in time
to the epoch of dinosaurs, yes?

And you wish me to join you,
travel back, transcribe their calls?”

2. Such exotic birds

In the fern-enchanted glade, the composer
transcribes the calls of these gigantic birds,
their plumage flaring glamorously
along high necks and feathered rumps.

His guards are restless, watches
synchronised to the end of their brief window,
when time will snap back 120 million years
to the basement of the Institute,

fluorescents crackling overhead, experimenters
blinking like owls in the light of their return.
But Messiaen sits timeless, notebook on his lap,
oblivious to danger, the forest alive

with death’s roar, life’s fluting cry,
the staves and quavers of the dinosaurs.

3. At Clichy-la-Garenne

Death, three-clawed, yellow-eyed,
stalks the garden at Clichy-la-Garenne.
In the pale spring sunshine, notebook
fallen at his feet, sleeps Messiaen.

Loriod is at the piano, practising
Réveil des dinosaures for her next recital.
The notes attenuate among the cries
of great and lesser birds.

The authorities closed down the experiment
when the consequences became known.
Messiaen kept only memories, scores, scales,
the eggs he grew to fierce companions,

and the hymns of praise that throughout time
have soared from feathered throats.

Credit note: "Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs" was published in takahē 89. I'm reading that issue right now and there is lots of good stuff in there!

Tim says: After my poem about Dmitri Shostakovich's visit to America, which actually happened, I take the bird-obsessed Olivier Messiaen on a more science-fictional journey this time round. Why do I do these things to my favourite composers??

The real-life Messiaen, Yvonne and Jeanne Loriod, and Messiaen's remarkable music are all well worth exploring!

10 May 2017

My First Three Books Now Available As Ebooks: Extreme Weather Events

As I posted a month or so ago, Headwork has made my first three books available as ebooks through Lulu.com. Time to look at them individually:

Extreme Weather Events

Tim Jones – Extreme Weather Events Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Extreme Weather Events was my first short story collection. It was published in 2001 by HeadworX, as part of their now-discontinued Pocket Fiction Series. There are twelve stories in Extreme Weather Events:

Maria and the Tree
Wintering Over
The New Land
The Kiwi Contingent
My Friend the Volcano
The Pole
The Lizard
Tour Party, Late Afternoon
Black Box
The Man Who Loved Maps
The Temple in the Matrix

To introduce a few, “Wintering Over” is set in Antarctica, where an isolated scientific party has an unusual visitor from the past: Titus Oates, that very gallant colleague of Captain Scott who went for a walk, and proved to be quite some time indeed. “The Pole”, also set in Antarctica, rewrites the struggle to be first to the South Pole. “Black Box” sees strange developments on the Wellington skyline, while “My Friend the Volcano” blows her top in Taranaki.

"Flensing" and "The Lizard" are pretty much the only two horror stories I’ve ever written. "Flensing" is set in South Georgia, which gives it a slight edge, I think. And "The Temple in the Matrix" pokes a few toes into the interstitial pond in a William-Gibson-meets-HP-Lovecraft-uptown kind of way.

The book got some good reviews and I still come across satisfyingly dog-eared copies in public libraries. Now you can buy it from Lulu.com.

19 April 2017

Takahē 89 Is Out And I'm Guest Poet

In late 2016, then-poetry editor Joanna Preston of takahē magazine asked me to be a guest poet for a forthcoming issue, and now that issue has been published! I really like the cover:

While I haven't seen the issue yet, I'm expecting the following poems of mine will appear in it:
  • Messiaen among the Dinosaurs
  • Composer
  • The Leningrad Symphonies
  • The Home of Country Music
  • Early Summer Music
  • The Hired Hand
They are all on a common theme (with variations), and as might be apparent from many of the titles, that theme is music. My musical tastes run from Schoenberg to Stormzy, but as I haven't a shred of musical talent, I'm much better suited to writing about music than making it. My first three collections all feature poems about music and musicians, but I took a break from that theme for my latest collection New Sea Land.

I was delighted to be asked to be the guest poet for takahē, and especially pleased that "The Hired Hand" was among the poems they accepted, as it's the longest poem I've written (84 lines) and my most sustained attempt at narrative poetry. Below, as a teaser for the issue, is the first stanza of "The Hired Hand". Subscribe to takahē to see the full poem and all the other fine work in this issue.

The Hired Hand [first of six stanzas]


The news breaks along the Oregon Trail, their van
panting up I-84 in the thin continental air,

coverage intermittent, Suzie snoring
last night’s last three drinks away.

Whether to call, or text, or let things
simmer for a while. Whether to bang her head

against the dashboard. Whether to look at the road
instead of synching and resynching her phone.

Boise: gas, toilet, then McDonalds. Suzie mumbling
like a broken boxer, mountain light stinging her eyes.

Then as coffee takes hold: “An album and a reunion tour?
And they didn’t call you about it? Again?”

“They might have kind of called,” she says.
Suzie calls her a fool and takes her hand.

Read the rest in takahē 89!