October 11, 2015

I had planned to write on Patti Smith’s new book, M Train, this week. I had schmoozed a rep at Allen & Unwin to convince her I should get an advance copy. Days later it arrived, and I began. I had a list of books to read; I had a planned schedule, and M Train […]

October 4, 2015

For this one, I read a lot of reviews. It was my first Franzen, you see. But nevertheless, it didn’t feel right. So I needed to see what others, those who knew his work better, were thinking. Gawker proclaims, “Call a piece of shit a piece of shit!”, while The Atlantic is more ready to […]

October 4, 2015

“I sat on a curb in Takaka, trying to think clearly about mixed feelings. Being alone was what I wanted, being alone was not what I wanted… I wanted to want a regular life: the usual husband, the usual apartment, sidewalks, noises and so on. But I had left it, I had gone elsewhere…” In […]

September 20, 2015

Starling is New Zealand’s newest literary journal, focusing on fresh young voices. Poet and current Burns Fellow Louise Wallace is the person behind this initiative. I talked to her to find out more about the journal. With their first issue looming, she wants submissions—that poem, essay, or short fiction piece you’ve worked on might be […]

September 13, 2015

Murakami is both media-shy and simultaneously verging on over-exposed. His fiction is variously described as surrealist, mystical, fatalistic, and melancholic. These are adjectives that I agree with using, but find that by distilling his work into four words, it smoothes out the complex minutiae that recur throughout his oeuvre. I haven’t read all of his […]

September 6, 2015

Crouched on a stepladder near the crowd, with a zine tucked into my hands and my camera at the ready, I got that feeling I get when I’m part of an audience who are hanging on every word. The stool grew increasingly uncomfortable, and the noises of the Vic Books café soundtracked the event, but […]

August 16, 2015

Moments of revelation are a common phenomenon; you meet your future significant other, you see people you love come and go, you watch milestones unfold, and each moment seems to hang in a suspend state of permanence and transience. The same such revelatory moment occurred when I first read Joan Didion’s work. I remember lying […]

August 9, 2015

“Books, once they are written, have no need of their authors.” So wrote Elena Ferrante in a correspondence with The New Yorker’s James Wood. This lovely quip is intended as justification of Ferrante’s preference for anonymity (probably pseudonymity); why she insists on being reclusive, out-hermitting even Pynchon. We know that she’s a she because she […]

July 19, 2015

Makaro Press Annabel Hawkins (words) Alice Clifford (design) In a dimly lit Meow, with her glasses donned, Annabel Hawkins recites, between giggles, amid banter with the audience, a selection of poems from her debut collection This Must Be the Place. Hawkins adopts a wry smile and convinces the audience that she’s just “Jenny from the […]