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Sweet As launch

Just a wee reminder that this is coming up next Tuesday. It’s for a good cause and everyone gets a 20% discount off the Recommended Retail Price on the night!

Date:              Tuesday, 4th November
Time:              5.30 p.m.
Place:             The Grand, 69 – 71 Courtenay Place (upstairs)

Here’s the list of contents and further information from the editors:

Sweet as contents

‘Sweet as’ is a typically New Zealand term meaning okay, cool, better than good, or even awesome. However, the stories in this collection are not all ‘sweet’ in the traditional sense. New Zealand is a country of light — both strong and bush-dappled — but it also has a dark side.

These short stories speak to us of the diverse world we live in. They take us on a journey, or offer a glimpse into another’s life. Some show the struggles, tough questions and challenging situations people face. Some stories are sweet or humorous, while others are quirky or just plain entertaining. They provide us with a snapshot of life in New Zealand and how New Zealanders experience life overseas.
For this collection, we sought contributions from New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. This gives a breadth of story lines — ‘sweet as’ in their variety and quality. Our aim was to continue one of New Zealand’s finest traditions: its strong culture of reading and writing, especially in the area of short fiction.
Links to more information:
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/about/events/book-launch-sweet-as-contemporary-short-stories-by-new-zealanders

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-As-Book-Project/385070231617937

eBook and book orders:

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-As-Contemporary-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00NTLG8HQ/

For more information email us at: SweetAsShortStories@gmail.com

Since 2008, I’ve been looking at all the poetry books published in New Zealand each year and reporting on the gender balance. That first year, a little over a third (36%) of the poetry books published were by female authors, but there has been significant change over the five year period and women are now responsible for almost half (47%) of NZ poetry books. Here is a graph showing how things have changed.

poetry & gender graph

The quality’s not great, sorry. For a better version, click on this link: poetry & gender graph

Another way of looking at it is that men (green in the graphs) were getting almost two thirds of the poetry publishing pie in 2008 and this was down to just over half in 2012 (mmm – pie).

poetry & gender pies

Click here for a clearer version: poetry pies.pdf

(Disclaimer: yes, I realise this is a very binary way of looking at things, but if anyone on the list is intersex or does not see themselves as either male or female, I wasn’t aware of it. I have made assumptions around gender according to whether the poets look male or female to me or have male/female-sounding names.)

Now, I don’t know the ethnicity of all the poets published in 2012, but out of the 55 poetry books published, I only noticed one that I know was written by a Māori poet, two written by Pasifika poets and none by Asian poets. So what’s with that? There are obviously plenty of Māori poets, as evidenced by AUP’s Puna Wai Korero – An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English. I look forward to seeing a body of poetry that better reflects our population make-up.

What is perhaps most alarming about the trends over the past few years is how few poetry books were published in 2012 – 55, compared with 88 in 2008.

poetry books graph

Better version here: Poetry books

The three main publishers of poetry in New Zealand remain Steele Roberts (13 titles in 2012, similar to the 12 published in 2008), Victoria University Press (12 titles in 2012 compared with 6 in 2008) and Auckland University Press (5 titles in 2012 compared with 8 in 2008).

My source, as usual, is The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (December 2013 48: 541553, Kirstine Moffat and Larissa Schumacher). The list includes a handful of books by New Zealand poets that were published in other countries. Thanks to Rebecca Pilcher for helping me source the latest information.

 

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