I had a really special morning on Saturday reading Bruce Finds A Home to the kids at Blueskin Bay Library. We heard another reading about a lost cat needing to find its home, and some lovely volunteers from Dunedin Cat Rescue came along and talked to kids too. Then the kids coloured in some Bruce colouring sheets. They did a great job of colouring in the sky, with beautiful Dunedin sunrises making quite an appearance, along with a wonderful Matariki star cluster.
I bought a fundraising catnip toy for our cat Jager (Bruce's 'big sister', and also a rescue cat) and she's was absolutely delighted with it.
I was honoured to be asked to read at Ōtepoti's National Flash Fiction Day today, where a group of local writers celebrated the shortest day by reading some extremely short fiction - the winners of the Flash Fiction and MIcro Madness competitions.
I read the Micro Madness piece Donor, by Tim Saunders from Palmerston North. I chose to read Tim's piece because there were shades of human / animal connection, a hint of death and a sense of history and future all contained in 46 words.
You can read all of the top Micro Madness stories here.
The Micro Madness winner, Susan Wardell, read her winning story Tī kōuka to us.
I also had the opportunity to read Over the Fields from Ballyturin House, 1921, by Rose Collins from Canterbury. Rose won second prize in the flash fiction competition for her mysterious and haunting story about an IRA ambush in Ireland. Tim Saunders came third, and I really enjoyed his dark yet humorous story, T is for Tiger.
The full list of winners can be found here.
It was a real treat hearing so many stories written, and read by, so many different writers.
A huge thank you to the wonderful Iona Winter for organising the event. Thank you also to Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, Otago University Press, Dunedin Libraries, the University Book Shop, and everyone else who contributed to the day. I'm already looking forward to next year's event!
This year the New Zealand Society of Authors AGM was held in beautiful Dunedin. I attended the afternoon sessions at the library - here are my rough notes.
To podcast or YouTube – getting your voice out there: Vanda Symon
Thanks, but no thanks – why agents turn people down: Chris Else
Getting the good word on copyright: Paula Browning
Te Reo in your writing – a when to, how to guide: Iona Winter
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.