I think I must be the luckiest writer in the world because I have not one but TWO books available for pre-order now!
Music by bensound.com.
Lockdown was no barrier for award-winning Port Chalmers writer and illustrator Kathryn van Beek, who has two new books available for pre-order from Thursday 18 June.
“Lockdown didn’t make too much of a difference to me because I would have spent my evenings and weekends inside working on the books anyway,” Kathryn says. “Being a bit of a nerd worked in my favour!”
Both books will be launched in August in collaboration with The University Book Shop – but that’s where the similarities between them end.
Bruce Goes Outside is an illustrated children’s book. The second in a series about Dunedin’s most famous cat (Bruce, who has 74,000 online fans), the book shares messages of kindness and standing up for what’s right. The first book in the series, Bruce Finds A Home, was selected for the Little Landers Literature programme with The Highlanders, and is described by NZ Booklovers as “a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf”. Quality approved by the children at Port Chalmers School, Bruce Goes Outside promises to be just as delightful, and can be pre-ordered here on the Kickstarter website.
Kathryn admits she never thought a story about going outside would be so topical.
“After lockdown I think we can all relate to Bruce’s joy, fear and excitement as he explores the big, wide world.”
Pet is an illustrated collection of literary short stories that is definitely not for kids. Described by Steve Braunias as, “Hectic, chatty, very modern New Zealand, very, very readable,” the dark and humorous stories explore our relationships with children, lovers, and other animals. Pet can be pre-ordered here on the PledgeMe website.
Kathryn has been honing her craft as a short story writer for years – winning the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Short Story Prize along the way.
“It seemed strange not to acknowledge the global pandemic in the collection, so at the last minute I sneaked in a micro story about lockdown,” Kathryn says. “In a nod to all the birdsong I’d been hearing, I illustrated the story with a soaring welcome swallow.”
Kathryn says that both Pet and Bruce Goes Outside have been labours of love.
“I’d actually started working on Pet before my life was turned upside-down by finding Bruce as a day-old kitten on the side of the road almost five years ago,” Kathryn says. “I’m thrilled that I’m finally able to share both of these books with the wider community.”
Exclusive rewards are on offer for those who pre-order, including quality art prints and beautiful book plates (printed locally in Port Chalmers by DigiArt and Design). People can also choose to donate copies of Bruce Goes Outside to support the fundraising efforts of the Cat Rescue Network Dunedin, a charitable trust committed to helping stray and abandoned cats and kittens.
Get your copy
Bruce Goes Outside is proudly supported by Pet Doors R Us, Olive’s Kitchen’s Moggy Daily, and BlackCat Education.
Thank you to everyone who got in touch - about 150 people! Applications are now closed - I hope to get back to everyone within the next week or two.
I’m looking for actors / voice artists! My first collection of short stories, Pet, is being released this August – and I’m thrilled to have received Creative New Zealand funding to turn the stories into a podcast series.
About the book
Pet is a dark and humorous short story collection that explores our relationships with children, lovers, and other animals.
“Hectic, chatty, very modern New Zealand, very, very readable.”
About the podcast
The podcast will be made with Otago Access Radio in Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature. It will be available free via OAR FM and the usual podcast platforms.
Seeking actors / voice artists
I am looking for actors to read the stories for the podcast series. Payment is $25 per page, and the stories range from one to several pages long.
The podcast will be recorded at OAR FM, where social distancing and hygiene measures will be in place. The recordings will be undertaken in business hours during June and July.
In some cases it may be possible for actors to record themselves in home studios – however we would prefer to do the recordings in the OAR studio to ensure consistent quality.
There are 17 stories, I would love to have a wide range of different voices featured across the series – so if this opportunity tickles your fancy, please get in touch.
Expressions of interest
Expressions of interest can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send me your name, contact details, and if possible, links to your past work. Please let me know if you are able to record in the OAR FM studio or if you would like to be considered for an off-site recording, and if so, what recording gear you have access to.
Not all of the stories are dark, but some of them do cover animal abuse and sexual violence. Please let me know if you are comfortable with reading darker stories or if you would prefer a lighter one. I will try to match each actor with the story that works best for them.
Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash
I think I might be the luckiest writer in the world - I have not one but TWO books coming out this August!
Pet is a dark and humorous short story collection that explores our relationships with children, lovers, and other animals. In these 18 stories we meet a girl in a standoff with the neighbourhood goose killer, a druggy who turns possums into pop culture icons, and an emotional support animal gone wild.
Visit Goodreads to learn more.
Bruce Goes Outside
Kate’s tiny kitten wants to go outside. He struggles with the cat flap, annoys a bird . . . and ends up on the wrong side of the fence. What will Kate do? Bruce Goes Outside follows on from Bruce Finds A Home, which is based on the true story of Bruce the Cat.
Visit Goodreads to learn more.
I wrote and illustrated both of these books, which have both been labours of love. Bruce Goes Outside took me about two years to finish ... and Pet took a few more years than that! I hope you enjoy them.
Pre-orders will be available soon ... watch this space!
As a valued stakeholder of 'Kathryn van Beek: writer', please find your copy of my 2019 Annual Report below. The report is structured as follows: submissions, disappointments, successes, a tribute and a summary.
My goal was to make 100 submissions to journals, competitions, funding bodies etc, and I came close this year with approximately 81 submissions made.
These 81 submissions yielded 9 successes and 38 declines. Twenty-three submissions still await their fates, and I withdrew 11 submissions after the stories were accepted elsewhere.
Of those 38 declines, I would say that 35 were 'oh well' moments, while the other three led to full-blown 'what is the point in going on I should just impale myself upon my pen' crises.
I am also disappointed in myself for not finishing the illustrations for the second Bruce the Cat book (working on them now!).
A tribute to David
Writing the 'Best Book in the World' piece was one of the highlights of my year, and a real testament to the wonderful man behind the series - talented journalist and really nice bloke David Loughrey. Unfortunately David passed away recently. I don't know what to say except David, in the short time that I knew you, you really enriched my world. Thank you.
Summary ... and hopes for 2020
Though I didn't get the exact feather in my cap that I really wanted this year, I did pick up a bunch of other very nice feathers.
In 2020 I hope to publish both Pet and Bruce Goes Outside (my second children's book), and get a little further along on my doctorate of professional practice.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. I love Aotearoa's literary scene - everyone I've met has been so generous and kind. Wishing all of you a happy and successful 2020.
Wow - I didn't see this coming! I'm thrilled to share that I'm the winner of the Mindfood 2019 Short Story Competition.
The story, Flotsam and Jetsam, (published in the August edition of Mindfood magazine) is described as the 'unexpectedly poignant adventure of schoolgirl Amy and her mother'.
The competition was judged by Rebecca Thorne (HarperCollins), Jenny Hellen (Allen & Unwin) and Michael McHugh (Mindfood Editor-In-Chief), who had some lovely things to say, including:
"A wonderful example of the power of short stories"
"There's a gradual reveal throughout the story, leading to a complex and heart-rending ending that's perfectly pitched"
"I am looking forward to reading more from this talented writer"
The competition will run again in 2020 and I highly recommend entering.
What a strange, fun and stressful week it's been!
A graduate of Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters, I am the winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Short Story Prize. My short stories have appeared in The Sunday Star-Times, takahē, Fresh Ink and Bonsai. My debut short story collection, Pet, will be available from August, and is being released as a podcast. I have also written and illustrated two children's books about my rescue cat, Bruce.