Tom Goulter on a small local press doing things a bit differently and the first chapter of this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards

Text-slash-artefacts

Toucan Can WhenWeWake_CVR_128x198x21.5_FA.indd NZPost_ChildrensBk_Awards_logo
Some­where in Cali­for­nia or Tuvalu or Ore­gon or parts unknown, stacks upon whirr­ing stacks of mag­net­ic data stor­age pile e’er high­er the records of our every social trans­ac­tion and PDFs of the nov­els we swear we’re going to fin­ish. We all know the Inter­net is Mak­ing Us Stu­pid and Killing Reli­gion and slowly irra­di­at­ing tomorrow’s chil­dren out of exist­ence right through the crotch of our jeans, but thanks to all-per­vas­ive online backups and way­back machines, nobody’s cat-pic­ture addic­tion is going to van­ish overnight. So, the hero­ic Messrs Snowden, Gre­en­wald et al. not­with­stand­ing, we’re prob­ably going to be star­ing at this thing for the fore­see­able future.

But even as we bleed our hearts out over the culture’s shared inab­il­ity to leave the pre­fix cyber- back in the 1990s, it’s worth remem­ber­ing that plenty of things aren’t marooned in the cloud. That lec­ture you wanted to quote from in an email you were work­ing on? Off­line only. The Short­land Street story arc that provided dec­ades-out fore­shad­ow­ing of last night’s cliff­hanger? Well come on, of course that’s not online. The per­fectly pre­served volume of loc­al verse, wait­ing for you at the end of the shelf right at the back? Why would that be online?

We’re inter­ested in inter­sec­tions both in the polit­ic­al sense and the mixed-media sense,” says Emma Barnes, co-founder of Cats & Spa­ghetti Press. Emma and Pip Adam, author of the Vic­tor­ia Uni­ver­sity Press-pub­lished Everything We Hoped For and I’m Work­ing On a Build­ing, launched Cats & Spa­ghetti out of a desire to share work that, as Emma puts it, “might not always get pub­lished because it’s a bit weird or in a dif­fer­ent format. Stuff that maybe needs a dif­fer­ent approach or is more multimedia.”

It’s con­tent that brought its own con­tain­er, print media that res­ists the trans­ition to PDF, words that care about the paper they’re prin­ted on. The imprint’s first offer­ing — Pen Pal, a one-off pamph­let of poetry from Sug­ar Magno­lia Wilson — launched earli­er this month at a read­ing-slash-launch-party to mark the birth of Cats & Spaghetti’s first text-slash-arte­fact. You can reach Cats & Spa­ghetti Press via — ahem — Face­book for leftover copies.

Mean­while — and else­where on the Inter­net — the Chil­dren & Young Adults’ por­tion of the 2014 New Zea­l­and Post Book Awards will be announced on 23 June. A triple show­ing from Wel­ling­ton kid-lit power­house Gecko Press sees new work from Joy Cow­ley and Eliza­beth Knox nom­in­ated in the Juni­or and Young Adult cat­egor­ies (Cowley’s Dun­ger and Knox’s Mor­tal Fire, respect­ively), as well as a nod for Juli­ette MacIver and Sarah Davis’s irres­ist­ible Tou­can Can. They join Pori­rua edu­cat­or Gay Hay’s second col­lab­or­a­tion with illus­trat­or Mar­garet Tolland, Watch Out, Snail!, also nom­in­ated for Best Pic­ture Book; as well as the likes of Kar­en Healey’s second work of ingeni­ous young adult fantasy, When We Wake — a clev­er far-future update of Sleep­ing Beauty, skil­fully extra­pol­ated from all the most press­ing con­cerns of our own cyber-inund­ated day and age.

About Tom Goulter

Tom is Fish­Head’s book colum­nist. A Mas­ter­’s degree in Cre­at­ive Writ­ing from Vic­tori­a’s Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Mod­ern Let­ters launched Goulter on the life of an itin­er­ant man of let­ters, wan­der­ing the frac­tious United states in search of.. whatever it was Peter Fonda and Den­nis Hop­per were after, prob­ably. Instead of get­ting shot by red­necks (yet), he returned to Wel­ling­ton, where he essays semi-reg­u­larly into pop­u­lar cul­ture, psy­cho-geo­graphy, under­ground film-mak­ing, and the uncanny in all its myri­ad forms. Not a day goes by that he does not wish Man­ners Street still had Crys­tal city on it.

About Tom Goulter

Tom is FishHead's book columnist. A Master's degree in Creative Writing from Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters launched Goulter on the life of an itinerant man of letters, wandering the fractious United states in search of.. whatever it was Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were after, probably. Instead of getting shot by rednecks (yet), he returned to Wellington, where he essays semi-regularly into popular culture, psycho-geography, underground film-making, and the uncanny in all its myriad forms. Not a day goes by that he does not wish Manners Street still had Crystal city on it.

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