20 February 2018

The 2018 National Flash Fiction Day Competition is open!

The 2018 National Flash Fiction Day 
competition is open!

This year, we introduce three categories for submissions: 

Adult (19+)
First Prize: $1000
Second Prize: $400
Third Prize: $100
Judges: Tracey Slaughter and Sue Wootton
Youth (18 and under)
First Prize: $200
Second Prize: $100
Third Prize: $50
Judges: Tim Jones and Patrick Pink

Te reo Māori Prize
Judge: Vaughan Rapatahana
Details at the NFFD site -- send your best 300-word stories by April 30!

Good luck to all!

11 February 2018

"Shortcuts: Track 1" Novella Anthology Gets Good Review From Simon Petrie

In 2015, Paper Road Press published my novella Landfall, and it was subsequently collected into the speculative fiction novella anthology Shortcuts: Track 1, edited by Marie Hodgkinson, which contains these six novellas from New Zealand authors:

Tim Jones explores desperation and betrayal on New Zealand’s shores in his climate refugee novella, Landfall.
AC Buchanan tells a story of creatures and people displaced in time and space in Bree’s Dinosaur.
Grant Stone’s tale of jealous muses and musical prodigy: The Last.
Lee Murray and Piper Mejia’s sci-fi adventure Mika throws the reader into an odyssey through a dystopic USA.
A husband with a secret in IK Paterson-Harkness’ Pocket Wife.
Grief, ghosts, and atoms: Octavia Cade explores Ernest Rutherford's discoveries of loss in The Ghost of Matter.

Shortcuts was well reviewed at the time, but it's always a pleasure to see another good, thoughtful review, so I was very pleased when my writer friend P.S. Cottier drew my attention to this review of Shortcuts by Simon Petrie:

Here's what Simon had to say about Landfall:

‘Landfall’, by Tim Jones, is a well-realised climate-dystopia piece that posits a future New Zealand with a ruthless, militarised ‘solution’ to the climate refugee problem. Nasimul, the apparent sole survivor of the deliberate NZ Navy sinking of an overloaded Bangladeshi river ferry off the coast of Auckland, must swim for his life in order to reach shore. Once he makes terra firma, fate decrees that his life depends on the actions of disaffected young Home Guard reservist Donna. This is a gritty, chilling, uncomfortable piece somewhat in the spirit of Greg Egan’s ‘Lost Continent’.

Thanks, Simon!

- Buy Shortcuts: Track 1
- Buy Landfall

27 January 2018

South Island Writers’ Association National Competition 2018 Closes Thursday 1 February

Writers are invited to submit Short Stories up to 3000 words and Flash Fiction up to 300 words

Nod Ghosh – short story judge

Short Story First Prize: $250
Short Story Second Prize: $100

Michelle Elvy – flash fiction judge

Flash Fiction First Prize: $100
Flash Fiction Second Prize: $75

Entries accepted by email only, no later than Thursday 1 February 2018.

A shortlist will be published on the SIWA website prior to the winners’ announcement, 15 May 2018.

The First and Second prize winning stories will be published on our website

Full info: https://southislandwriters.co.nz/competition/

11 December 2017

New Poem: Present Tense

Present Tense

While I think about my Dad in the present tense, he isn't lost to me.
While I can recall the layout of his house, he isn't lost to me.
While he still gets new email messages, he isn't lost to me.

28 November 2017

Big Book Bash this Saturday + Whitireia News Next Year

Big Book Bash

The Big Book Bash is a festival in Carterton this coming Saturday, 2 December, running from 11am-6pm, with a very full and varied programme.

Harvey Molloy and I will be running a workshop at the Carterton Community Courthouse:

1.30 – 2.30pm (Moves to foyer 1.50pm): Poems of Protest and the Environment, with Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy: Two activist poets and creative writing teachers read their poems and then lead a poetry workshop in the foyer. For 12+ years.
It should be fun!

Further Big Book Bash details are available...

On the web:

On Facebook:


Whitireia Creative Writing Programme has a new home!

I taught two "Writing Short Fiction" courses at Whitireia in 2016 and 2017, and all being well will be doing so in 2018 ... and the programme has a new home! Check out the details:

Creative writing is undergoing a transformation!

From 2018 the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme will be part of Te Auaha, Wellington’s new and visionary New Zealand Institute of Creativity. Writers will be able to work with visual artists, dancers, film makers, photographers, musicians and actors – over the next few years we’ll be developing a ground-breaking collaborative programme.

This is an exciting moment for us but it’s also very much business are usual—except in a purpose built arts campus. And we are still taking applications for our Diplomas in Creative Writing and our new degree, the Bachelor of Creativity (Writing) - you can find out how to apply here.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in pursuing their writing dreams,please be an advocate for our programme and referring them to us or the Whitireia or Te Auaha website 
www.whitireia.ac.nz or www.teauaha.com

01 November 2017

New poem: Pneumonia

About the last few months...

My father

After he fell, he crawled, his bed
an agonising hour away. Next morning,
he wanted nothing more than water.

The ambulance was quick and smooth,
but admission took forever. In ED, we watched
as the trolleys trundled slowly by.

Later, a ward, a bed of his own. Floor 5,
visiting hours, the path to his room
trodden into the base of my skull.

Two weeks of partial progress, then collapse.
Called to Hutt Hospital to watch him fade away.
He rallies, asks about the cricket;

I tell him, smile, hold his hand. He fades again.
“It isn’t looking good,” he says. I nod. The nurses
whisper, “Sleep somewhere close at hand.”

The call comes at 5am. By the time I’ve dressed
and driven over, it’s too late. Five minutes earlier,
he left his ninety-four years of life behind.

They leave me with his body and the gentle push
to clear the room, remove the corpse, pave the path
that starts with mortuary and ends in funeral.

An interlude

So much work. The funeral went well,
after that scare about the payment. The estate:
he chose wisely, bringing the professionals on board.

And his house. It seemed so bare, until we had
to empty it inside a month – that deadline
self-inflicted, an own goal worthy of the Phoenix.

So many journeys in his little car, brave tiny engine
conquering the motorway. Emptying Naenae,
filling Mt Victoria with clutter and memories.

Then me

As soon as we finished, pneumonia got me too,
grace note to a hard spring cold, breath short
and shallowing, heart racing to keep up.

Ambulance, hospital. Gentle and angry nurses,
kindness and rough treatment. A doctor who finally -
finally! – paid attention. Antibiotics prescribed

and a day later I’m discharged, back home
confused, dependent and weak, showing all
the self-control of a fretful baby.

Now perhaps I’m two or three. Emotions
flare and burn and dim. In the sunshine,
I take small steps, sit down, cry

at small and stranger things. A gradual
recovery, while outside, the world
points birds and insects at my ears,

suggests I could be getting on with things,
tests the limits of my energy, invites me to rejoin
the long descending trudge towards my end.

03 October 2017

Poetry Collection Launch: "Homeless", Poems by John Howell, Tuesday 10 October, 5pm, Wellington Central Library

I've heard John read a number of these poems, and discussed others with him. I think this will be a really fine collection of poetry, and I'm looking forward to attending the launch.

What's more, all profits go to a great cause - DCM Wellington.

If you can't make the launch of Homeless, you can order a copy through Mākaro Press.