Escalator Press and young writers

Escalator Press describes itself as a ‘learning press’. Learning is in its DNA – encouraging new authors, working alongside them at every stage of the process, providing authors with media training, workshops on websites etc, working with the publishing students at Whitireia, taking on interns – it’s quite a long list. But over the last month we’ve had another role, as part of the ‘Creative Writing for Youth’ programme at the Hutt Library. In fact, we’re a big part of the programme.

Escalator authors Rudy Castañeda Lopez, Trish Harris and Rob Hack all talked about their writing experience, and Adrienne Jansen talked from the publishing point of view. And that’s a big point of view these days, when the options for publishing have really opened up. Most of this group of young writers are working on their first novel, so we might see them before long!

On the experience, Rudy Castañeda Lopez writes:

Rudy at the launch of Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder

Rudy at the launch of Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder

It was a very pleasant experience. I didn’t know what to expect, whether there would be two that showed up or thirty. As it turned out there were a very respectable dozen high school students.

I did a brief reading (one minute) then they did an exercise. In this case they chose an image from a carefully chosen wide variety of possibilities then they had to write for seven minutes from the point of view of one of the subjects in the photo. Then, after that, write another seven minutes from the POV of another character, then another. I was invited to participate and, despite my fear of being shown up, I plunged in with satisfying result. I might even make it into a short story.
Some of the  students read from their efforts and I was very impressed at the quality of their work. Afterwards I told them about my own journey in writing, my methodology, talked a bit about short stories vs novels and finally tips I wished I had been given when I started writing – basically to write a lot, take risks, embrace failure as a catalyst of growth and to read.
They were very attentive and asked intelligent questions. In all, I was there for two delightful hours and would go back in a second.

 

See Hutt City Libraries website for more information on this great programme.

Creative Writing for Youth

Hutt City Libraries is offering young Wellington writers a great opportunity to get some writing done and pick the brains of local authors, scriptwriters, publishers, poets and lyricists. The line up includes three of Escalator Press’ own authors.

The sessions will run from the 10th of August until the 21st of September and are free to ages 13 to 21.

You can catch Rudy Castañeda López, artist, novelist and author of Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder, on August 17th, Trish Harris, poet and writer of the memoir The Walking Stick Tree, on August 24th, and Rob Hack, performer and poet of Everything Is Here, on August 31st.

For more information see the Hutt City Libraries website.

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults News

We’re very excited to have another Escalator Press author shortlisted in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults this year.

Erin Donohue’s Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong is up for both Best First Book and the Copyright Licensing NZ Young Adult Fiction Award. The awards kick off on the 8th of August.

You can find out some of Erin’s writing secrets, and those of her competition, in this wonderful article by The Sapling.

Ebook Deal: Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder

We would like to invite you to download a free copy of Rudy Castañeda López’s Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder which at the beginning of this promotion jumped to the top of two of Amazon’s free ebook bestseller lists. It appeared as #1 for US Historical fiction and #4 for Literary Fiction.

Fifteen-year-old Jackson Ryder has always loved art, but in the wake of his mother’s death, he must choose between his passion and his grieving father’s approval. Pulled from his New York home and thrust into the melting pot that is San Sebastiano, California in the 1960s, Jackson finds himself embroiled in an era of assassination, an emerging art scene, the Civil Rights Movement and The Beatles. As he learns how to deal with life, death and a new found interest in girls, drawing is the only thing stopping his world from spinning out of control.

Now is your chance to read this captivating novel for free. Just click here. Available until 7pm Sunday 3rd of June.

Ebook Deal: Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong

For the last week of May, Erin Donohue’s debut novel Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong will be available to purchase on Amazon for $1.14.

Click here to take advantage of this amazing price.

Erin recently took part in the Auckland Writers Festival on a panel with Guardian Fiction Prize winner Alex Wheatle and Eileen Merriman called Can We Be Frank? which explored the difficulties of writing about big issues for a younger audience.

This ebook deal will last until midnight on May 31st.

 

Book offers valuable insights 

 

Arthritis New Zealand Policy Advisor, Jane Wilson, is finding The Walking Stick Tree a valuable resource.

‘I had made the decision over Christmas to buy some new books which I could learn from. The Walking Stick Tree was one of those books. I found it useful to hear of historical treatment methods, to hear Trish’s lived experience from diagnosis as a child to present day and found her sections where she reflected on arthritis and disability really insightful and useful in my work.’

Jane and author Trish Harris can be seen here at the ‘Let’s Talk: our communities, our health’ forum where they met by chance recently. ‘It was great to meet and chat to Trish. Her book’s a recommended read for people to understand the lived experience of arthritis, but also just as a fantastic read. I particularly liked the cover!’

Erin Donohue book launch

Erin Donohue shares the story behind her bestselling YA novel.  This powerful coming-of-age story follows 17-year-old Caleb Evans as he struggles to hold his life together while everything around him is falling apart. It comes as no surprise to us that it was recently the 2nd highest-selling New Zealand children’s fiction title on the Nielsen bestseller list. There was barely a dry eye in the house as Erin shared the experiences that inspired her novel; we are sure you will be moved by her speech too.

To read the speech click here

The Apology: Stories on the Four Winds: Ngā Hau e Whā.

Helen Margaret Waaka, author of Waitapu, is continuing to write about this small fictitious town. Her short story  ‘The Apology’  which is included in a new collection from Huia Publishers, explores an event occurring in Waitapu in more depth.

The collection, Stories on the Four Winds: Ngā Hau e Whā, edited by Brian Bargh and Robyn Bargh is a finalist in this years Massey University Ngā Kupu Ora Awards, in the Te Tuhiinga Auaha – Creative Writing Category. It brings together twenty short stories from eighteen New Zealand writers.

The Apology’ will appear in some form in the book Helen is currently working on, Still Waters, a novel and sequel to Waitapu.