We are delighted to present the Quick Brown Dog for 2020 (4th edition), the literary journal of the Hagley Writers’ Institute.
The Hagley Writers’ Institute plays an important role in the development of writing in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. It also contributes to the literary landscape of Aotearoa, New Zealand by strengthening the community of writers here, alongside slam poetry, Catalyst, the Write On School for Young Writers, takahē, the Canterbury Poets Collective and other forums.
In this journal you will find work from current students, graduates, mentors, and tutors; emerging writers alongside more established names. We stepped away from the usual stipulation that work for the journal should be unpublished because we wanted to showcase the overall achievements of Hagley writers.
There aren’t any common motifs or obvious influences that define a ‘Hagley style’, but the pieces we chose displayed skills of craft such as meaning that was felt not said, interesting and original uses of language, and effective symbolism or figurative language. Strong imagery was noticed, and a sense of flow and rhythm in the line or sentence didn’t hurt. In poetry, thoughtful line breaks and the element of surprise also caught our attention. Most importantly though, work with a strong sense of voice stood out.
We are conscious of the context in which we are releasing this edition of the QBD journal. Writing and reading in the midst of a global pandemic almost seems like a feat of resistance against constant distraction and worry, alongside a gradual acclimatisation to risk. We’ve done all this at home, which is why we wanted to highlight the arena in which 2020 has played out: in our living rooms, bedrooms, backyards, front doorsteps, and kitchen tables.
To create this issue, current Hagley tutors Zoë Meager and Frankie McMillan took on mentoring roles to supervise our editorial efforts. We are grateful for their support and guidance over the past few months, and to Zoë especially for the mahi she’s done behind the scenes.
Alongside Frankie, we would like to recognise Morrin Rout and Bernadette Hall, as mainstays of the Hagley course. Thanks also to the tutors and mentors who support students every year. And a massive thanks to Creative New Zealand who provided the funds to pay contributors, editors, artists, and layout specialists.
We hope The Hagley Writers’ Institute will continue to provide a springboard for emerging writers in Christchurch to take their writing to the next level. As editors, we are proud to represent the Hagley community. It’s a privilege to be able to read people’s writing, and a responsibility to judge it fairly. Thank you to everyone who submitted work to the journal. Keep writing, keep submitting, and best of luck for future endeavours!
Kaye Gilhooley, Chris Stewart, and Toni Wi