Reuben graduated from the Hagley Writers’ Institute in 2013.
Brindi Joy is a writer and editor in the backpacker industry. She has lived in Seattle, Denver, New Orleans and she currently lives in Christchurch where she makes the most of the mountains and the sea. She is a graduate of the Hagley Writers’ Institute and won the Year 2 Margaret Mahy Award for Best Portfolio in 2013. Her fiction has appeared in Landfall, JAAM, the Christchurch Press, Flash Frontier, Takahe and a recent collection of New Zealand short stories, Sweet As.
Guest editing The Quick Brown Dog was a privilege and a challenge for all three of us. It was also something of an eye-opener. As writers ourselves, we were able to experience the submissions process from ‘the other side’ and to forge a path forward through the jungle of personal, and sometimes very different, ‘taste’.
We came across fresh and intriguing offerings, pieces that took flight, tasty morsels and pieces that we would rather not eat but still wanted to keep. Reading these submissions was a delight and couldn’t really be described as work. Choosing between them, however, was more daunting. We gave every piece a fair appraisal, reading each one closely (several times) and then deciding on a shortlist. Fortunately when we compared selections, most were unanimous – but there were a few that required discussion, a degree of give-and-take.
Consider rereading this? This is what I get – what do you read? You’re quite set on that one?
This highlighted the fact that the selection process is always subjective no matter how objective the editors try to be. In our case at least two out of three of us had to want it (or be persuaded to want it) or it didn’t go in. So if your piece wasn’t selected, remember that one of us may have loved it.
We ended up with an impressive and diverse range of poetry, flash fiction and short stories. There are themes of survival, family, birth, death, time, memory and striving – the human condition reflected and revealed in its many guises. Love, as always, was prevalent: ‘She didn’t mean to bombard him with poems…’ (The Bombardment by Victoria Broome); ‘For you, I set my table with wooden spoons and meditate with keys like mala beads…’ (Metal by Viv Smith).
Thank you to our contributors for offering up their work and we wish them all success in their writing.
Celia Coyne is a freelance writer and editor living in Christchurch. She attended Hagley Writers’ Institute in 2012 and 2013, graduating with honours in both years. Since then, she has continued to pursue her creative writing. Her work has appeared in The Press, Takahe, Penduline and Flash Frontier as well as Fusion, an anthology of speculative and fantasy fiction, and Sweet As: Contemporary Short Stories by New Zealanders.