Escalator Press

A bold new initiative from the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme.


Welcome to the second newsletter from Escalator Press. In this issue: 

•    upcoming launches and events
•    Q&A with Janet Colson, author of The Shark Party
•    our new books
•    a glimpse behind the scenes.


The launches of our next two books are drawing near. The books are here (some of you even have your hands on them already) and we're really excited about our events. All are welcome – we hope to see you there.

Run Thomas Run will be launched by Sir Anand Satyanand 3pm Saturday 1 November at Paramount Cinema Lounge, Courtenay Place, Wellington (find it here).

A former governor-general of New Zealand, and now Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, Sir Anand brings to this launch a profound understanding of the way in which race and culture shape individual histories – which is the stuff of Run Thomas Run. We are very honoured to have Sir Anand launch this novel.

As for The Shark Party – this will be launched 6pm Tuesday 11 November at the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University (located here). It’s very appropriate that the launch of this book, with its themes of contemporary art, is taking place at the Adam Art Gallery, alongside Simon Denny’s latest exhibition. 

Escalator Women: Janet Colson, Kate Carty and Adrienne Jansen read from and discuss their novels. 6.30pm7.30pm Thursday 6 November at Kilbirnie Library (map available here).

We also have a collaboration with the Embassy Theatre in the works keep an eye out for more details coming soon.

Q & A with Janet Colson

What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
I drew on twenty years’ experience in major gift fund-raising. I work in the arts. You meet a lot of interesting people and I’ve thought about the different ways people deal with things – wealth, for example. When you write a novel you throw everything you’ve got at it. I was interested in exploring the reactions of the central character, Carla, who is an artist, by placing her in an environment that runs counter to her creativity.  

You must have done a lot of research for this book, especially as it is based in New York. Were there any interesting experiences you had with this?
I used to spend more time in New York than I do now that I live in Wellington, but I did visit Manhattan earlier this year when we were in the final stages of producing the book. I was lucky enough to run into NYPD Officers Murphy and Marsh and check a few details about the Domestic Violence Unit operating in the city. One thing was clear – the issue of domestic violence doesn’t make a distinction between the social classes. It’s happening on the Upper East Side as well as in the Projects. The police officers were really excited about the story, so I’m looking forward to sending them a copy of the finished novel!

The Shark Party is an interesting title. What is the story behind this?
The title comes out of a line in one of the early chapters. Carla met her partner, Nathan, prior to the story beginning at fictional party given during the period between 2007 and 2010. This was when Damien Hirst’s work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The work consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde in a large tank – hence, ‘shark party’. The line presented itself as a title and it worked for me on a number of levels.

The parties you organised in your time in the UK sound as though they were extravagant, and the story of Prince Charles and Camilla is almost scandalous.
I wouldn’t say it was scandalous – His Royal Highness greeted Mrs Parker-Bowles, as she was then, with a kiss on the cheek when she arrived at the party at Somerset House. I mean he didn’t snog her or anything. But royalty and kissing is a funny business and it turned out to be their first public kiss. The next morning it was all over the papers. It took me a moment to realise it was the same party I’d organised. 
Janet has an MA in English and American Literature from King’s College, London, where she acted in numerous student productions, taking leading roles to the Edinburgh Fringe. She went on to become one of London’s most successful arts fund-raisers.

Go to Janet's page on the Escalator website for the full Q&A and more information, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Behind the scenes

Coming up with a design brief for The Shark Party, a book full of art elements, was a lot of fun. We had Damien Hirst artwork, Kurt Schwitters collages and New York imagery filling up our computer screens as we brainstormed ideas.

We were taken with the idea of graphically representing New York’s Guggenheim museum, not only because it plays a subtle yet symbolic role in the novel, but also because of its presence in the real world, and its striking and unique architecture. The view spiralling up through the central atrium, with its intricate skylight hinted at spiderwebs and entrapment. We are very happy with the way designer Megan van Staden developed this concept into a simple, powerful graphic. To illustrate the glamorous elements of the Guggenheim, and the novel itself, we brought a gloss finish into the cover and carried over the beautiful red of the book title into the inside covers.

Booksellers who would like an advance copy, please contact Paul Greenberg at Greene Phoenix Marketing.
Media please contact


The Shark Party by Janet Colson

November 2014

Art and illusion, possession and freedom are the heady components of this fast-paced psychological drama. 

'An engaging, evocative page-turner of a debut' Tom Goulter, FishHead

ISBN 978-0-473-29514-1, RRP $30

Run Thomas Run by Kate Carty

November 2014

The Odishu family’s escape from Iraq is at the centre of this powerful debut novel that draws on concerns of our time.

‘A haunting story that brings the devastation of Iraq’s tumultuous history to life and examines its impact on future generations. Highly recommended.’ 
– Mandy Hager

ISBN 978-0-473-29524-0, RRP $32

2015 releases

A Line of Sight, Adrienne Jansen

Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder, Rudy Castañeda López

More coming soon...

The Escalator Press newsletter will be in your inbox each month with the freshest updates and content from our authors. We thank you for your support so far and would love to know if there’s anything you want to see.
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