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Escalator Press news and interviews July – August 2019

Book giveaway: win Rob Hack’s collection 
We are marking National Poetry Day on August 23 with a book giveaway. Email us at escpressnewsletters@whitireia.ac.nz with the correct answer to this question to enter the draw for a copy of Rob Hack's poetry collection, Everything is Here: Which of our authors, listed on our website, founded Escalator Press? 
Escalator Press faces uncertain future
By Adrienne Jansen, Publisher, Escalator Press

Whitireia Polytechnic has announced the closure of its Creative Writing Programme, which means there will be some changes at Escalator Press.

Escalator Press was established by the Creative Writing Programme in 2013 in response to a number of quality manuscripts written by graduates. We also wanted to publish new and distinctive voices and perspectives.

The Press’s brief was to publish both new and established writers with some link to the programme – as students, graduates, tutors, mentors or assessors. Since the programme is over 25 years old, it’s a big pool to choose from!

Since 2013, Escalator Press has published 12 books; four have been shortlisted for national awards. We’re proud of the consistently high quality of our books and the wide scope of our vision – we’ve published writers originally from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as novels that are set in Iran, the United Kingdom, the United States and, of course, New Zealand.

Readability and excellence have both been focuses, and we think we’ve achieved them. We developed a new financial model and a collaborative way of working with authors. We’ve enjoyed, and greatly benefitted from, our partnership with the Whitireia Publishing Programme.

But the Creative Writing Programme has been integral to Escalator Press. With its closure, there are some unknowns. We want Escalator Press to continue, but at present we’re not sure what that will look like. We’re open to suggestions and to possible partnerships.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual.
Meet our new author, Petra Molloy
Petra Molloy is an Auckland-based writer. Her first novel, Chosen Boys, will be published by Escalator Press in October.

How long have you been writing and what has that journey been like?
 
I’ve loved writing ever since I can remember, and it has always been a challenge to find the time for it. Life was busy with five children and a vineyard and all the commitments of a large extended family. I just scribbled for the most part, attended every creative writing group I could, completed creative writing papers through both Auckland and Massey universities and scribbled some more. Two years ago, I completed the Whitireia Polytechnic Diploma in Creative Writing. It was a wonderful course and it is because of Mandy Hager’s support and advice that I was able to finish writing Chosen Boys.
 
What was the jumping off point for your new book?
 
It was the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic Church and the profound sense of betrayal it left with me.
 
Do you have a particular spot where you like to write?
 
I don’t generally like to closet myself away. Usually it’s in the living room on a big old table. So, when my children or grandchildren call in, I’m there. I can stop and talk. Or when I cook dinner I can dip in and out of whatever I’m working on.
 
What is the last book that you really enjoyed?
 
The last book I read and enjoyed was Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.
 
Are there any books or authors that particularly inspire you?
 
I guess there are too many to list. But the one that always comes to the fore is Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernières.
Rob Hack celebrates National Poetry Day in New Plymouth
Escalator Press writer Rob Hack (above) is heading to New Plymouth to join a group of poets to celebrate National Poetry Day this August. Paekakariki-based Rob published his collection of poems Everything is Here with Escalator Press in 2016. The book was praised for its sense of place and wry humour.

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is a nationwide event taking place this year on 23 August. NPD was established in 1997 as a way to not only celebrate poetry, but to also encourage young writers to engage with poetry and have a hand at trying it themselves. The
2019 calendar, which shows when and where the events will take place across the country, is published on 1 August.

Rob is currently compiling a new collection, with 30–40 poems already in progress. Two of his latest poems are in the upcoming edition of the 
4th Floor Literary Journal, available online in November. He is reading his work at Poppies Bookstore in New Plymouth on 22 August.
Blind Foundation makes accessible version of YA novel
We recently caught up with Vicky Tyler (above) from the Blind Foundation about the new accessible versions of L.J. Ritchie’s book Like Nobody’s Watching, which was originally published by Escalator Press in 2016. Here’s what she had to say about it:
 
What drew the foundation to Like Nobody's Watching?
 

The book was a finalist in the NZ Book Awards, which I understand is one of the main reasons the Youth Library is keen to add it [to the collection]. The subject matter is also very topical.
 
In what accessible formats will the book be produced? 

The book is being produced in braille and audio. The braille format is for our blind and low-vision students and the audio is accessed by those with limited vision and also a print disability.
 
What is involved in the process and what stage are you in now?
 

The braille format has been produced and has just finished the proofreading process. This can be quite lengthy because a volunteer will read along with a braille proofreader to ensure the braille format follows the printed book and there are no errors. The book will now be printed in braille, and then sent to our studios to be recorded by a professional narrator.
 
How will people be able to access these new formats? 

Members of our Youth Library [will be able to] access the formats directly or via an RTV (Resource Teacher Vision) who can also order through the Youth Library for students. These formats can only be accessed by people with a vision or print disability.
 
Like Nobody’s Watching is a fast-paced young adult novel about a group of teens hacking into their high school’s surveillance system with all the best intentions. Available in print from all good book stores and our website.
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Escalator Press · Whitireia New Zealand · SX33471 · Wellington, Wellington 6011 · New Zealand

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