Indie Publishing Roundup Autumn 2017

Here’s the quarterly Pantograph roundup of what’s happening in Aotearoa New Zealand indie publishing.

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Indie: A small independent; unaffiliated; an obscure form of art which one learns about from someone slightly hipper than oneself. Here’s the quarterly Pantograph roundup of what’s happening in Aotearoa New Zealand indie publishing.

Anahera Press

On May 17th, during Auckland Writers Festival week, Anahera Press will release a new novel, Five Strings, by distinguished Māori writer Apirana Taylor. The novel is a poignant and humorous love story about Mack, a larger-than-life street philosopher, and Puti, a former gang member looking for something more.

Of writing Five Strings, Taylor says: 'It began as a doodle in one of my note books. After a few sentences I felt I was on to something…I just wanted to write a simple love story based on two characters caught up in life’s destructive dance. To a large degree the book is about damaging life styles. I wanted to portray the sadness of wasted lives.”

Five Strings will be launched at Auckland Central City Library, Lorne St, 6pm on Wednesday 17th May. All welcome. 

Freerange Press

Freerange Press have released the next installment of Freerange Journal, which is a series that focuses on 'issues of design, pirates, politics, eggs, and contemporary wisdom.'

Freerange Vol. 11: Institutional Love explores a proposition towards a more nuanced and caring approach to institutions. The contributors ask, Do institutions matter? And if so, how can we take better care of them? This journal brings together a range of voices to instigate and nurture a dialogue around the means and ends of institutions and bureaucracies. If bureaucracy is not (always) a dirty word, what other language and knowledge can we learn from institutional workers and participants that can help improve existing institutions?

Mākaro Press

In May, Mākaro Press will publish Wolf by Elizabeth Morton, Dylan Junkie by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, and Family History by Johanna Emeney as part of their Hoopla poetry series.

Wolf is the critter of humanity. The one who has known loneliness and love and yet is still alone. And the noise in Wolf ’s head is not somebody he recognises. In her first collection of poetry, Elizabeth Morton writes of what it is to be on humanity’s outer rim, writing the noise in her head.

From the moment in mid-1965 when the urgent, cheeky, street smart rap of ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ burst out of the family radio, Bob Dylan’s voice has been embedded in the soundtrack of Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s life. The poems of Dylan Junkie grasps at the man that changed us, enraged us, and mystified us right until the moment when he was awarded, and grudgingly accepted, the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016.

In Johanna Emeney's collection a family’s history turns on its head when a mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Beyond the shock of discovering the disease, there are questions raised about genetics – all the more difficult when the mother’s an adoptee. Emeney brings her family history to the page in all its uniqueness and ordinariness, and challenges the medical approach that can forget the person inside the patient.


The latest issue of Brief features a mix of emerging and established writers, with work by forty contributors from Aotearoa and elsewhere. Brief includes prose, poetry, vispo, hybrid forms, explorations, reviews, and art. It is a biannual print journal published by The Writers Group and printed by Brett Cross of Atuanui Press.

Of the journal, editor Olivia Macassey states: 'I think of brief as a kind of moving, floating island: one of those places that appear from time to time in fables and myths, populated by all kinds of curious and chimeric denizens. Appearing in the midst of things, it is a site of contingencies but also resolutions, an isle of amusements, mysteries and wonders.'

Cold Hub Press

Lyttelton based Cold Hub Press have two collections coming out in May: Taking My Jacket For a Walk by Peter Olds and Waking by a river of light by John Gibb. 

In Peter Olds' new collection, the Dunedin poet revisits his 1950s childhood, destroys a stadium, encounters Basho returning from a hike on Mount Cargill, imagines Robert Falcon Scott’s last night in Dunedin, and asks the big question: 'Childishly I ask for a sign: / a sign of some sort to show the way clear, / a path that might lead to some meaningful place.'

Many of the poems in Johnn Gibb's Waking by a river of light explore life’s puzzles and miracles. In this collection, light and darkness flicker around the planet, starting and ending each day, in a jerky silent movie rhythm. The collection uses several strange encounters to explore themes of friendship, humour, and loss. 


A new issue of broadsheet will be released in May featuring the work of Fleur Adcock, Peter Bland, and Michael Harlow, among other well-known New Zealand writers. broadsheet is a non-profit New Zealand poetry periodical in chapbook form edited by Wellington writer and HeadworX publisher Mark Pirie.

Text Publishing

Okay, Text Publishing is an Australian publisher, but they're the three-time winner of 'Small Publisher of the Year' and publish New Zealand writers, so we are giving them an honoury mention. In May, Text are publishing Expecting by Chitra Ramaswamy who won the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year in 2016. 

When Chitra Ramaswamy discovered she was pregnant, she longed for a book that did more than explain what was happening within her growing body week by week. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to write her own. Searching for the right words and images to describe what she is going through, Ramaswamy draws on the work of poets, writers and artists: Mary Shelley and Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois, among many others. The result is both an exploration and celebration of this most extraordinary and ordinary of human events—an intimate journey through the nine months of pregnancy and birth.