During one of my lunch hours this week I had occasion to go to the city end of Lambton Quay (M. needed her ring resized; turns out the ring finger on her right hand is a few sizes bigger than the one on her left), and went on to Unity Books on Willis Street where I saw a pile of my books in the window. Sweet! There were also a stack on the NZ New Release table (general props to Unity for reserving the most prominent retail spot for NZ writing) and another eight or so copies on the alphabetical NZ Fiction shelves round the corner. Apparently, there's plenty of copies at Unity in Auckland, too. And a workmate tells me Parsons on Lambton Quay are already on their second order. Go the independents, I say.
They've announced the short-list of the 2010 Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. A Man Melting was on the 58-strong long list, but it was always a long shot that I'd make the top six and earn a trip to Ireland (now that would have been sweet).
Congratulations to the six short-listed authors:
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Picador UK, 2010) by Robin Black
Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press, 2010) by Belle Boggs
Wild Child (Bloomsbury, 2010) by TC Boyle
The Shieling (Comma Press, 2009) by David Constantine
Burning Bright (HarperCollins, 2010) by Ron Rash
What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009) by Laura van den Berg
I spoke to two classes-worth of creative writing students from Whitireia this afternoon. It was special because it was the first time I've spoken to a group since my book came out, and I got to do a reading from the actual book (I read from 'Manawatu').
It was doubly special as one of the class was a subscriber to The Listener, so had already received this coming week's issue, which includes a review of A Man Melting. She'd kindly bought the review along, so I got to have a quick read (they were kinda waiting on me for the Q&A) of my first ever review. The review was by Siobhan Harvey, which is a lovely coincidence as she was the guest editor of JAAM 25 back in 2007, the very issue that featured my first ever published story ('Cristo Redentor', not in A Man Melting). I can't recall many specifics of the review, but it was pretty darn positive and included the phrase 'astounding feat' or 'astonishing feat'. Can't wait to grab my own copy of The Listener: that review's going straight to the pool room.
I was kind of expecting an article about me to appear in today's Dom Post, but didn't see one. Maybe next Saturday. Can't say I'm not relieved: I'm convinced I'll look like a wally the photo they took (me in my work clothes, standing by a construction hoarding trying not to look too serious, amid the taxis and pedestrians on Pipitea Street).
It also appears I've been bumped from tomorrow's Arts on Sunday programme on National Radio. (I recorded my interview the afternoon of my book launch, 1 July). Guess there's always next Sunday. The good news is fellow short-fictioneer Tina Makereti will appear on tomorrow's show. Represent!
Still haven't decided whether I'm rooting for the Dutch or the Spanish in the football on Monday morning. Before the World Cup began, Spain was my bet to win it all, but I feel like the Netherlands deserve to win, if only because they've come second twice before...
At least I know who to root for tonight in the rugby. Hopefully the All Blacks show some of the All White's grit mixed with some Spanish flair... We shall see.