A note from Rachel and Jane

For the last two years we, Rachel Smith and Jane Seaford, have been the joint fiction editors for taka magazine. And we’ve both enjoyed reading the submissions and working together. We’ve just done our selection for December and that will be the last issue we work on, as we are moving on. Rachel will be focusing more on her own writing and Jane will become the taka competition secretary.  Zoë Meager is taking over from us.  And we think she’s looking forward to the role. It’s hard work at times but it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to read so many stories written by both New Zealand and overseas writers.  We very much enjoy the emails we get from those whose work we accept and  it’s also lovely when writers whose pieces we have decided not to take thank us for the comments we’ve made on their stories , telling us that they‘ve found  them helpful.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted to us. So now, over to you, Zoë. And to you writers who support taka, keep those stories coming in.

Fiction for takahē 93

Rachel and I have now finished choosing and preparing the stories for takahē 93. Thanks to everyone who submitted. We were sent over 100 pieces, so those of you selected should feel proud.

It’s often said by judges and editors that the selection process is subjective and that someone else might well have chosen differently. This is true, but working together Rachel and I have found that we are in agreement over the majority of the stories. And where we disagree we spend time trying to persuade the other why they should (or shouldn’t) take the disputed piece.

So to those of you who have stories in takahē 93, congratulations and to those we rejected thanks for submitting and do continue to send us your work. We are always pleased when we have a large number pf pieces to consider – even though it does make our job more arduous!

I hope you all enjoy the stories we have selected for you to read this winter

roll up! takahē poetry competition 2018

Entries are now open for the 2018 Takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize. This year’s judge is outgoing poetry editor and current Randell Cottage Writer in Residence, poet, novelist, and short story writer, James Norcliffe. As begins his glittering poem, trapeze: 

the thrill is in the possibility...

All poems entered are considered for publication, and for the winner we have a $250 prize and publication in takahē 94, our December print issue.

But the chance will be gone in a sequined flash (entries close Friday 31st August 2018).

Check the Competitions page for the entry form, details, and to read James’s biography. You might also like to read last year’s judges report, or send a query to comps@takahe.org.nz.

Good luck!

An Apology

As Joint Fiction Editors of takahē, we would like to apologise for the inclusion of L.E. Scott’s work in Issue 91 and for any distress this has caused to our contributors, readers and the Aotearoa New Zealand writing community. takahē does not condone or support violence in any form and we will endeavour to ensure our actions as editors serve to make our artistic communities safe, inclusive and welcoming.

Rachel Smith and Jane Seaford

A note from the Arts and Essays Editor on issue 91

One of my favourite parts about the role of Arts Editor is that not only do I get to choose the artist featured in each issue, but also decide on the cover. This is a task of immense responsibility. It’s the face of the magazine and the first thing that people see. It’s not necessarily just about promoting an artist whose work I find interesting (though that’s a big part of it), or even my own personal aesthetic preferences: it’s also about considering how it reflects the magazine’s contents. Does the art have something to say to an audience of readers and writers? Would it intrigue the casual browser in the book shop? I probably also tend to favour Canterbury artists (though not exclusively), because of the geographical character of takahē. These and a clowder of gut feelings, obscure reasonings, and socio-politco-anthro-historio-cultural considerations flit through my mind when I make these decisions.

Marie Le Lievre’s work ticks all those boxes. I chose the front cover image Charm Lore from her 2016 Bulletproof Falling series for a number of reasons. The works in the series bring together painting, drawing, inkjet printing, abstraction and figuration, in the same way takahē brings together so many different forms, styles and genres of writing. Charm Lore stood out for me in particular. At the heart of the image is the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, wife of the the pharaoh Akhenaten, and thought to have been crafted by the sculptor Thutmose in around 1345 BCE. With the abstract forms weaving around her head like ideas, or pouring forth from her mouth like words, I thought her an excellent metaphor for a writer.

Thanks to Marie, and her Wellington dealer Bartley + Company Art for the use of the images. More of her work can be seen there or through Christchurch’s Jonathan Smart Gallery. Marie is also having a major solo show of new work with Bartley + Company Art in early 2018. Thanks also to Dr Maria Walls for her thought provoking teasing out of Marie’s work.

With my Essays hat on, can I also say how delighted I am that Alie Benge, author of the essay “Immigrant” in this issue, is the co-winner of Landfall‘s 2017 essay competition. “Immigrant” is a remarkable exploration of the history of Croatian migrants to Auckland and the community as it exists today. I was captivated by the language, Alie’s eye for detail, and her ability to paint a picture in words, in a piece of writing that is at once both deeply personal and a thoughtful consideration of the broader social context. It managed to be both a personal essay, and an important snapshot of recent history, but also thoughtfully engage with issues around national identity, marginalisation, assimilation, and the question of what being a “New Zealander” might actually mean.

I am so very happy to be able to offer takahē‘s warmest congratulations to Alie.