Small Press Fest is bringing together small presses and independent publishers from across the motu to Ōtepoti for three days of celebrations, workshops, talks, readings, and panel discussions.
Evening Books and Yours
43 Moray Place, Ōtepoti
Aug 2023
For our inaugural year, we are honoured to include in our line-up: Katie Kerr from GLORIA (Tāmaki Makaurau), Brannavan Gnanalingam from Lawrence and Gibson (Pōneke), Dunedin Youth Writers (Ōtepoti), Sasha, Achille and Renae from 5ever Press (Pōneke), Chris Holdaway from Compound Press (Tāmaki Makaurau), Rosa, Sam and Flynn from Newzician Magazine (Ōtepoti, Ōtautahi), Jennifer and Aidan from Rat World Magazine (Tāmaki Makaurau), Gilbert from Point Design (Ōtepoti), Blue Oyster Project Space (Ōtepoti), Gabi Lardies an independent book designer & writer / editor (Tāmaki Makaurau), and Val and Clare from Left of the Equator (Pōneke).
We’re asking:
Small Press Fest is the first of its kind to focus on writers, creators, designers, photographers, artists, and publishers who work outside of the conventional publishing industry to open doors for conversation and collaboration.
Photos from 2023
Friday 18th
whatever by 5ever: 5ever Press Workshop (Te Whare o Rukutia)
Pocket Apocalypse launch: Blue Oyster x Gilbert May @ Blue Oyster
Publishing as Critical Practice: The Story of GLORIA Books
Rat World: Anti-Niche: Rats Against Algorithms
Saturday 19th
Expensive Hobby on Distributing Independent Publications in Aotearoa
Lawrence & Gibson: Building Community Talk with Brannavan
whatever by 5ever - 5ever Press Workshop (Te Whare o Rukutia)
The SPF23 Book Fair
Imperfect perfect binding with Compound Press (Te Whare o Rukutia)
SPF shared meal - a chance to meet and greet.
Opening the gates: the whys & hows of small press
Readings by Clare, Chris, Renae, Sasha
Sunday 20th
Gabi: Cool, fun writing workshop
whatever by 5ever - 5ever Press Workshop (Te Whare o Rukutia)
Newzician Magazine: from Passion to Print
SPF shared meal - a chance to meet and greet.
Readings by the Dunedin Youth Writers
Val: On the urgent need of radical publishing now
5ever: (funded by UNESCO City of Lit - collaborative publication) 'Whatever by 5ever' the working title of a collab book object that we will collectively make before, during and after Small Press Fest 2023.It will be an inaccurate account of the event, a critique of the event, an apology, and a condemnation. To enter the publication and posterity, you must submit.
Pocket Apocalypse and Blue Oyster: LEFT ADJACENT by Alfie Bown is a pamphlet in The Research Project series from Sublation Media - a left wing project that aims to reinvent and rediscover the socialist left. Āpai-marie is a pamphlet documenting the artwork of Ōtepoti-based artist Georgina May Young with writing by Stacey Kokaua and an audio response by Sean Norling. Pocket Apocalypse and Blue Oyster have teamed up to produce publications and will discuss how small organisations can operate in the open field of independent publishing in Aotearoa.
Publishing as Critical Practice: The Story of GLORIA Books: Once upon a time, Berlin-based photographer Alice Connew and London-based designer Katie Kerr launched GLORIA Books and they posed a question: what could happen if an artist had full control over the entire publishing process? From cookbooks to motorcycles, bad reviews to Patti Smith, Katie will tell the story of their publishing ‘treehouse’, and delve into their process that centres the book as an experimental object.
Anti-Niche: Rats Against Algorithms: How do indie print magazines fit into the contemporary online landscape? As the internet moves from broad information to niche, individually recommended feeds, print magazines provide a defiant new (or, rather, old) way to discover interests. Join Rat World in conversation with 5ever Press as they explore the ways indie print magazines are taking a stand against algorithmically-curated content feeds.
Expensive Hobby on Distributing Independent Publications in Aotearoa: Expensive Hobby supports, distributes and promotes local publications from independent publishers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Collectively run by Katie Kerr (GLORIA Books), Samuel Walsh (Dead Bird Books) and Chris Holdaway (Compound Press), we supply high-quality publications from local independent publishers to bookstores, libraries and stockists around the motu. As well as our own titles, we distribute books from 5ever Books, ESRA, Hue & Cry, Mineral, The Physics Room, Titus Books, Anahera Press, Saufo’i Press and Tender Press. In this casual kōrero, Chris and Katie will explain why we started Expensive Hobby, how it works and answer questions on distributing independent books around Aotearoa. Over some snacks, we will share what we’ve learnt about distribution over the years from our collective experience with GLORIA Books, Compound Press and Expensive Hobby.
Lawrence & Gibson: Writing is seen as a solitary art form, with visions of novelists hiding away in garrets with their thoughts. Lawrence & Gibson doesn't believe in any of that - for us, the publishing process is about collaboration. We look to find community in the writing, production, and distribution processes that underpin who we are and what we do. Community can't be forced but in this session, we'll talk about some of the things we've done over 18 years to ensure we've been motivated to keep going.
The SPF23 Book Fair:A chance for all involved to peddle their wares and for you to come and buy small press and independent publications direct from the authors / publishers themselves. Bring cash.
Imperfect perfect binding with Compound Press: Want to help your handmade books grow a spine?! Chris from Compound Press is running a casual workshop teaching the "double-fan" binding technique that is great for getting that perfect bound paperback look without any fancy machinery. Come and learn how to wow the punters at your next zinefest. All materials provided. Book giveaways to attendees.
Opening the gates: the whys & hows of small press: Come see some of our authors and publishers discuss what gap their press or publication fills within the wider literary ecosystem. Gabi Lardies will be having a conversation with Katie Kerr from Gloria, Brannavan Gnanalingam from Lawrence and Gibson, and Aidan and Jenn from Rat World. She will be asking: how has the distance between the content/editor/publisher collapsed, what viewpoints do small press platforms have, who has the power to keep the gate and how do you wrangle with that power, how does alternative publishing complement or critique mainstream publishing, and why do it all ourselves? There will be time left at the end for your questions, too!
Gabi's Cool, Fun Writing Workshop: Writing, often considered scary, can actually be great fun! This cool writing workshop is led by Gabi Lardies who was also scared of writing and now does it full time. Many of the exercises, tips and skills have been gleaned from the many writing workshops by very experienced writing tutors that Gabi has attended, so consider it a “greatest hits”. The workshop will be divided into three sections: Generate - fun ways to prompt writing & not feel like writing has to be serious and scary. Conscious crafting - notes on approaching texts with intention, considering structure, when and where to quote references, etc. Editing - ideally, participants will bring a short text with which they will try editing exercises. The text does not have to be shared! Previously the workshop has been run for art writers, but this time around it will be directed towards publishers who may find themselves having to write introductions for books and other such things…
Newzician Magazine: Newzician Mag will be hosting a panel-vibe discussion with all 3 co-founders, facilitated by contributing writer Jamiema, about the ethos of Newzician, why we started the mag, and how we’ve made it this far. We will discuss how Newzician fits contextually within other Aotearoa music mags and the wider small press magazine sphere, our individual roles and how this creates a successful dynamic, and our curatorial and design choices. We are fresh in the publishing world and want to share what we’ve learned about starting something yourself!
Readings by Dunedin Youth Writers Association: The DYWA will be holding a reading from Minor Gospel, their periodical publication featuring the works of their scarily talented members. They will share work from Issues 1 to 4 of Minor Gospel. Participants this year include: Bram Casey, Hugo Todd, Bella Gascoyne, Lydia Butler, Ocean Gollner, and Mikayla Preston.
Left of the Equator: Radical publishing matters. It matters as much today as it did in 1936, as we bear witness to the rise of the fascist right again. We have a responsibility to nurture the collective imagination of a different world and to remember our collective struggles. Rebel Press and its child, Left of the Equator Press, have been part of Aotearoa’s social struggles and movements for change for 17 years. Collective member Valerie Morse will talk about this history, these struggles, the contradictions of publishing under capitalism and colonialism, and the future abundance of radical dreaming.