Monday, June 5, 2017

Milk Island launched!

 From left, Lawrence and Gibson luminaries Thomasin Sleigh and Branavan Gnanalingam watch our newest author Rhydian Thomas, read a passage from Milk Island at the launch on June 1 - about 8.10pm give or take five minutes - in the year 2017.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Launch of Milk Island

What, preytell, is a Milk Island? And what is a Milk Island?

One is a dystopian future where public private partnerships render Te Wai Pounamu into a prison dairy farm. The other is the soothsaying text that predicts - perhaps - such an about coming.

Launched on June 1, 2017 at Pegasus Books in the Left Bank Mall, Cuba St, Wellington. Pre-order here if you cannae make it.

Also, if you're in the audience, and a provincialist, you might ask the author - who will read from the book, I assure you - what the name for the North Island may become in the near or distant future?

Cream on, my friends, this will be the milkiest of all launches.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Brannavan at Auckland Writers Festival

Hi ho City o' Sails. Here comes Brannavan Gnanalingam, representing all the haught and huff of his latest novel across two sessions. Bravo! Bravo!

Oh, and they're free to enter so make sure to buy a book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All you ever wanted to know about Brannavan's latest book but were too shy to friend request us on FB and ask

Brannavan Gnanalingam's A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse is a finalist in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. That might be the reason you're here. And so below is a definitive guide to this, the most Wellington book ever written (according to one reviewer).

Press Release
Kim Hill interview on Radio NZ Saturday Mornings
Launch party photos and reportage
Extended interview with Pip Adam + Radio NZ review
Tom Goulter review for Wellingtonista
Reading notes/review from Maetl
The Listener review
Booksellers NZ review

Buy A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Launch Party and Kim Hill interview

The collective is pleased to report on the successful launch of our 21st title.

We're also very pleased that the iconic, despotic Kim Hill interviewed Brannavan at length the morning after the show. You can listen to that here.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Launch tonight!

Buy A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse

Monday, May 30, 2016

Radio New Zealand review of A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse

Listen to Pip Adam discuss Brannavan Gnanalingam's new book with Jesse Mulligan here. Launch parrrty this Friday. Here's the cover! All love to Paul Neason for his charming design.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Interview on the occasion of the imminent publication of a forthcoming book

Detail of draft of cover

On June 3, Lawrence and Gibson will release Brannavan Gnanalingam's new novel A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse. Murdoch from Lawrence and Gibson asked Brannavan a few questions about the new book.

I thought to ask questions of you because I was reading Animal Shelter 3 the third of four (so far) journals put out by Semiotext(e) under their new incantation under Hedi El Kholti. The current interview is from 1975 and is with Jean Eustache. Tell me: The Mother and the Whore spoke to your second book, are there any films that speak to or are spoken through A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse?

This one was less film-influenced than some of my other ones. If I had to name any, I'd say Miguel Gomes' Tabu and Christian Petzold's Phoenix in terms of tone and political commentary.  I also really want to prop Tim Wong's Out of the Mist, a documentary about New Zealand cinema that asked some really interesting questions about nationhood and cultural malaise.  I thought it was fantastic.
The period when I wrote this ended up being a very productive period of going to shows and feeling like I was part of the city. I think that helped in capturing a sense of Wellington-ness in the book.  I went to a number of shows that really nailed shifting between tones, and were at once political / satirical / carried an emotional wallop: Eamonn Marra's Respite, Adam Goodall's Knifed, Richard Meros' Hillary Clinton/Young Lover, and Kate McIntosh's All Ears. OK maybe, Meros didn't have an emotional wallop, but that's because he's such a rogue.
I also ended up seeing a lot of music, with this sense of people just playing because they make great music (which to be honest is more inspiring than any advice that people give as to how to be an Artist).  This was all happening despite fewer venues and less mainstream coverage. During this period of writing, I saw amazing shows from the All Seeing Hand, Dobermen, Echo Beach, Eyeliner, French for Rabbits, Glass Vaults, Grayson Gilmour, The Happy Plaster, HEX, Lontalius, Orchestra of Spheres, Phoenix Foundation, Pikelet, Ruth Mundy, Seth Frightening, Shocking Pinks, SJD, TAB, Tigers of the Sea, Vorn, Waterfalls, and Womb, for example. There's so much good stuff happening around the place, that being part of it helped inform the book.  I also reckon New Zealand music is doing a far better job at being political and incorporating different voices than most other Kiwi art-forms.

There's a review of your third book about to come out in this quarter's copy of Landfall. I was contemplating some witticisms from Eustache in that interview and it made me reflect on ‘serious’ readers. Do you feel like there have been serious readers of your catalogue? How do you feel about the reviews?
I am very grateful for any coverage I can get, and I feel like I've been taken seriously.  I'm particularly grateful for the likes of Landfall for ensuring that there continues to be a conversation. I'd like to think my books are able to be analysed in critical ways.  
Arts coverage has been declining rapidly. Mainstream media organisations seem to think by having less content they'd get more readers or maintain their current readership. In fact, they're giving many people even less incentive to read them.  I remember seeing a study that bookstores that sell a diverse range of titles books 'weirdly' sell more books. To me it's a no-brainer. If I want a book and I don't know which one, I'm going to go to Unity, not Whitcoulls. I don't think it's too different with media / reviews. 
I've gone off-track here. But it's also to say that there are fewer reviews and less coverage of writers than ever before, and it's harder for us all to get our work out there. But it's the same across all art-forms, particularly if you're doing something that you consider worthy of serious consideration.

Is there any part of the new book that you're most concerned could be misread?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Still got all our fingers and toes...

We're in our tenth anniversary year and have celebrated by producing a gorgeous little booklet (94 pages; 140x145mm) highlighting our releases. It is half catalogue, half archive, collecting emails, excerpts and ephemera from across our eight authors.

Here's an excerpt from our editor, Mr Stephens, on the warrant for such an endeavour:

And a few more pics of the cover and inside. The book will be free to those interested - the question is, how to get a copy... any sales for the next couple of months will receive one, but from there it will be up to serendipity.
Anyone desiring one, however, can pay the postage + packaging and we'll whip one your way at cost (NB: some of the margins are a little tight in places, consider this an objet d'art, valuable due to its hand production plus individual glitches) :

Buy Still got all our fingers and toes

Monday, October 5, 2015

Great Gnanalingam review in Fishhead magazine

October 2015 copy of Fishhead magazine goes in-depth on 'Credit in the Straight World':

Litcrawl and Meros book goes full circle

One of our books has done the equivalent of a round the world journey. Starting life as a book it journeyed to becoming a play, to becoming a spin-off franchise play to becoming another book. Hi-ho America! Hi-ho hilarity with Hillary! New Zealanders can check out this adaptation in Nelson and Hastings in the coming week, and - god willing - Wellington at the start of next year. More details here.  The Young Lover Activity Guide is based on Meros' original On the conditions and possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her Young Lover but is transposed to modern day USA (kind of like those awesome Scandinavain crime thrillers or 'The Office' getting US franchising). Expect it to reach beyond the original's 20-30 recommended reading age to a much more inclusive 5-85 age bracket. Yes: more pictures and fun-facts as well as a shorter page count and pronunciation guide for key terms.

In other exciting news, Lawrence & Gibson authors will be speaking at a LitCrawl event on November 15 at 7.15pm at Six Barrel Soda. We'll be searching for a patron saint so that we can praise them and encourage the local council to name streets and parks after them. Originally, there was enthusiasm for John A Lee, but we all know that he already has that corner named for him in Auckland. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Richard Meros recipient of Catton's Horoeka Reading Grant

Richard Meros, long-time author of Lawrence and Gibson, has published an essay describing his reading while recipient of Eleanor Catton's Horoeka Reading Grant. Established in 2015, the grant is designed "to give New Zealand writers the means and opportunity not to write, but to read, and to share what they have read with their colleagues in the arts." Read more about the grant here.

‘New Bourgeoizealand’ by Richard Meros

It seems like many, many years since New Zealand was the land of milk and honey. And while there are those who are creaming it, and the hives are still buzzing, many of us are living lives of lack.

There are not enough jobs, and the ones that we do have are precarious.

There are not enough houses, and the ones that we do have are expensive, leaky and cold.

There are not enough government services, and the ones that we do have are making cut backs.

There is a lack, there is a lack, there is a lack.

These appeals to lack have a rich immediacy: we feel half-emptiness and we let each other know it could be better. Every complaint, we might hope, contributes to the death of the government.
But when killing the government, even if it is one criticism at a time, we all become executioners.

The problem with being an executioner is not that each individual criticism is in some way wrong or immoral. Instead the problem is that, in the end, we end up with the executioner mindset, seeing the world as one powered by corporal justice. And whoever considered ‘off with his head!’ to be a prescription for the good life?

Read the rest of the article at the Horoeka website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Media and reviews for Credit in the Straight World

A couple of early reviews are out. First up is Ngaire from BookieMonster: "The best moments are the scenes of surreal hilarity that you only get when you skate right up to real life and tweak it on the nose". And this lovely/lively endorsement of our witty works: "Last week at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival it was asked “Where are the anarchic books?” The answer is right in front of us."

Also, on Sunday Brannavan featured on Standing Room Only, interviewed by Shaun Wilson with a portion of the book read by Mark Cubey, the Young Marble Giants reference not missed. Reading from 2m30s; interview from 4m30s.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Launch photos for Credit in the Straight World

On May Day, 2015 (1 May, for those lacking in historical consciousness) Lawrence & Gibson publishing released Brannavan Gnanalingam's third book, and the twentieth for the collective. Rousing chants of 'more' and 'toast the editorial board' spontaneously erupted throughout the evening. Gin and tonic were applied liberally to the Friday evening wounds of the week. Apple juice was an option for tee-totallers and sensible/sensitive. Commendations to Gnanalingam for the carrot dip and Meros for the hummus. Numbers surpassed quorem, with author of LG018 Thomasin Sleigh present, and the designers of LG004, LG009, LG011 and LG020 Mr Neason and co. present also.

The evening began with a speech from editor-in-chief Murdoch Stephens who commented on the felicity of Gnanalingam's reproduction of the characters of small town South Island folk. There was a brief scuffle when questions were raised over whether the town of Nelson, or Whakatū, was a small town or a big town. Following this Gnanalingam read a portion of his text on an erroneous, and telling, coming together of merriment, violence and corruption. The evening was topped off with the music of Womb (Charlotte Forrester) and Bent Folk light (Dick Whyte).

Many copies of the novel were sold, and we can proudly note that we have, so to speak, balanced the books. This means that you have a little time to get a first press copy - the book will be reprinted shortly, so there's no need to fear that it will become an expensive HardtoFindBooks only matter. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Credit in the Straight World interview with Brannavan Gnanalingam

Good morning Brannavan. This new book, Credit in the Straight World, is your first to be set in New Zealand. Is New Zealand the straight world?
Why not?  A Canterbury Plains State Highway 1 world. 

And what populates the Canterbury Plains? Or more to the point, how do straightness and crookedness come together in your novel?
People. And sheep. And now cows. And water races.  But unfortunately, no longer the South Island kōkako.
Straightness and crookedness come together?  That's a tough question.  Does the characters' natural straightness create the space for crookedness to dominate?  Or is crookedness the natural starting point, and straightness the tool used by the crooked?  And who gets to define what is straight and what is crooked?  Lots of questions, none of which will be answered in my book.

I'm curious about the concept of 'credit'. There have been many writings and documentaries in the last decade on debt and credit, but I'm wondering if there is any economic, social, philosophical, or perhaps even literary, treatment of credit that inspired your writing.
Credit is given to somebody on the basis of hope, belief, expectation that you would get something back in return (interest!).  You've got no guarantee that when you lend somebody $20 or buy a round of beer, that you'll get it back in kind.  Sure, the banks and finance companies will model and assess risks, and probably financially be more successful than if I set up the Brannavan Gnanalingam Finance Company Limited today and started lending money at 2% interest to Lawrence and Gibson.  But ultimately, there seems a quasi-faith aspect to the functioning of credit.  So naturally, I was drawn to Kierkegaardian concepts of deism to look at the nature of faith and capitalism.  Who wouldn’t be?
Also, Balzac. Lots of Balzac.  Money, credit, power, and manipulation of markets – that's Balzac 101. The 19th Century writers like Dickens, Zola, Trollope, and Balzac were writing about a capitalism that was arguably simpler, but fundamentally not all that different in its operation and its interplay with power.

Honoré de Balzac

Do you have a personal view on where - and forgive the breadth of the question - on where the world is now, seven years after the Global Financial Crisis?
Now I'm no big-city economist, but it strikes me as no different to where it was before.  Although arguably, things are worse in that we've gone through a spectacular collapse and couldn't be bothered changing anything.  There has been little consideration of why the GFC happened, of what its actual consequences were on the people who suffered in it, little critical thought as to why New Zealand's finance companies got themselves into such a vulnerable position, and whether our faith is misplaced.  Either that or I'm lazy in my research. The book is structured around the cyclical nature of collapses, and it's obvious that it's going to keep on happening unless something fundamental and drastic changes.  The complete insanity of the Auckland housing boom is an example that perhaps our faith in markets is more than a bit irrational.

Were you lazy in your research? Perhaps you could tell us a little about the research that went into the writing of this book.
No, in fairness, I spent a lot of time researching.  Days were spent in libraries and also spent eavesdropping on conversations.

Recently Eleanor Catton was told off by none less than the Prime Minister for daring to comment on neo-liberalism. If you could be told off by any present member of the National Party who would it be and why?
Can I go historical?  I'd be told off by George Forbes, the United MP who was prime minister between 1930-1935.  That government was obsessed with trying to balance its budget for faith reasons as it would show that it's a safe pair of hands during the Depression.  My mocking of his government in my book would likely cause some choice words from Honest George, the good member for the Hurunui.    

Prime Minister
'Honest' George Forbes

A fine choice. Can you imagine anyone within the fifth National government who might enjoy the book, say, as a Christmas gift?
I think this would be right down Michael Woodhouse's alley.

Michael Woodhouse

You're also a prominent film critic for the Lumiere Reader. Did any films influence the aesthetic or character choices for the book?
Definitely. Lav Diaz's film Norte the End of History incorporates Dostoevsky and the punishing of "the idiot" in a way that was definitely integral to my treatment of George in the book. Kira Muratova's films mix black comedy and social commentary, and her incredible GFC movie Melody for a Street Organ was an inspiration in terms of that film's tone and fearlessness. Carmella Soprano – and her guilt/victim/wilful blindness – helped form the voice i.e. someone who felt guilty but keeps on coming up with excuses to justify his or her position.  The Springfield of The Simpsons was my basis for a fictional small-town.  I could name hundreds of movies, but also to mind: the tragic inevitability in Douglas Sirk's films, the satire of the banal in Hong Sang-soo and Corneliu Poromboiu's films, the cruelty (and humanism) of Ulrich Seidl, and the straight out humanism of Pedro Costa.
[Editor. Reviews by Gnanalingam for some of these films can be found here: NorteMelody for a Street OrganOur Sunhi by Hong Sang-soo ]

What's next for you in terms of writing?
I'm working on a book about cricket.  I love cricket. I look forward to retiring so I can watch all five days of a test match.  But specifically why do people collectively come together and do things these days.  We apparently live in a post-structuralist, neo-liberal, selfie-stick world, but yet (some) people still want to do something collectively. Why?? 

Your day job is as a lawyer and I wonder if you've thought of incorporating more from that world into your writing. Have you? And what would be the best genre for a novel drawing on the legal profession?
I think the attention to detail and pedanticism (which I need to work on) would work well to write espionage thrillers. Franz Kafka trained as a lawyer too, so the er, Kafkaesque 'genre,' could be a goer. 

Thanks for your time. It's been a pleasure. One last question: is there any artistic, musical, theatrical or literary scene that excites you in New Zealand today? Is there anything you're looking forward to in our cultural community?

There's always good stuff happening around the place.  There's great music happening in Wellington: the folk at Sonorous Circle and Home Alone Record in Wellington along with folk like the All Seeing Hand, Grayson Gilmour, Orchestra of Spheres, Glass Vaults etc. etc.  I'm looking forward to the moral panic that may hit Simon Denny's appearance at the Venice Biennale, and the continued excellent literary output (which despite less mainstream arts coverage, less funding, and fewer publishers taking on fewer books) is still producing exciting stuff.


Buy Credit in the Straight World

Friday, April 10, 2015

Credit in the Straight World

New release! Brannavan Gnanalingam's Credit in the Straight World! Preorders open now.

Design from Paul Neason at National Park.

Release to be held at 17 Tory St on 1 May 2015.

More details soon. Printing this weekend.

Buy Credit in the Straight World

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ad Lib new run

After selling out of our initial run of Ad Lib, the collective pulled together this weekend - designers, editors, authors, elves, hangers-on, droppers-out, media advisors - to reprint, rebind and reguillotine the text back into general circulation.

Such was the cohesion and spirit for work that the commissioner of the taskforce spontaneously suggested a Christmas party for the following Wednesday. This was followed by three verses of The Internationale and, to warm down, a gentle session of self-correction against the principles and aims of the Lawrence & Gibson charter. Never has collectivity been so unanimous nor, I should mention, so extemporaneous. Long live Lawrence! And long live Gibson! Festive greetings to all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ad Lib in Top 100 Books of the year

Thomasin Sleigh's debut novel Ad Lib has been featured in the NZ Listener's Top 100 books of the past year. Hers is one of four novels written by a New Zealander to be on the list. We were proud before and we're proud still.  And what's more, it's the only title to be outside the impenetrable (well, penetrable for $5) paywall of Bauer Media. Here's what you see for free.

Note the quotable quote: "delicate and insightful" - NZ Listener 

That can go along with the wonderful April review from Sam Finnemore. Bravo!

Buy it here! (note: we've just sold out, but expect a new run to be in by mid-December). 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

L&G learns to LitCrawl before it learns to LitRun

This November Brannavan and Thomasin will hold court at LitCrawl Wellington.

Where: Six Barrel Soda, Level 1, 33-35 Dixon Street
When: 7.15pm – 8pm
Thomasin Sleigh’s novel Ad Lib and Brannavan Gnanalingam’s You Should Have Come Here When You Were Not Here (published by Lawrence and Gibson) both feature characters on an ill-defined journey into the night. In Ad Lib, Kyla Crane goes in search of information about her mother, a famous singer, who was also the life of the party. In YSHCHWYWNH, Veronia moves to Paris to try to start afresh, but ends up drinking a lot (and mostly alone).  Join the journey, and come along to drink alone and/or to find the life of the party.
FOOTNOTE: Six Barrel Soda are creating special ‘Commemorative Cocktails’ to help you celebrate.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Christchurch WORD WORD WORD

Gee, we've been slack at updating our blog to say that Murdoch, Brannavan and Thomasin are all guests at the WORD Christchurch Readers and Writers Festival. We'll be talking next Sunday at the Physics Room with Guy Somerset at an event called The Indies. Join us or we'll be as sad as.

Also, see some words we sent to the CCL blog about the conventioning:

MURDOCH //////U*&^T%&**