Counter Culture
November 16, 2017 posted by Unity Wellington

AFTERGLOW: The Journal of Urgent Writing Vol.2

AFTERGLOW: The Journal of Urgent Writing Vol.2

Lunchtime on Thursday 16th November saw Unity Books host a panel discussion between authors featured in the second volume of The Journal of Urgent Writing, published by Massey University Press.

This second volume of writing aspiring to ‘a better quality national conversation’ features work by some of New Zealand’s brightest voices, among them, panelists Jess Berentson-Shaw, Jo Randerson, Sarah Laing, Mamari Stephens, and editor and contributor Simon Wilson. Once Simon had introduced the panel, Jo took to the mic to read from her piece ‘How to die’, which considers the prospect of death as an imperative to live well. Jess followed up with a meditation on motherhood as a lens on an ideal of trust. Mamari’s piece, ‘The long shadow’ is a powerful warning of the possible fate facing many marae complexes around the country in the face of new building legislation. Her reading was an emotionally charged call to remember the value of these cultural center-points. Sarah lightened the mood with an animated reconstruction of her graphic piece ‘Moon landings’, which is sure to have more than one audience member Googling ‘moon cups’ tonight. Simon tied things up with an envisioning of the potential power in New Zealand’s ‘radical center’.

All said, this journal feels stronger, more necessary, and more urgent in its second iteration.

Your illustrious panel, L-R: Jess Berentson-Shaw; Jo Randerson; Sarah Laing; Mamari Stephens

Editor Simon Wilson, resplendent in mustard.

Jo Randerson was first up reading from the last piece in the book, ‘How to die’.

Jess Berentson-Shaw on motherhood and trust.

Mamari Stephens on the future of marae.

An animated Sarah Laing reinacts scenes from ‘Moon landings’.

An eager lunchtime audience engaged with the variety of subjects under discussion.

Jo Randerson fields questions on localism versus government policy.

Mamari Stephens discusses what can be learned from the philosophy of the marae.

Simon Wilson on New Zealand’s ‘radical centre’.

The Journal of Urgent Writing Volume 2 is available in store and at Unity Books Online now.

Words and pictures, John Duke

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