Flash Frontier

Pavlova Press: Interview and call for submissions

Interviews and Features

An interview with Pavlova Press’s Kathy Derrick and Jac Jenkins – and a special call for submissions for October’s flash, poetry and more PAVLOVA issue.

Flash Frontier: We’re excited about the forthcoming issue (October) of Flash Frontier which you’ll guest edit – themed PAVLOVA. It’s such a New Zealand (ahem!) idea. Tell us about your own relationship to pavlova.

Kathy: I have a wonderful relationship with pavlova. I’ve only ever had successes, including one made from aquafaba (look it up!).

Jac: My relationship with pavlova is fraught since a multi-level failure one Christmas Eve! High aspirations but poor follow through. I’ve never made one since.

FF: How did this come to be the name for your press, and what are the plans for a forthcoming anthology?

The journey to creating Pavlova Press has been a long one. The idea for a pavlova-themed anthology was first floated at the NorthWrite 2012 conference dinner at a table of about eight of us. We all had wonderful, and often tragic, stories to tell about pavlova and entertained the idea of an anthology. Of course, we all left the conference and forgot about it until one night in 2018 when the topic came up again with four of the original dinner guests. Two of us ran with the idea, creating Pavlova Press as the platform from which to launch the anthology. We have since extended this to encompass a wider vision of publishing projects.

FF: How fun to host a set of short stories, poetry and images here at our journal around this theme. Could you share a bit about what you are looking for in the submissions for the October issue?


We would like to see flash fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and images, including digital, painted (scanned as a jpeg), cartoons, realistic, abstract, and so on. Maximum word count for flash and prose poetry is 500 words, and maximum of 30 lines for all other poetry. No minimums. We are looking for compelling storytelling and imagery, with a very strong focus on pavlova. Surprise us with your interpretation of this classic Kiwi dessert. Take us on a journey of delight, fear, love, retribution; wherever pavlova takes you we want to be drawn along with you.

FF: And the nonfiction elements – stories from the kitchens of Aotearoa New Zealand? Do you suppose those are just as rich as the flash or poetic interpretations of pavlova?

Yes, as well as flash fiction we would love to see some flash non-fiction (still up to 500 words). At the NorthWrite 2012 conference dinner we discovered that everyone has a true pavlova story. These stories can be tragic and hilarious. They came from the kitchens of Aotearoa and we would love to see them both in the October issue of Flash Frontier and in our anthology.

FF: What about recipes? Will you also include those in the volume you are publishing?


No, we will not be including recipes. However, if a recipe features as an integral part of a story, poem or image then it will certainly be considered.

FF: What else do you hope to see in the book – and where can people interested in it find out more?

We envisage a succulent coffee-table book that would make an ideal gift for friends and family. We also love a bit of subversion and would be excited to see writers experiment with form and content, deconstructing the pavlova, so to speak.

FF: You are sisters as well as collaborators. You both come to writing from slightly different approaches. Could you each tell us something about how you started writing – and how your interest in poetry and story has led you to setting up your press?

Kathy: I love storytelling – particularly the expression of big ideas – so my writing leans towards novel-length works and tends to be plot-driven. While I have been interested in storytelling since a young age, I didn’t start putting energy into my craft until I was 30. Over the past 25 years I have honed my writing and now enjoy writing flash fiction as well as longer pieces. I have also taught writing on the NorthTec Applied Writing Programme and have enjoyed watching my students develop as writers. Writing is the easy part, getting published not so much. My desire with Pavlova Press is to find and encourage new voices, hence the anthology approach initially.

Jac: I began writing dreadful but earnest poems in my teens – and then my discovery of Gerard Manly Hopkins’s Carrion Comfort in high school English (that in itself is a very long story) was followed closely by an introduction to the poetry of E. E. Cummings. Fascinated by what these two word-wizards could do with language, I shamelessly mimicked their techniques and produced more dreadful (but earnest) poetry over the following decade. I was in my thirties before I finally decided I needed to learn how to write properly. So I formalised my education and learned that writing might be the only aspect of my life in which I feel free to shuck “the right way” of doing things. Maybe the appeal of being one half of a publishing company relates to my resistance to being told that one must write in a fashionable style to be published.

FF: And what other projects are in the works for Pavlova Press?

We are currently in the final selection phase for a volume of Kerikeri stories and poems which we hope to have ready for Christmas 2020. At the moment this and the pavlova project are enough to keep us busy for the near future. If anyone would like to stay up-to-date with our projects, please follow us at https://pavlovapress.co.nz/ and like us on Facebook.

FF: Let’s end with something special from your own recipe box. A pavlova tip, perhaps?

Kathy: I like to say that I have never had a pavlova failure but in reality whipped cream hides a multitude of sins!

Jac: If all else fails, and only if all else fails, you could try to finish your pavlova off in the microwave.

A note about submissions to this issue of Flash Frontier

Send all submissions, as always, to flashfrontier@gmail.com. All work submitted to and appearing in the October issue of Flash Frontier will be considered for publication in the anthology unless marked FLASH FRONTIER ONLY by the author. There will also be a separate call for submissions at the Pavlova Press site: https://pavlovapress.co.nz/.

Kathy Derrick and Jac Jenkins grew up on a dairy farm near Maungatapere, New Zealand. They both now live in the Far North. Kathy originally trained and worked as an engineer, and Jac as a vet, before turning to writing. Both graduated with Masters degrees in creative writing within two years if each other and their work has appeared in several periodicals, anthologies, blogs and websites. Scoria: short prose from the cinder cone is their first collection.
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