Local authors reinvent classic NZ short storiesBy Helen Tristram
The short stories of New Zealand literary icon Katherine Mansfield have received a monstrous make-over from Kāpiti authors Debbie and Matt Cowens.
Their collection of reworked stories from Wellington publisher Steam Press titled “Mansfield with Monsters” contains 17 classic tales by New Zealand’s most famous short story author.
Vampires, werewolves, zombies …and more
The stories, say the Cowens, have been ‘revamped’ to include vampires, werewolves, Martian tripods, zombies, sea monsters and other sinister creatures.
It’s just been launched at the Kapiti Coffee House at Paraparaumu Beach.
“We’ve developed a deeper appreciation for Mansfield’s writing,” says Matt. “There’s a huge variety in her work, and it was a pleasure building on the horror elements already present.”
It’s not the first time the couple have collaborated on a project. Together they have created card games, short films and even a five-author Wellington based horror novel.
But ‘Mansfield with Monsters’ is their longest, highest profile and most satisfying collaboration to date, says Debbie.
“We spent a lot of time at opposite ends of the house working on separate stories, but we read and discussed each other’s adaptations over lunch and worked on some of the stories together from the start.”
The book was picked up by local publisher Steam Press in 2011, with editor Stephen Minchin overseeing the final drafts and collating stories.
The adaptations are based on a set of partial drafts uncovered by Dr Marcus Walker.
“We pieced together those fragments, breathing life into versions of Mansfield’s stories not previously published,” Debbie says.
“The horror of a moment of dark epiphany takes on an even more sinister meaning when it is sparked by an encounter with the supernatural.”
The book will be available in paperback and electronic format from www.steampress.co.nz, from amazon.com and from bookstores from July the 7th.