2020 Snapshot: Piper Mejia

Piper Mejia is an advocate for New Zealand writers and literature and is a co-founder of Young NZ Writers – a non-profit dedicated to providing opportunities for young NZ writers. Her short fiction has appeared in a range of publications including BabyteethConclaveSpec-Fic Short CutsShort Cuts Track 1Te Korero Ahi Ka and Tricksters Treats 3.  A collection of her short stories, The Better Sister, will be published by Breachin 2020. As a child, Piper stayed up late laughing at horror films. As an adult, she spends a lot of time being disappointed by plot holes and yet somehow she has never lost her love for Science Fiction and Horror; two genres that continue to ask the question “What if …”

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

In 2019 I completed a collection of short stories entitled The Better Sister. It is based on the relationship I have with my two sisters at different points in our lives, using horror and supernatural elements as an extended metaphor for the things we can never say to each other. This was meant to be published this year but COVID-19 has not been a good friend to publishers.

Throughout literature authors return again and again to the theme of three sisters; Cinderella and her two stepsisters, Medusa was one of three gorgons, King Lear had three daughters. Too often the sisters are portrayed as an innocent virgin, a sinful temptress, and a vengeful crone whose only purpose is to marry, trick or kill the prince. This collection of stories explores the complexity of the sister-trio relationship in worlds where women struggle for a voice, a place to stand; and peace in themselves.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

The best publishing experience I have had is working with Lee Murray in the creations of Young NZ Writers (youngnzwriters.weebly.com). In 2019 we handed the reins over to Jean Gilbert but are still silent supportive partners.

Inspired by Tauranga Writers’ stated mission of supporting emerging writers, members Piper Mejia and Lee Murray founded the Young NZ Writers (youngnzwriters) programme in 2011 with a view to providing writing and publishing opportunities for young people outside of the New Zealand school curriculum. To achieve these goals, the programme has focused on implementing annual writing competitions and anthologies, an after-school writing programme, an annual full-day student workshop, and ongoing student mentorship.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I love all of Lee Murray’s writing but I am most excited to read her new collection of short horror, Grotesque: Monster Stories. Other authors I would recommend are Jean Gilbert (Shifters) Grace Bridges (Avenir Eclectia) and Kura Carpenter (The Kingfinsher’s Dept).

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