Keynote Speaker

      Jonathan M Barrett
Keynote Speaker

Antoine Maercx is ranked 73rd in the Time Benelux edition list of 'Most important contemporary thinkers’. He arrives in Wellington to make the keynote address at the biennial Australasian Nietzsche Society conference. But from the moment he is picked up at the airport, things do not go to plan for the eminent professor.Tom Fletcher is a worried man. Middle aged and balding, he hasn't sold a house in weeks and his job is on the line. His wife is cheating on him and he is falling in love with his secretary.He is bewildered by the world. Animate and inanimate objects take on personalities and behaviours in his fertile imagination which make even the commonplace events of daily life into battlegrounds where misunderstanding and confusion reign.All he asks is to be loved, -- but not by the intimidating Carole who contrives and schemes to get him into her bed.In his mind there is a simple solution. Kill his wife and marry his secretary. But where to get the gun?Pausing only to reflect on topology and the meaning of life, Tom pursues a single minded route through a minefield populated by topless dancers and hippopotami, only slightly phased by a tendency to see people as donuts, and use Exchange and Mart as his guide.Frogs, Pizzas, Water Beds, Pygmies, Licorice Flavoured Condoms and an Ostrich all have key parts to play in this drama of everyday folk.This is a love story, or perhaps a murder story, or maybe it's just a tale about a man who doesn't own a decent jacket..... and in the background lurks the mysterious Geoffrey, without whom the story would be incomplete.
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    The Ball

      Jonathan M Barrett
The Ball

Every evening, Ted finds reasons to take him away from the horror stories of the six o'clock news. Today he spots what looks like a ball in the garden. Breaking his routine, he steps outside.This isn't a deep book about first loves or self-discovery. If you want a book like that, I'd be happy to recommend one, but I don't have that kind of story to tell. Instead my story is about rash decisions and finding out that your dream guy is bad in bed. It's the story of when I finally went skinny dipping, and how my life was never the same again. Oh, and it's also the story of my freshman year of college and realizing Mr. Right might have been there all along.*New Adult Romance- contains sexual situations*
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    Otherwise

      Jonathan M Barrett / History & Fiction / Romance & Love
Otherwise

Is Francis Napier a man or a woman? William, a young lawyer, must find the truth about the mercurial prisoner. William’s interrogation of Napier leads him into a world of doubt where he discovers the possibility for otherwise. Against the background of New Zealand in WW1, this novella weaves historical fact, fiction and Greek myth in a fractured love story and reflects on the nature of gender.Is Francis Napier a man or a woman? William Stephens, a young lawyer, is about to depart New Zealand to serve in the First World War when he is seconded to investigate the strange claims of a draft dodger. His interrogation of the mercurial prisoner leads William into a world of doubt that jeopardises his engagement to Edith, a budding artist, and his future in liberal Wellington. This novella weaves historical fact, imaginative fiction and allusions to Greek myth to show how things might prove otherwise for William. It is at once a fractured love story and a reflection on the nature of gender.
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    Uses of Agapanthus

      Jonathan M Barrett
Uses of Agapanthus

When Brett pays his weekly visit to his mother at her retirement home, he’s annoyed to see a vase of agapanthus – now a weed in their new home – next to her bed. But his protests set off long suppressed memories for her. As Brett’s wife Suzie asks: is Mom confusing or confessing?If you've enjoyed this free short story, please rate it and leave a review. Thanks, Jonathan.When the one thing you live for is taken from you, do you let it go or do you fall? Jade, like any other student at Brushwood High, awaits the start of the school year with a certain measure of dread. Worse, she is being threatened by a voice that only she can hear—a voice that lurks at the edges of her awareness, haunting her and warning her of something unknown. She has always been able to count on her two best friends, Claire and Nate, but can she confide in them now? About this? Would they even believe her? Life takes a turn for the better when she meets Avan, a darkly handsome new student who, somehow, seems to drown out the voice and make her feel at ease. But Jade soon comes to realize that good things don’t last forever. When everything spirals out of control, she is shattered by something she never saw coming. Dazed and despairing, she must now overcome tragedy and embrace her true existence and a new but dangerous love. Will she be able to save herself and those she loves, before it’s too late? Or will she let the surrounding darkness consume her?
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    In the Fifth Season

      Jonathan M Barrett / Humor
In the Fifth Season

Against a background of modern corporate culture and a tragic death, this bitter-sweet comedy weaves stories of love and relationships, ambition and folly.Rob Hamilton, a disaffected insurance lawyer, and Toni Haast, a quietly ambitious claims clerk, are sent to Exmouth, a small town on New Zealand's West Coast, to investigate the suspicious death of Artemis Washburn. On family holidays in Exmouth, Rob's father had filled his young son's mind with ideas of the fifth season - the time when things don't quite fit, like rain when it's sunny. As they delve into the truth behind Artemis's death and their relationship develops, Rob and Toni glimpse life in the fifth season. Meanwhile, back in Wellington, the gilded life of Andy Wu, the Dependable Insurance Company’s stellar CEO, starts to tarnish. Can his marriage to Samantha survive his jealousy of Owen Huntly, top salesman and Lothario? Against a background of modern corporate culture and a tragic death, this bitter-sweet comedy weaves stories of love and relationships, ambition and folly.
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    House Hunting

      Jonathan M Barrett
House Hunting

When Kim and David go house hunting, they’re hoping for a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity. But is their relationship strong enough to survive the rigours of house hunting in the gentrified suburbs of Wellington?Local pub owner Jemima Jane Ericson is living a lie. She’s been in love with her best friend Ethan since forever. But he fell in love with another woman, married her, and despite their tempestuous relationship and decade old divorce, JJ knows Ethan’s heart is still down for the count. And friendship is better than nothing, right?Single dad and Jumbuck Springs chief of police, Ethan Weston, hits the pub the night his ex-wife remarries and announces she wants custody of their daughter. When he wakes the next morning to find himself in JJ’s bed he’s mortified that they’d crossed a line they should never have crossed. Until JJ’s abusive ex, Shane, shows up at her door and Ethan claims he and JJ are engaged to protect her.Both are stunned by the unravelling of their normally sane lives but suddenly it makes sense – JJ gets a deterrent and Ethan gets the respectability of a wife for any custody claims. But when JJ’s life is threatened, Ethan is forced to confront feelings that may just run much deeper than convenience…
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    Accident Report

      Jonathan M Barrett
Accident Report

Paul has the unenviable task of investigating the death of a young crop spraying pilot. As he travels from the crash site to a tavern run by an eccentric old flyer, Paul reflects on being a father, and how he became estranged from his son.Apollo is an orphan in the walled farming community of Alcazar. Everyone else his age is eagerly awaiting their apprenticeships that proceed the ritual that will determine their place in society, the Ceremony of Ascension. Without a heritage, Apollo knows it's something he can never have. But then the last week of school is canceled and Apollo's dread is turned into surprise when he's summoned by the leader of their community. The boy soon learns of the unique bond they both share, that's also littered with a long trail of deceit and genetic manipulations.
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    The Measure of Gary Mooney

      Jonathan M Barrett
The Measure of Gary Mooney

Miss Davis’s class have been studying measurement all term. Today, they will measure each other’s normal walking speed. But class misfit Gary Mooney has other plans. This playground tale reveals much about social conformity, betrayal and punishment.The Measure of Gary Mooney was awarded third place in the New Zealand 2007 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition.Dr. Jonathan Anderson, chair of the psychology department of Dallas's most prestigious university, received a rejection letter on his life's work. The next day, October 31, 2008, he got a second chance, an article confirming the existence of ghosts at the infamous Reindeer Manor. The current owner, who only goes by Andy, has been running the property as a Halloween attraction for years. However, it's not the attraction that is of interest to Anderson, but rather its true history. Upon visiting the manor, he struck a deal with the owner to rent the entire property for five days, under the condition that all Halloween props are removed. Unfortunately for Dr. Anderson, he got his way...
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