Local author Airini Beautrais launches her first short story collection Bug Week and Other Stories at the Whanganui Regional Museum on Friday.
The 184 page paperback with a cover illustration by Philip Kelly represents a decade of writing stories while she has been studying, working, writing poetry anthologies and parenting her two young sons.
"All the stories are fictional and inspired by things I have seen and heard rather than my own experiences," Beautrais said.
"Some were inspired by dreams.
"Creative writing teachers have advised me not to write stories based on dreams but the ideas they inspired seemed too good not to use."
Bug Week and Other Stories has been praised by New Zealand's foremost short story writer Owen Marshall who singled it out as his Book of the Week for a review on Newsroom.
Although he describes Beautrais' stories as "not for the faint-hearted" he found them pleasurable to read and looks forward to reading more of her work.
"The collection focuses on relationships in a wry, somewhat cynical manner that provides both recognition and humour for the reader, and the author's talent as a poet is also in evidence in some impressive passages... Stories of this quality are a pleasure to read and I look forward to more from this talented, often acerbic, writer."
Publisher Victoria University Press describes Beautrais' book as "a scalpel-clean examination of male entitlement, a dissection of death, an agar plate of mundanity. From 1960s Wellington to post-Communist Germany, Bug Week traverses the weird, the wry and the grotesque in a story collection of human taxonomy."
Beautrais said she has chosen the museum as the venue for her launch as there are links with local history in the book.
"The moose head in the museum features in one of the stories," she said.
"The Whanganui stories are set in the 1980s and 1990s and there is one set in 1960s Wellington as well as one set in Southland."
Beautrais is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Flow: Whanganui River Poems (2017). Her first collection, Secret Heart (2006), won the Jessie Mackay Award for First Book of Poetry at the 2007 NZ Book Awards. In 2016 she won the Landfall Essay Prize. She has also been a judge for a number of awards, including the 2018 Ockham NZ Book Awards.
Bug Week and Other Stories: Launch begins in the Davis Theatre in Watt St at 5.30pm on Friday and there will be refreshments in the education room to follow. Copies of the book will be available for $30 and it will be available at Paiges Book Gallery in Guyton St.