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Landfall editor to change

MEDIA RELEASE 8 March 2000

Landfall editor to change

As New Zealand's longest-running literary journal, Landfall has seen quite a number of editors come and go since the 20-year reign of its founder Charles Brasch, but has always retained its central position in the local literary world. Now current editor Chris Price has decided to call it a day after almost seven years, and welcomes Justin Paton as the new editor. Paton, aged 27, is well-known as an art critic for The Listener and Art New Zealand and is currently curator of contemporary art at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

"A long-running magazine such as Landfall needs to be periodically renewed if it is to retain its freshness and relevance," says Chris Price. "Issue 200 in the year 2000 seems like a good time for a 'changing of the guard', to hand over to someone with new and different ideas, so that Landfall has the fresh impetus required to carry it forward into the new century. I'm looking forward to the changes that Justin Paton will bring to the style and content of Landfall, and I'm pleased that it will again be edited from Dunedin, the home of founder-editor Charles Brasch. I'd like to think he would approve." Price, who is also co-ordinator of the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week (opening in Wellington on 14 March), has been praised for her role as editor. Since she took over in 1993 Landfall has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and won the 1999 Review Pages of the Year Award.

Asked where he wants the journal to go, Paton says: "I want Landfall to go where it has gone since the start - into the hands and minds of readers for whom words really count. I don't have a programme for those readers. What I have are passions. And I want Landfall to remain a place for readers who are passionate citizens rather than consumers - willing souls in a small, avid, argumentative community rather than blips in a demographic. That sense of community, of shared pleasure, is what makes Charles Brasch's journal a beacon. There's imagination on both sides of the page: on the side of writers who muster the time and courage to really say something, and on the side of readers with the patience and appetite to listen in.

"What do I hope to do as editor? I want to make space for the 'arts' in the old subtitle 'A Journal of Arts and Letters'. I want to put essay and gloves-off argument even more firmly in Landfall's foreground. I want to pay some fresh attention to the journal's momentous history, and to amplify that history by welcoming new voices onstage. I want the journal to be a listening post, a safety deposit box, a moving target, a big noise from a small room...

"Flick through the Landfall archive and you get a graph of the growth of the local imagination, a kind of cultural EEG. It's a tradition - almost 200 issues, a bookshelf humming with history - but it isn't settled. If traditions are alive then they're up in the air. Others can predict when and where Landfall's tradition will come to land. I hope to be too busy keeping things airborne."

Landfall 199, the latest issue, has just been released to coincide the New Zealand Festival, and is guest-edited by Damien Wilkins. The next issue is Landfall 200, which is due in November 2000, and will be co-edited by Chris Price and Justin Paton to ease the transition from one editor to the next.

About the new editor Justin Paton was born in Timaru in 1972. He has a BA in English and Art History from the University of Canterbury, and is curator of contemporary art at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Previously he was a lecturer in the history and theory of painting, sculpture and photography at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland. His art criticism, articles and book reviews have been published in a number of newspapers and magazines including the Christchurch Press, New Zealand Listener, New Zealand Herald, Art New Zealand, Evening Post, The Pander, Art and Asia Pacific, and Landfall. He has been an essayist for a number of art exhibition catalogues, and a guest curator for the Robert McDougall Art Gallery. He has judged both of New Zealand's major art awards: the Visa Gold Art Award (1997) and the James Wallace Art Award (1999). He has also been an art commentator on radio and television.

CONTACTS For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Philippa Jamieson, publicist, University of Otago Press, tel (03) 479 9094, fax (03) 479 8385, email philippa.jamieson@stonebow.otago.ac.nz Or contact the new and outgoing editors: Justin Paton, tel (03) 474 3256, email justin.paton@dcc.govt.nz Chris Price, tel 025 246 2824 (until 26 March)

ENDS

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