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LET ME BE FRANK: Comics 2010-2019 (published by VUP in October 2019 and Lightning Books in February 2020

lmbfcoverLet Me Be Frank brings Sarah Laing’s popular autobiographical comic series together for the first time.

Sarah Laing began blogging her comics in 2009 as a way to shed light on her fiction writing and to record life before it evaporated. The comics soon had a large audience, eager for the next instalment about Sarah’s parenting fails and successes, her writing, her obsession with Katherine Mansfield, her family’s history, her pet mice, sex, clothes and more.

Let Me Be Frank is a witty, whip-smart comic collection that is always disarmingly frank

MANSFIELD AND ME: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR (published by VUP in October 2016)

mmcover200“Katherine Mansfield is a literary giant in New Zealand—but she had to leave the country to become one. She wrote, ‘Oh to be a writer, a real writer.’ And a real writer she was, until she died at age 34 of tuberculosis. The only writer Virginia Woolf was jealous of, Mansfield hung out with the modernists, lost her brother in World War I, dabbled in Alistair Crowley’s druggy occult gatherings and spent her last days in a Fontainebleu commune with Olgivanna, Frank Lloyd Wright’s future wife. She was as famous for her letters and diaries as for her short stories. Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, too. A writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.”

“Sarah Laing’s gorgeous, playful drawings and self-deprecating humour lightly mask a complex meditation on writing, celebrity and the conscious construction of self. A very New Zealand coming-of-age story: brilliant, funny, thoughtful and smart.”
– Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen.

THE FALL OF LIGHT: A NOVEL (published by Vintage July 2013)

“An excitingly confalloflightFINAL2-1temporary and innovative blend of a beautifully written novel with pictures.

Rudy is a successful architect, but life is not as happy as it should be. His work leaves him artistically frustrated, his wife and two young daughters have moved out of the house he designed for them, and his pushy young associate is vying for design supremacy. When a Vespa accident puts him into hospital and forces him to recuperate at home, he looks in danger of losing everything, but it is then that his repressed artistic yearnings start to make their presence felt, not just in the glass creations he begins to craft, but also in his strange, vivid dreams.

This is a terrific novel in its own right, but with Sarah Laing’s superb ink-wash drawings, interspersing the text, it offers an additional and intriguingly innovative way to tell a story.

DEAD PEOPLE’S MUSIC: A NOVEL (published by Vintage April 2009)

9781869791087.jpg“Classical is karaoke – just playing covers of dead people’s music – or so Wellingtonian Rebecca concluded at her London conservatorium. She’s sabotaged her scholarship there, but wants to keep playing the cello, like her grandmother, Klara. Now unmoored from her classical training, she’s in New York City, where Klara grew up. As Rebecca investigates her Jewish-refugee heritage, she starts to compose her own songs, but has to contend with diabetes and other burning issues: is she with the right man, or should she swap stability for lust? And how much longer can she live with a neurotic, junk-scavenging flatmate, on the verge of murdering another zebra fish?”

COMING UP ROSES: COLLECTED STORIES (published by Vintage July 2007)

9781869798789‘Imagine that you’re a statistic,’ says one of the characters in these quirky, haunting stories of people whose inner lives let them escape the boxes that others put them into. The single mum, the student working in the pie factory, the newborn baby, the dying woman, the Kiwi alone in New York and many others pass through these stories and in doing so let us enter their lives.

THREE WORDS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AOTEAROA/NZ WOMEN’S COMICS (co-edited with Rae Joyce and Indira Neville; published in March 2016 by Beatnik)

3words“Women in Aotearoa New Zealand make comics. They make slick professional comics and homemade crafty ones. some are conventionally attractive and some are beautifully ugly. Some have logical linear narratives and some are cerebral visual leaping swirls. There are big proud comics and small humble ones, widely distributed comics and one-offs, comics that are deep and meaningful and some that are light and silly. There are physical, emotional and intellectual comics, intentional and accidental comics, happy, sad, funny, angry, scary, confusing and wondrous comics.
For some it may be a surprise to find so many comics by women cartoonists, since conventional wisdom would have us believe that the comics scene is a boys’ club. But it’s not a surprise to us. Although women’s comics haven’t been represented much in New Zealand history books, they have been found in zines and magazines, tumblrs, twitter feeds, shoe boxes, art galleries, painted on old tea trays and brochures, magneted to fridges, tattooed on forearms. And now they’re also here. In this book. A whole bunch of them, up front, visible, available and MAKING HISTORY.”

THE CURIOSEUM: COLLECTED STORIES OF THE ODD AND MARVELLOUS (illustrator and designer – edited by Adrienne Jansen; published by Te Papa Press, March 2014)

curioseum_float“What happens when you let a group of writers loose ‘backstage’ in a museum? Te Papa invited twenty-two of New Zealand’s best children’s authors to spend a day in the Museum’s collections, and to choose one of the museum’s taonga (treasures) as a starting point for an imaginative journey.

The result is a truly original compendium of stories and poems for 8–12 year olds, with whimsical illustrations from award-winning Sarah Laing. It’s a unique collaboration between Te Papa Press and the Whitireia Creative Writing and Publishing Programmes.”

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 17/03/2011 1:07 pm

    Wow! I’ve only just realized you have a blog and have done all this work. What rock have I been living under!! I just visited Corporate Agenda last week. Not much has changed :o) I’m going to start reading all your stuff!

  2. 18/08/2011 11:04 am

    Sarah!! You blog!
    I have just finished “Dead People’s Music” and LOVED it.
    It was recommended to me by some school mums… I couldn’t believe it when they told me that a women from my kids school has written such a great novel.
    We are in the presence of greatness.
    You are my new hero.
    I’m a blogger wannabe writer from I’m pretty sure our kids are both at the cool school starting with G.
    I’m freinds with Justine Conroy – it was her that recommended the book to me.
    I have a little monthly bookclub {Mrs Readalot’s Bloggy Bookclub} on my blog and I’ll be reviewing your book along with anther new favourite, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
    Would love to meet you sometime. Coffee? I’m buying.

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      18/08/2011 6:55 pm

      Yay, thanks so much! I’m very glad that you liked it! And yes, it would be nice to meet up, I probably see you every day anyway coming to and from school.

      • 30/08/2011 9:06 pm

        Oh cool – I didn’t get your reply!
        Thought you must have thought I was being a bit presumptuous!
        I hope you have a lovely anniversary BTW…

  3. Caroline permalink
    30/09/2011 9:57 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    I read Dead People’s Music a couple of years ago and thought it was brilliant. (It caught my eye on a display in the library.) It was one of the few times I’ve wanted to get in touch with an author just to say how much I enjoyed the book. Instead I procrastinated, a recurring problem. I was reminded how good it was when I heard bits of it on National Radio recently. While not having a musical bone in my body, I identified with so much in your book.
    I’ve just discovered your blog (OK, I’ve just discovered blogs full stop). As a mum and editor – currently more the former than the latter – I love reading about your literary exploits and motherhood dramas, especially in fabulous comic form. I’m with you re the cleaning. Good luck with your next novel. I look forward to reading more.


  1. Music to warm a book by – Tracy Farr – Author

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