Awesome interview

The Bay News spoke to local author and poet Marcel Currin about his new book Go Random Strangers You Are Awesome which is a collection of opinion columns he wrote for the Bay of Plenty Times.

How did Go Random Strangers You Are Awesome come about?

The book collects the best of the opinion columns that I wrote for the Bay of Plenty Times between 2013 -2015. I set myself a very high standard for those columns each week, which was that my own writing was never allowed to bore me and it had to be something that people would want to read more than once.

Why did you decide to publish it?

I published the book for my own satisfaction. Writing the column was the primary focus of my creative energy for two and a half years and I wanted to have something to show for it. I continue to meet people who tell me they miss my writing so I figured it was worth putting it out there as a book. Feedback so far suggests it was the right decision.

A risk with this sort of collection is that the articles become dated very quickly, but Go Random Strangers is not shackled to its current events. A view I maintain throughout the book is that we’re all humans and we’re all in this together. That’s possibly a quality that helped my columns to stand apart as cheerful notes of thoughtfulness in a predominantly negative landscape. There’s something warm and generous about the collection as a whole, qualities we definitely need right now. I think it’s going to last the distance.

Where can you buy the book and how much is it?

$25 from Books a Plenty or the Dry Dock cafe. I got permission from the Bay of Plenty Times to self-publish the book on a small scale. It’s not a book that is trying to take over the world. It’s there for my own satisfaction and for the enjoyment of everyone who is lucky enough to get a copy before it sells out. It will eventually join Ministry of Ideas as an ebook on the Kindle Store.

How long have you been an author for?

I published a book of very short stories, called Ministry of Ideas, in 2012. It’s sold out now but is available as an ebook on the Amazon Kindle Store. I’m still very proud of it. It’s the sort of quirky little book I would love to discover and buy for myself.

I’ve been writing my whole life in one way or another. Since 2004 I’ve had poetry published in literary journals and anthologies. A poem I wrote about Memorial Park was once used as an NCEA English exam question. Imagine that, the entire nation of students stressing over my poem at the same time. I’m not sure that’s the best way to get an audience, but it was pretty funny to have people studying my work.

When did you first discover your love for the written word?

I don’t remember ever not loving reading and writing. Credit my parents for all the stories and Spike Milligan poems they read me as a kid.

What is your favourite type of writing genre and why?

I like anything that is written well and sparks new ideas. The words themselves need to be a pleasure. That’s what attracts me to poetry in particular. Both of my books offer individual morsels of writing that satisfy on their own terms.