Michael O’Leary is releasing a new novel, Apocrypha Scripta, in 2020. He states: “During the COVID-19 crisis, I have completed a new novel utilising much of my previous work amalgamated with some new material. ”

Below is the cover.


Book description:

During the writing of his autobiography, Die Bibel (published in 2016 by Steele/Roberts), Michael O’Leary began a parallel fictional autobiography which he conceived as an ‘apocrypha’ of additonal aspects to his intellectual life, a kind of Rainbows End of the Mind, as its characters & events ride a rollercoaster of the psyche, encompassing an emotional weltanschauung, what might be called the Stratosfear of history & life. It reads not unlike the earliest Dadaist writings & therefore has the sub-title: a Surrealist Novel. Perhaps it’s about dislocation in society: perhaps it isn’t. Maybe it’s about a suburban man becoming unsettled in real life & entering the ‘other’ world of the imagination: maybe it isn’t. Apocrypha Scripta is about identity & belonging. It is also a complex & often beguiling look at the ‘Sixties’ generation of peace & love & anti-materialism which morphed & degenerated into the ‘I, me, mine’ of the ‘reforms’ of the mid-eighties & nineties which created the 21st Century Schizoid Person, fuelled by technology & greed, love & dreams, war & peace, culminating in the ‘stop the world, I wanna get off’ motif, as the world cries from Cloud 9, 2020 Vision & Reality of COVID-19 & the ‘Existential Crisis’ of realising that we need to not want so much, as well as finally understanding that the word ‘Existential’ might really have a meaning.

Publication date: May 2020

Price: $40.00 direct from ESAW, email olearymichael154@gmail.com.

Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop


A new anthology of the winners of the ESAW Poetry Prize since 2007 has been published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in their relaunched mini series.

Title: The ESAW Poetry Prize: An Anthology of the Winners (No. 36)
Compiler: Mark Pirie
ISBN: 978-1-86942-190-8
Price: $10.00
Extent: 24 pages
Format: A6
Publication: February 2020
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop

Earl Woodcut by Nigel Brown

The Earl of Seacliff (woodcut) by Nigel Brown

About the Book

The ESAW Poetry Prize began in 2007. Its winners have included emerging and established New Zealand poets and has helped to recognize poets outside the mainstream presses and publishing houses. The winners are: Evelyn Conlon 2007, Will Leadbeater 2008, Jill Chan 2009, Robin Fry 2010, Barry Southam 2011, Jeanne Bernhardt 2016, Mary Maringikura Campbell 2017, Bill Dacker 2018 and Jeremy Roberts 2019. The book is compiled by Mark Pirie who helped Dr Michael O’Leary, the Earl of Seacliff, with the selection process for the award mostly presented at Winter Readings in Wellington, 2007-2019. Cover woodcut of the Earl of Seacliff by Nigel Brown.

About the Editor

Mark Pirie is a Wellington poet, editor and publisher. Pirie has published four mini books previously with ESAW, a biography Tom Lawn, Mystery Forward and written or edited a number of poetry collections, including the Winter Readings series and a selection of early poems, Giving Poetry a Bad Name.

A posthumous publication of UK-born American Professor and author Michael Duffett has been published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workhop in their relaunched mini series.

Title: 20 Sonnets: Uncollected Poems 2014-2019 (No. 37)
Author: Michael Duffett (USA)
Editor: Mark Pirie
ISBN: 978-1-86942-191-5
Price: $10.00
Extent: 24 pages
Format: A6
Publication: February 2020
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop

Michael Duffett

Michael Duffett by Debra Duffett, 2016

About the Book

Michael Duffett (1943-2019), a Californian Professor and poet, died last year from a terminal illness. He left behind many unpublished and uncollected poems which he had been sending to his poetry editor Mark Pirie in New Zealand since 2014. Pirie has put together a posthumous sequence from Duffett’s mostly untitled sonnets, in order to keep in print the best of Duffett’s poetry for research libraries and his readers. In 2019, Duffett’s book, The Presence of Love: Poems Selected and New was published by Pirie’s publishing company HeadworX in New Zealand.

About the Editor

Mark Pirie is a Wellington poet, editor and publisher. Pirie has published four mini books previously with ESAW, a biography Tom Lawn, Mystery Forward and written or edited a number of poetry collections, including the Winter Readings series and a selection of early poems, Giving Poetry a Bad Name.

ESAW has published a photobook by Margaret Jeune in a limited private edition of 10 copies. The publication continues the ESAW series of art books that includes well known artists Nigel Brown and photographer Nigel Yates, as well as Dr Michael O’Leary’s own Artist: Artworks and Words.

The book includes photos taken by Margaret Jeune on her travels around New Zealand and overseas in England, Scotland, France and Ireland.

Title:  A Photo Journey
Artist: Margaret Jeune
ISBN 978-1-86942-188-5
Extent: 60 pages
Format: 215x215mm
Publication: December 2019
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop


A new collection of Science Fiction and speculative poetry compiled by Wellington authors and editors Tim Jones and Mark Pirie features in the relaunched ESAW mini series.

Title:  Star Words: Science Fiction and Speculative Poetry from New Zealand
(No. 35)
Compilers: Tim Jones and Mark Pirie
ISBN 978-1-86942-189-2
Extent: 24 pages
Format: A6
Publication: December 2019
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop

star words

Cover photo by Margaret Jeune, 2019

About the Book

This anthology is compiled from poems read on 30 October 2019 at the 10th anniversary reading for Voyagers, winner of the Vogel Award for Best Collected Work 2009.  Contributors: Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, Harvey Molloy, Mark Pirie, Vivienne Plumb, Nick Ascroft, Margaret Jeune, Tabatha Wood, Tony Hopkins and Michael O’Leary. To the memory of  B. E. Turner, technical editor of the ESAW Mini Series, d. October 2019.

About the Editors

Tim Jones was awarded the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. He has published five collections of poetry, one novel, a novella and two short story collections. He has co-edited two Australasian poetry anthologies specialising in speculative, fantasy, horror and Science Fiction poetry.

Mark Pirie is a Wellington poet, editor and publisher. Pirie has published four mini books previously with ESAW, a biography Tom Lawn, Mystery Forward and written or edited a number of poetry collections, including the Winter Readings series and a selection of early poems, Giving Poetry a Bad Name.



Brian E Turner, 1936-2019

In October 2019, Dr Michael O’Leary was saddened to farewell his long time publishing companion and fellow writer/playwright Brian Edward (B E) Turner, who had become Michael’s technical editor with ESAW in the early/mid-2000s. Together the two worked together and produced many Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop titles, including the signature mini book series which ran to nearly 40 titles. Brian until recently had also maintained the ESAW website until its closure.

Brian E Turner added much needed impetus to the support of local Kapiti and Horowhenua writing under the ESAW imprint. Brian also worked on other projects such as typesetting/design work for local authors like Marion Rego and the Horowhenua Writer’s Group anthology. Brian’s support of local and national writers will be sorely missed.

We have reproduced an article Brian E Turner wrote for the 25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff book published in 2009 and edited by Mark Pirie, a long term editor and associate of ESAW.

My story with the Earl by Brian E Turner

At the age of 58, I fell from a roof. Although the head damage limited my ability to concentrate for extended periods, it qualified me for a writer’s grant from the Accident Compensation Commission. Having time on my hands, I decided to write a novel that had been rattling around in my head for a number of years. This novel had a history. It was accepted by two overseas agents and two overseas internet publishers. They all went out of business. My friend, Frances Cherry, liked the book and decided to invite myself and a publisher-friend to a dinner party. This was where I met Michael O’Leary for the first time. After an excellent meal, some bottles of wine and literary conversation Michael took Frances’ word that it was a good book and agreed to publish. Eventually, he did actually read it, though his stated policy was – ‘we write books, we publish books, we shouldn’t have to read them.’ The published book did reasonably well, partly because of a remarkable review by someone who thought I was someone else. (It appears I am a pretty good writer if I am someone with a reputation but not so good if I’m not.)

A couple of years later Michael asked me if I wanted to become publicist for ESAW. The distribution agency that Michael had been using had been sold and the new owner decided to abandon him. This seemed to be quite an interesting retirement occupation so I found a free newsletter email program and collected email addresses of bookshops and libraries from the internet. I also thought that a website might be a help. Initially I considered utilising free space provided by my ISP, however, it turned out that commercial space is pretty cheap so we bought some and registered our domain name – ‘earlofseacliff’. Being a self-taught web designer, I developed a rough and ready site that seems to do the trick. There are over 350 files on the site. It gets hits from all over the world and has actually brought business from American universities. Nevertheless the email newsletter and website do not enable us to penetrate as far into the market as we would like.

The next step was to distribute the books. Over time the most efficient methods of using the postal system were developed. Also, having spent my life programming computers, I was able to develop a system for invoicing and recording of data in the Microsoft Access programming language. It’s a rare system but it does the trick, although I’m probably the only person able to use it.

About this time it came to my attention that ESAW’s publishing process using offset printing was surely uneconomical for short run books of poetry. This led me into an enquiry into the methods of digital printing. The local print shop was very helpful in this and we started publishing chapbooks as well as the Christmas Surprise mini book and our mini series. I utilised Microsoft Publisher as the typesetting tool, and eventually graduated to Adobe Pagemaker (which Mark Pirie, of HeadworX, had also been using to help typeset and design a number of works for us).

We are still not selling books in large quantities; however, the press is financial. What we really need is an agent that will approach libraries and bookshops direct but as yet we have not been able to find one.

So I am now publicist, distributor, webmaster, accountant and publisher. No it’s not a take-over, it’s just a retirement hobby. 

Article copyright B  E Turner, 2009 (from The Earl is in… 25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff, edited by Mark Pirie, ESAW, Paekakariki, 2009).



A debut novel by writer and poet Gary Mutton has recently been released by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop.

Title:  Ear to the Ground: A Novel
Author: Gary Mutton
ISBN 978-1-86942-186-1
Extent: 96 pages
Format: A5
Publication: August 2019
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop


Michael O’Leary recently contributed his drawing of Metallica to the anthology of poems celebrating the Winter Readings held at Paekakariki on Saturday, 23 August.

The annual event formed a tribute to Metallica, a continuation of a poetry reading series which began in 2004. Previous drawings by Michael O’Leary included Jim Morrison, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Oasis, Bee Gees and the Beach Boys.


Metallica by Michael O’Leary, 2019


The Black Album Readings: Winter Readings 2019 edited by Mark Pirie (ESAW, 2019)

At this year’s Winter Readings in Paekakariki, “The Black Album Readings”, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop published an anthology of the readers, and awarded its annual poetry prize to Jeremy Roberts (Hawke’s Bay), a surprise award.

The Black Album Readings held at St Peter’s Hall on 17 August 2019 was a tribute to the heavy rock group Metallica and an event continuing the return of a popular poetry reading series in the Wellington region presented by the Poetry Archive Trust, HeadworX Publishers and ESAW 2003-2008, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This year’s attendance was small due to bad weather but maintained its support from the previous years, and the participants were Rob Hack (MC), Tim Jones, Jeremy Roberts, Mary Maringikura Campbell, HeadworX editor Mark Pirie, Alex Jeune, Margaret Jeune, and ESAW publisher Michael O’Leary.

Alex Jeune was first up and read short, sensitive and tightly polished, image-based poems. Jeremy Roberts followed giving a sense of his billing as a Napier Live Poets host. His livewire poetry was well suited to performance. Mary Maringikura Campbell read afterwards with powerful and colourful poetry. Tim Jones ended the first part of the reading with a mixture of climate change poetry and music poetry, including several which featured Metallica and gave a profound insight into the rock business.

Rob Hack restarted the session after a short coffee/tea break with a poem on his experiences, going to the mines to “make it big” in Western Australia. Michael O’Leary read from his Collected Poems (HeadworX, 2017) and The Black Album Readings anthology.

Mark Pirie’s poems were mainly a mixture of music-centred poems (noting the influence of Metallica on his early book Ride the Tempest) and sports poetry. He ended with a tribute to the great All Black Jonah Lomu. Margaret Jeune was the final reader and read a mixture of new and old work, including poems from Flight Paths (HeadworX, 2019). One of her poems celebrated a recent reading at Titirangi Poets in Auckland.

Poem by Jeremy Roberts


Music always came from a better place.
It spoke to me like big soul-filling ka-ching
within the stupefying vortex of the material world.
My daughter is playing her recording of a new song.
I know this place well & sink comfortably into the leather sofa –
gently biting the soft flesh inside my mouth,
as a substitute for chewing gum.
The waves soon call me back to a time waiting for Casey Kasem
to introduce Barry Manilow singing ‘I Write the Songs.’
It was American, you see –
the musical infiltration of starving ears,
a therapeutic displacement of social failure,
anxiety over career expectations.
Oh, how drab the system was – almost sending you off your rocker!
& then:
A clap of thunder underneath a fingernail.
Thin lips pressed against the throbbing VU meter.
An intense light of freedom fluttering –
louder & louder in a dark corner of the bedroom.

Poem copyright Jeremy Roberts, 2019

(Winner of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize, 2019)

2018-08-25 08.25.09

Jeremy Roberts

A new collection of poetry by Wellington author and editor Tim Jones features in the relaunched ESAW mini series.

Title:  Big Hair Was Everywhere: Music Poems (No. 34)
Author: Tim Jones
ISBN 978-1-86942-163-0
Extent: 24 pages
Format: A6
Publication: February 2019
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop


About the Book

Tim Jones grew up on classical music (a lifelong interest) and didn’t hear rock music till high school in the early 1970s, where a classmate brought along a portable record player and played Deep Purple and Uriah Heep during lunch breaks. It was all on from there.

About the Author

Tim was awarded the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. He has had one novel, one standalone novella, two short story collections,and four poetry collections published, and has co-edited two poetry anthologies, including Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, co-edited with Mark Pirie (IP, 2009). His most recent poetry collection is New Sea Land (Mākaro Press, 2016).