The Eat Your Words poetry competition is run biennially by Whitireia Creative Writing Programme students and tutors. In 2012 they asked publishing students to help them turn the selected texts into a book.
The publishing students were faced with the sort of production schedule that has publishers wake at night drenched in cold sweat. The competition closed on the evening of 10 August, and the book had to be launched on the 25th. By the time the judging was complete, the students had 10 days to edit the text, lay it out, proof it and have the full print run printed, bound and delivered in time for the launch.
In this case, the solution to the tight deadline was to prepare as much material as possible in advance. So cover, blurb, format and marketing material were ready to go when the winning poems came through the in-box.
Students worked with designer Keely O’Shannessy on the cover, taking it through several stages of design roughs before deciding on a clear, memorable design.
Laying out any book means more than just flowing the text across the page, but this poetry book posed special challenges, with layout and spacings unique to many poems.
By a combination of careful planning (the covers were printed before the text was even finalised, saving printing time at the end of the process) and good old-fashioned not sleeping until the job was done, the students managed to get the book on time to sell out at the final stage of the competition: a poetry reading, awards ceremony and celebration at Meow Café.
Easy Bites 2014
In 2014 the Eat Your Words competition was held again and another group of students put a book together. This cheeky cover was designed by Spencer Levine.