About Fine Line Press and its founder, Graham Bathgate
The wish and intention of Fine Line Press is to produce books of quality mostly by new writers. To begin with the focus was on Japan, where I lived for a long time.
FLP is interested in writers who feel that they can write, especially about their own real experiences, in an alluring, lyrical and delightful way. Fine Line Press originated out of our good fortune to work on the memories of a Japanese writer, Masuho Fujita. The production of Glimpses of Old Tokyo took several years of work with the writer, the artist, an independent editor and others. It seemed a good idea after so much work to create a personal outlet for Masuho’s book, enabling the publication of more books that would never see the light of day otherwise.
That’s me in a 2010 picture with some suitable Japanese things. A long time before this I was a high school teacher in Masterton and a communication skills tutor at Wellington Polytechnic before going to Tokyo to teach English communication and presentation skills at the English Language Education Council (ELEC) in Jimbocho, central Tokyo. It was here that I met Masuho Fujita, a student who wrote beautiful essays about her memories of Tokyo in the 1930s.
Ever-growing list of titles
Please browse this website to learn more about FLP’s books on Japan: A Walk in Japan (2015) and Whisper of the Land (2014). For your delight and edification, earlier books were Downunder Japan (March 2012), Japan on Foot (Dec. 2011) and Ribbons of Fate (Dec. 2010). Our first books were Glimpses of Old Tokyo (2009)and Forty Stories of Japan (2010). There’s also Exercises for Glimpses of Old Tokyo for students of English. In 2019 we produced a memoir of Cliff Harrington, American Celebrity Interviewer in Tokyo and there was a Japan detective novel, Imperfect Strangers, by Lea O’Hara. Another collection similar to Forty Stories and Downunder Japan is a possibility. Departing from the books of stories about Japan, we started editing other people’s books: Maragoli Memories (https://finelinepress.co.nz/maragoli-memories/) by Margaret Wilkes, and Great Grandpa’s Tree by Diane Moyna Ross; and also writing our own books: Poetry a Centenarian Remembers, To Wine, Gushers and What Keeps Me Going. Produced in November, 2023 was CatSpeak by GBathgate and True Travel Tales, a collection of travels came out in April/May, 2023.
Books and projects in the works
New work is continuing on several fronts: A travel book came out in May, 2023: about 20 writers’ tales under the title of “True Travel Travel Tales”, different from the usual travel book in that all the stories are out of the ordinary and eccentric, the things that could only happen and the people you could only meet when you’re travelling. The guidelines for this were simple: a bit weird, any length up to 2000-ish words. I wrote something on giving blood for money in Athens way back in the early 1970s, only 700 words. Blood Money, Blood Oath! will give an idea of the kind of tale; it had to be in another place (possibly exotic) and tell a good story.
• There is also work going into a memoir of wee remembrances (“Minding James” is the working title) of old school and lifelong friend who died in February, 2023. Here is an example: Tinribs and the Glue.
• Awaiting organisation is a collection of Naomi Arimura’s writings, her stories and letters.
• Short Story Competition, Nine to Noon, Radio NZ National. Entered The Lion Twin for the first RNZ competition, only 2000 words. Results October 29, 2021. (Nov.1 – Mmm, no luck! I wonder if anyone read it!) Entered “Pick-Up on a Paris Street” in 2022. For 2023 I have sent “150,000 Yen”, based on true events – just got to reduce it from 3000 to 2000 words.
• Tokyo Daze: The fine writer, Sue Turner-Cray is working on her memories of Tokyo – you can read her “Elvis” in Forty Stories of Japan. She also has a good story (“Francisco’s Albariño”) in To Wine, my tribute to the fruit of the grape.
• Music Behind Bars: There is still promise of and hope for this fictionalised prison diary. It was almost done and dusted but writer and musician, Charles Harter decided it would be better if the non-fiction became fiction.
• Full Glass Travels: My own memoirs are always lurking in the wings waiting for their “hour upon the stage”. In fact, this is now being worked on with plans for a production sometime … soonish, possibly in 2024 – aye, we’re not getting any younger!