I spoke with Rhydian Thomas, a writer and musician from South Wales who lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His writing has appeared in The Pantograph Punch, Sport, Hue & Cry and Turbine. He has released music with The Body Lyre and Strangers.
With the 2023 NZ election approaching on Milk Island, the novel’s four main characters are interwoven into the same sprawling web of prisons, politics, tourism and media. On the former South Island, patriotism and prosperity trumps all else and life matters very little unless you’re Milky Moo, the nation’s favourite genetically-enhanced cow.
The cast of characters includes:
- A freelance farming journalist who infiltrates the Press Gallery for a behind-the-scenes tour of New Zealand’s reconstructed South Island.
- A new inmate in Christchurch Men’s dairying prison who wails a tale of blood and milk to the interactive avatar of comedian Billy T James.
- A private agri-prison operator who juggles two escapees and a political hit, with far too much of her money and pride riding on a prison fight.
- A rogue Twitter account who wanders the wilderness of Milk Island, reporting on environmental collapse under accusations of domestic terrorism.
“It is a very serious joke,” says Wellington-based author Rhydian Thomas. “I have spent years of my life on this joke. I hope someone will laugh at it.”
Rhydian is reading with Dominic Hoey and Ria Masae at Timeout Bookshop on August 19
Rhydian will also be at the New Zealand Young Writers Festival in Dunedin September 7-10
This episode includes sounds released under Creative Commons licenses from Freesound.org
Thanks to Freesound users: jschi
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Episode 49: Pip Adam talks with Rhydian Thomas about Milk Island