Sir Julius Vogel Award winner

2013 Sir Julius Vogel Award winner:
best collected work

Mansfield with Monsters

Katherine Mansfield is one of New Zealand’s most famous and influential writers. While her work is well known, many will be surprised to learn that the ‘accepted’ versions of her stories are often pale reflections of the original manuscripts.

Mansfield with Monsters is the first time that Mansfield’s vision of the supernatural has been published in full – a dream that she often spoke of in her correspondence with occultist Aleister Crowley and American author H. P. Lovecraft. Matt and Debbie Cowens have pieced together recently recovered fragments of her work, recreating Mansfield’s beloved tales as they were first written, complete with vampires, ghouls, and alien monsters. These versions will shock and delight those in the literary community who always suspected that there was more to Mansfield’s work than we had been led to believe.

Mansfield once wrote, “don’t lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath—as terrible as you like—but a mask.” While we may never know Mansfield’s true face or fate, Matt and Debbie Cowens are proud to draw back the public mask of one of our most beloved authors to reveal the more chilling one beneath.

This collection includes:

  • The Woman at the Store
  • The Wind Blows
  • Sun and Moon
  • Bliss
  • The Young Girl
  • Bank Holiday
  • Mrs Brill
  • Revelations
  • The Daughters of the Lizard Colonel
  • The Escape
  • The Garden Party
  • The Unlife of Ma Parker
  • The Doll’s House
  • The Voyage
  • Her First Bite
  • A Cup of Tea
  • The Fly

Pictured: Debbie Cowens (front), Katherine Mansfield, (in white blouse), Matt Cowens (behind Debbie), and Stephen Minchin (in bowler hat) raise a glass to celebrate Mansfield with Monsters being listed in the Listener's top 100 books of 2012.


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Praise for Mansfield with Monsters

Winner of the 2013 Sir Julius Vogel Award for best collected work

Matt and Debbie Cowens were the winners of the 2013 Sir Julius Vogel Award for best new talent

Named one of the New Zealand Listener’s 100 best books of 2012

“The stories often show a rather nuanced engagement with Mansfield’s prose – and crucially her humour – even as they rework them quite drastically... The best examples weave the monstrous theme into the very fabric of the stories and then bring the reader somewhere quite different.” – Katherine Mansfield Society Newsletter

“[Mansfield with Monsters] could be a way of getting back at ‘the Establishment’ for admiring the ‘New Zealand icon’ of the subtitle by sending up her work... [Matt and Debbie Cowens have] borrowed her stories wholesale, changing them irretrievably... Is not the book ultimately a cheapening and venal venture?” – Landfall

“With the publication of this book, we must now reconsider the ways Katherine Mansfield’s own monumental modernism is nothing less than a significant breeding ground for the development of the truly weird and the frightfully monstrous.” – Associate Professor Carl H. Sederholm, Brigham Young University

“There is an unknown dark side to Katherine Mansfield, which involves psychics, spirits, monsters, and the occult. This most beguiling of writers, who connected with Aleister Crowley and H. P. Lovecraft, was drawn to the horrors of life. A superb collection of her short stories, this is a much-welcomed new perspective on a writer whose powers to bewitch are becoming ever stronger.” – Dr Ian Conrich, University of Essex

“My hat is off to the Cowens as I couldn’t tell where the first published works end and the reconstructed stories start – the renovation is flawless. If Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a one note song then Mansfield with Monsters is a choral piece of depth and vibrancy. This is a book that should adorn the shelf of every lover of fiction... Mansfield is that good.” – SFFANZ Reviews

“This is Mansfield upcycled as a hybrid steampunk goth... More deft twists than a bag of pretzels... great fun.” – New Zealand Books

“Grand fun. The Cowens bring a wicked sense of humour and a keen editorial ear... You never know what the fantasy element in a given story will be, and the uncertainty transforms the reading experience delightfully. More from the Cowens, please.” – New Zealand Listener

“To put it simply, Mansfield with Monsters is quite brilliant. Funny, dark and seamless – Mansfield’s moody characters only seem enhanced by a bit of blood and gore. Steam Press is the best new New Zealand publisher and I can’t wait to see what’s coming out next.” – Herald on Sunday

Mansfield with Monsters was a perfectly done literary mash-up. One did not know where Mansfield ended and Monsters began, and one loved it.” –

“A remarkably entertaining read. The macabre twist added to each tale is always different, and always delightful.” – Novazine

“Brilliant, quite wonderful retellings of the most famous of Mansfield’s short stories... so well done that they do feel just like she wrote them. I think Mansfield would have liked these stories and I am sure John Middleton Murry would have demanded royalties.” – The Reading Life

“Stunning and wonderful... Supremely well achieved... Enormous fun to be had.” – Radio New Zealand

“Will offend the purist... The authors fill [Mansfield’s] gaps with blood and gore, bloodsuckers, aliens, otherworld creatures, zombies; and they twist the details to summon the shocking.” – Weekend Herald

“Zombies. Mash-up. Steam.” – Sunday Star-Times beer column (they did get rid of their books editor, so we figure this is a good compromise)

Go on – you know you want to...

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Matt & Debbie Cowens

Matt & Debbie Cowens

Katherine Mansfield with H. P. Lovecraft

Katherine Mansfield with H. P. Lovecraft

Mansfield with Monsters

Katherine Mansfield,
with Matt and Debbie Cowens

ISBN: 9780987663504

Pages: 238

Paperback RRP: NZ$25

ebook RRP: NZ$8

Student and Teacher Edition

Mansfield with Monsters
Student and Teacher Edition

Class sets available from $15 per copy

Click here to read a sample
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Steam Pressed Shorts

Steam Pressed Shorts
Short fiction by Matt and Debbie Cowens

Available now from Amazon

At the Bay of Cthulhu

At the Bay of Cthulhu
Short fiction by Matt and Debbie Cowens, with Katherine Mansfield

Available now from Amazon

A Mansfield with Monsters LARP has been created by Donna Giltrap and Debbie Cowens, and can be downloaded from Larpwriter.