Event Recap: Conundrum Double Launch with Meags Fitzgerald and Sherwin Tjia

On Wednesday, September 23, we were thrilled to host a double launch for two award-winning Conundrum Press artists: Meags Fitzgerald and Sherwin Tjia!

Meags presented her new autobiographical graphic novel, Long Red Hair, and Sherwin presented You Are A Kitten!, the third installment in his cat-based Pick-A-Plot series.

Meags, who won the 2015 Doug Wright Award for her previous graphic novel, Photobooth, let us in on the difficult process of making her new book in dark green and dark orange duotone. The gist is that it is very time-consuming, but yields beautiful results—to which we can attest! She read us an excerpt from the book, which introduces her first awareness of queerness as a child.

Meags' presentation was followed by a Q&A with host Matt Goldberg. Discussion topics: the important of communicating with friends and family when writing autobiography; Jessica Rabbit as a deeply crush-worthy cartoon character; the relationship between identity and personal appearance; the resurgence of the witch as a powerful female figure in pop culture.

Fun fact: Meags taught herself to write and draw with her non-dominant hand! (This makes her dual-handed, not ambidextrous.) Check out this ad she participated in for a certain telecommunications company. Impressive!

The ever-entertaining Sherwin then took to the stage to tell us about what it's like to imagine yourself as a kitten.

He didn't want to give away too much of the book, so instead, he gave us the lowdown on his many upcoming "improbable cat projects":

1. A cat-shaped cosy for your hot water bottle

2. Passing out cat tracts in the streets in order to promote cats over dogs

3. A cat treehouse ("Cats love to look down on people!")

4. Cat video games: One, inspired by Candy Crush, involves matching three cat faces to make them disappear, while the other involves the player, as a cat, rolling around to stay in a moving sunbeam.

5. A book with funny characters with holes for heads: cats would put their heads through the holes cos they love that.

6. Robo-cat-calls! Why not a robocall that’s just a purring cat?

7. A cat bed that is shaped like cat with a furry belly

8. Cat ventriloquism

9. Missing Cat Bureau of Investigation (read the book to find out more!)

10. A painting of a cat made with cat paw prints

11. Make Your Own Cat Tree

12. A line of bird houses that are one foot off the ground–for the enjoyment of cats, not birds, of course

Sherwin also did a Q&A with Matt, during which they discussed the challenges of writing a pick-a-plot book with a kitten protagonist. Says Sherwin: “I didn’t anticipate that when you’re a kitten, you don’t have that many choices! It's like writing a You Are A Baby pick-a-plot book!" But, having the imagination he does, he figured it out.

Fun fact: Sherwin doesn't own any cats! What? He explains that his current living set-up wouldn't be ideal for a cat. But one day he'll have a cat-friendly place, and will have three cat friends!

Both Meags' and Sherwin's books are available at the Librairie D+Q!

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