First Fall

Pania Press is delighted to announce the launch of our latest publication: 
'First Fall' by Auckland writer Frances Kelly. 

Fran’s short story, set in Dunedin in 1866, tells the tale of Sarah Gallagher, a young woman lately arrived from Edinburgh, who is employed to help single women gain suitable work. As the story develops, Sarah, a gifted seamstress, teaches needlework skills to a group of unmarried pregnant women (described as ‘First Falls’) in the care of Mary Magdalene House. The narrative hints that Sarah herself had a baby out of wedlock, which she gave away before departing for New Zealand. 

The theme of the story, with its emphasis on needlework as a suitable female accomplishment, determined the design of the book as a quilted needle-case. 

Each copy of 'First Fall' has a unique textile token pinned to the inside cover, inspired by the foundling tokens that destitute mothers left with their babies at London's Foundling Hospital in the 18th century (you can read more about this aspect of Fran's story here).

'First Fall' publication details:
  • 60 page A6 sized digitally printed short story on 120gsm Conqueror laid paper
  • Limited edition of 50 signed and numbered copies
  • Each copy has a hand-embroidered quilted cover made from vintage silk kimonos with an elastic loop closure and a vintage button. There are five fabric designs to choose from.
  • Each copy contains a unique textile token pinned to the inside cover.
  • Price $45.00 (free postage in NZ)
Ten copies remaining as of 19 November 2014

To place an order email me at

'First Fall' was officially launched yesterday afternoon (9 November) at our home in Mairangi Bay and the event was attended by a lovely group of Fran's family and friends. Here are a few images of the launch:

Fran (left) and me in front of the display of books.

Fran reading an extract from her story

Kate Davis looking gorgeous!


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