Sue Wootton on Vona Groake at Dunedin Writers’ Festival (what a delicious breakfast!)

Vona Groake in conversation with Liam McIlvanney, Dunedin Writers’ and Readers’ Festival

10 May 2015

It was a dreadful slot on the schedule—nine o’clock on a Sunday morning, on Mothers’ Day, to boot—but an hour with Vona Groake? No contest. The conversation between her and Professor Liam McIlvanney (here wearing his academic-teacher-of-contemporary-Irish-poetry hat, not his crime writer’s hat) was an absolute delight. Liam’s well-informed but gentle and open-ended questions prompted a flowing conversation, further extended and deepened near the end of the session when Vona responded to questions from the floor. Liam’s approach allowed Vona to articulate—uninterrupted!—some ideas on the source and sustenance of her craft. Their erudite, thought-provoking (and often funny) discussion probed the way that poetry grows out of language itself, looked at the influence of tradition on contemporary poem-makers, and was interspersed with readings of some of her poems. Ah, nourishment. And what a delicious breakfast.

Sue Wootton



Where else to catch Vona:

Auckland: Vona is at the Auckland Writers Festival this weekend where she is announcing the winner of The Sarah Broom Poetry Award and reading a few of her poems.

Upper NZI Room, Aotea Centre, Sunday May 17th, 1.30 to 2.30 


Wellington: On Thursday May 21st (12.15 to 1.15) Vona is conversation at the City Gallery in Wellington.

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