Acclaimed poet and scholar, Selina Tusitala-Marsh, has been made Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors’ annual Waitangi Day Honours.
“As the country’s largest writers’ organisation, we believe it’s important to celebrate significant literary achievements, especially on the international stage,” said NZSA President, Kyle Mewburn. “Each year more and more kiwi writers are achieving exceptional things internationally. Last year was no exception.”
“As 2016’s Commonwealth Poet, this year’s NZSA Literary Fellow, Selina Tusitala-Marsh, was able to share her unique and powerful voice with the world. This included a memorable performance before the Queen at the Commonwealth Day of Observance in Westminster Abbey, which placed the diversity of our local poetry in the international spotlight,” Mewburn said.
“Fa’afetai tele lava for this lovely acknowledgment,” said Tusitala-Marsh. “The wondrous thing about a poem is that it’s an ‘ala’ – the proto-Polynesian word for ‘path’. As a ‘Tusitala’ my poems are paths between cultures and world views. In 2016 a poem found its way into Westminster Abbey connecting my Tuvalu grandfather with the Queen of England, Samoan philosophy with global ecology, and a New Zealand Fast Talking PI poet with the Commonwealth. How marvellous is that? Here’s to paving more poetic paths!”
First introduced in 2013, the NZSA’s Waitangi Day Honours celebrate success on the international stage.
“As the only writing awards bestowed by peers, they have become a highly regarded and prestigious honour,” Mewburn said.
Previous winners include Eleanor Catton, Paul Cleave and Philip Mann.