Victoria graduates ‘send tigers to the moon’ on Radio New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) and Radio New Zealand (RNZ) celebrate the infinite creative possibilities of radio in a new reading series, Page Numbers.

The series will showcase work by graduates of Victoria’s Master of Arts (MA) in Creative Writing on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme.

Page Numbers will run from April 3 – 7 and features fiction, creative non-fiction, drama and poetry by Nicole Phillipson, Eamonn Marra, Rebecca Hawkes, Harry Meech, Ben Wilson and William Connor. All six graduated from the IIML in 2016 with an MA.

“Radio is a magic place for a writer, where anything can happen on the most modest of budgets. Send a tiger to the moon? Why think so small? Alpha Centauri, the glory days of the Ottoman Empire, the inside of someone’s head—it’s all possible on radio, just waiting to be voiced, and waiting to be heard,” says IIML senior lecturer Emily Perkins.

The new series continues a long-standing connection between the IIML and RNZ. IIML director of scriptwriting Ken Duncum sends his students to RNZ for workshops on writing scripts purely based in sound.

Ms Perkins says the impetus to expand this relationship came from the students themselves, or rather, from the sound of their words.

“Listening in workshop, as we do every week, it struck us that some of the students’ writing would be just right for radio, that they had the necessary sense of rhythm, timing, character, the snap of language, the pull on a line.”

“Part of what we should be able to do at RNZ is make use of opportunities to champion and celebrate new writing and new young writers,” says RNZ’s commissioning editor of drama and readings Adam Macaulay. “RNZ is very proud to be part of this collaboration with the IIML. It’s exciting projects like this that make RNZ different in an increasingly amorphous and sadly uniform media environment.”

The aural nature of the creative writing process makes radio its natural home in many ways.

“We work with our mind’s ear,” says Ms Perkins. “We listen as we write. Often, we read our work back to ourselves aloud, to test it for leaks or dodgy rattles. If it sounds off, you know instantly—and if it lands right, you’re on your way. The ear doesn’t lie.”

Page Numbers will air on Nine to Noon on Radio New Zealand National’s The Reading at 10:45am.

Reading schedule:
10.45am Monday 3 April, Forever Setting Off then Going Back Inside by Nicole Phillipson
10.45am Tuesday 4 April, See You at the Airport by Harry Meech and three poems by William Connor
10.45am Wednesday 5 April, Hookworm by Rebecca Hawkes
10.45am Thursday 6 April, Plain Crazy by Ben Wilson
10.45am Friday 7 April, My Friend Rod by Eamonn Marra and three poems by William Connor

Following the initial broadcast, listeners can also go online to listen to the series again and pick up bonus material.

More on RNZ Drama’s Facebook page.

For more information contact Emily Perkins on 04-463 6905 or emily.perkins@vuw.ac.nz.

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