Kia ora koutou
Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate your pick of our finest writers for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.
Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate writers who have made a notable contribution to New Zealand literature in the categories of non-fiction, poetry or fiction. $60,000 is awarded in each genre.
New Zealand writers are also able to nominate themselves for the awards.
The nominations (submitted by email to email@example.com ) are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand for approval, with the awards presented in a formal ceremony.
In 2017, Witi Ihimaera received the award for Fiction, Paula Green for Poetry and Peter Simpson for Non-Fiction.
See the full list of winners
Nominations close on Friday, 6 April at 5pm.
Nominate a writer now
Go here for the programme. I am delighted to be reading at and chairing Selina Tusitala Marsh’s Call Me Royal event at the National Library as well as chairing Bill Manhire and Mike Ladd in conversation. I will be on the bus to Poetry at the Prison event, dashing to hear The Starling Poets, celebrating the launch of new books by Chris Tse and Anna Jackson and the new Seraph Press translation book, and hearing a cluster of poetry from offshore. Way more poetry here than last time – and a decent local presence! Always a treat to catch Hera Lindsay Bird read. And of course Tusiata Avia is a must. Check out the poetry reading list above to get in the mood.
Image courtesy of Limbo Agency.
Full piece here
There is a preconception that small presses, existing as they do outside the mainstream, publish poetry that is wilder, stranger, more political, and more ethnically diverse. Poetry that the university publishers have turned away, or whose genius such presses have failed to recognise. Poetry that bucks the mannered, nostalgic style that monopolizes the prizes and the media. Poetry that takes risks. No safety, no submission.
Certain small presses do, indeed, follow this brief. Anahera Press, for example, publishes Māori and Pasifika writers. Their books ‘give voice to … the intersections and spaces between cultures’ or champion writers who are ‘walking between worlds.’ A press that publishes culturally self-aware poetry, by Tangata Whenua and ethnically diverse poets, is much-needed in an environment that is still overwhelmingly white. In 2015, 91% of poetry books published in New Zealand were authored by Pakeha / Europeans; a dispiriting figure, when you consider that Pakeha make up only 74% of the population. Have a look at Janis Freegard’s ‘sad little pie chart.‘
Of course, Māori and Pasifika writers still publish within the mainstream, and are even fed into the dreaded mouths of university presses via the creative writing industrial complex. Tusiata Avia, for example, came up under the ‘straightening‘ tutelage of Bill Manhire’s International Institute of Modern Letters, so-named by the Vegas cowboy billionaire who funded its establishment. In 2016, she published her awards-shortlisted startling third collection, Fale Aitu | Spirit House, with Victoria University Press.