International Writers’ Workshop (IWW) is delighted to announce that the 2018 winner of The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems is Heather Bauchop of Dunedin.
The winning sequence, entitled ‘The Life in Small Deaths’, is described by Heather as a strangely-lengthed narrative poetry sequence that grew out of a 60,000 word manuscript banished to the bottom desk drawer several years ago as too long for submission to journals and too short for a full-length collection. It takes one of the characters and fills out their life; and in so doing, invents a whole new story in a whole new form. It is written as a narrative – to be read sequentially, but each poem has its own poise.
Stu Bagby of Auckland, who judged the $1000 prize, said at the prize giving that he looked for work that demanded to be read, and which surprised him with its use of imagery and description. He praised The Life in Small Deaths for its controlled, skilled writing of which the standard seldom flagged over what is a sizeable piece of work, and for its vivid imagery, slick word-play, and black humour. “It manages to be both amusing and thought provoking,” he said.
Runner-up is up-and-coming poet Gillian Roach of Auckland, a Masters of Creative Writing graduate from AUT who won the New Voices Emerging Poet competition earlier this year. Her sequence of 17 poems, She’s over there, love, is about family dynamics with a strong focus on the emotional labour required in caring roles. It is part of a larger collection she has been working on. It was praised by the judge for manipulating several themes with great skill and was almost the winner.
About the Prize
The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems has been made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust. It was a specific request of the late Jocelyn Grattan that her mother be recognised through an annual competition in recognition of her love for poetry and that the competition be for a sequence or cycle of poems with no limit on the length of the poems. It is one of two poetry competitions funded by the Trust, the other being the prestigious Kathleen Grattan Award run by the publishers of Landfall magazine.
About the Winner
Born in San Francisco to lost Scottish parents who migrated to Palmerston North via Aberdeen in 1972, Heather Bauchop is a public historian who has written on iwi history and historic heritage. She now lives in Dunedin. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of journals, including Takahē (she was the winner of the 2016 Takahē short story competition with ‘Helicopter’) Headland, Alluvia and Poetry New Zealand, and in the 2017 anthology New Ink. In 2018, she was awarded a mentorship by the New Zealand Society of Authors. Her first collection Remembering a Place I’ve Never Been was published by Cold Hub Press in October 2018. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
This is the 10th year the prize has been contested. Previous winners are Janet Newman (2017), Michael Giacon (2016), Maris O’Rourke (2015), Julie Ryan (2014), Belinda Diepenheim (2013), James Norcliffe (2012), Jillian Sullivan (2011), Janet Charman and Rosetta Allan (2010) and Alice Hooton (2009).
International Writers’ Workshop NZ Inc was founded in 1976 by poet Barbara B Whyte and meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from February to November in the Lindisfarne Room at St Aidans Church, 97 Onewa Road, Northcote.
IWW’s main aim is to inspire writers by means of workshops and competitions across fiction, nonfiction and poetry.