Poetry Shelf connections: Frances Edmond celebrates Lauris Edmond’s birthday by reading a poem


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Frances Edmond reads ‘Late Song’ by her mother Lauris Edmond

Night Burns with a White Fire: The Essential Lauris Edmond (Steel Roberts, 2017)





Lauris Edmond, 1924–2000, grew up in Napier, and attended Wellington Teachers’ College, Victoria University College (1942–44) and Canterbury College (1944). She completed an MA in English literature with First Class Honours at Victoria University of Wellington. She wrote poetry, novels, short stories, stage plays, autobiography and edited several books, including a selection of A. R. D. Fairburn’s ltters. She published seventeen volumes of poetry, including several anthologies, and a CD, The Poems of Lauris Edmond, which was released in 2000. Her debut collection, In Middle Air (Pegasus Press, 1975), wri tten in her early fifies, won the PEN NZ Best First Book of the Year (1975) and Selected Poems (Oxford University Press, 1984) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1985. She received numerous awards, including the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship (1981), an OBE for Services to Poetry and Literature (1986), and an Honorary DLi from Massey University (1988). Edmond was a founder of New Zealand Books. The Lauris Edmond Memorial Award was established in her name. Her daughter, Frances Edmond, and poet Sue Fitchett published Night Burns with a White Fire: The Essential Lauris Edmond (Steele Roberts), a selection of her poems, in 2017.

Today Emma Neale was announced as the 2020 winner of the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry.


Frances Edmond is a writer and reviewer who works across disciplines in film, theatre and literature and is Literary Executor for her mother, poet, Lauris Edmond. Her most recent completed projects include: Night Burns with a White Fire: THE ESSENTIAL LAURIS EDMOND (with co-editor Sue Fitchett and published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa) and she is now working on a companion piece tentatively titled, Burning Substance: a Lauris Edmond Companion, which explores the origins, sources and inspiration of her mother’s writing through a daughter’s eyes. Frances was the 2018 recipient of the Shanghai Writing Residency and spent two months in Shanghai working on a new draft of her screenplay about New Zealand Missionary Nurse, Kathleen Hall, and her experiences in China. With Ken Rea who teaches at the Guildhall in London, and who was the founder of the Living Theatre Troupe (1970-76), Frances is working on a history of the Troupe based on completed oral histories that were funded with a Ministry of Culture and Heritage Oral History Award. She has also written and directed her own short film, The Apple Tree.


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