Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Nina Mingya Powles’s live (from London) book launch

Help us celebrate the launch of Magnolia 木蘭 by Nina Mingya Powles in the time of covid! Nina is stuck in lockdown in London, from where she will do an Instagram Live reading to celebrate the publication of the New Zealand edition of her fabulous new poetry collection.

Join us on Wednesday 2 December at 9 pm NZ time on Nina’s Instagram page. (It will also be available to view later, but live is best!) To view the video you’ll need to have an Instagram account.

If Instagram isn’t your thing, or even if it is, you can also look forward to the real-life launch we’re planning with Nina in March!! Details TBC.

You can buy Magnolia 木蘭 from good bookshops, or direct from us. First 100 direct orders will also get a limited edition risograph print made by Nina herself of one of the poems in the collection.

About Magnolia 木蘭

Home is not a place but a string of colours threaded together and knotted at one end.

Shanghai, Aotearoa, Malaysia, London—all are places poet Nina Mingya Powles calls home and not-home; from each she can be homesick for another. A gorgeous bittersweet longing and hunger runs through the poems in this new collection from one of our most exciting poetic voices.

In Magnolia 木蘭 Powles explores her experience of being mixed-race and trying to find her way through multiple languages: English, Mandarin, Hakka, Māori. Powles uses every sense to take us on a journey through cities, food and even time, weaving her story with the stories of women from history, myth and film.

The gorgeous cover features an artwork by Kerry Ann Lee.

The UK edition of Magnolia 木蘭 was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection.

“This is a book of the body and the senses, whether the million tiny nerve endings of young love; the hunger that turns ‘your bones soft in the heat’; the painterly, edible, physical colour of flowers and the fabric lantern in the pattern of Maggie Cheung’s blue cheongsam; or ‘the soft scratchings of dusk’. These are poems of ‘warm blue longing’ and understated beauty, poems to linger over, taste, and taste again. As Powles searches for home she leaves an ‘imprint of rain’ in your dreams.”
—Alison Wong

About the author

Nina Mingya Powles is a poet, zinemaker and non-fiction writer of Malaysian-Chinese and Pākehā heritage, currently living in London. She is the author of a food memoir, Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai (The Emma Press, 2020), poetry box-set Luminescent (Seraph Press, 2017), and several poetry chapbooks and zines, including Girls of the Drift (Seraph Press, 2014). In 2018 she was one of three winners of the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize, and in 2019 won the Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing. Magnolia 木蘭 was shortlisted for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Nina has an MA in creative writing from Victoria University of Wellington and won the 2015 Biggs Family Prize for Poetry. She is the founding editor of Bitter Melon 苦瓜, a risograph press that publishes limited-edition poetry pamphlets by Asian writers. Her collection of essays, Small Bodies of Water, is forthcoming from Canongate Books in 2021.

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