Category Archives: Poetry Awards

Hera Lindsay Bird wins Sarah Broom Poetry Award to an audience whoop

 

Carol Ann Duffy was the guest judge for the 4th annual Sarah Broom Poetry Award announced today at the Auckland Writers Festival. There is a generous monetary gift for the winner but the event also showcases the work of three New Zealand poets.

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Carol Ann read a selection of Sarah’s poems after underlining ‘the vital sense of importance of poetry to Sarah’s wellbeing.’ It was the best reading of Sarah’s work I have heard and I felt with each poem I was in a chamber of return. I returned to the exquisite craft of Sarah as a wordsmith, to our conversations, to the effect her writing has upon me.

We got to hear the three poets read before the winner was announced. I would have liked the judge to comment upon the entries as a whole, the posts she selected and the winner but for some reason she refrained from doing so. Is this the way it is done overseas?

 

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Hearing the three read, however was a highlight. Hera was up first and I started firing words in my notebook: anarchic, surreal, funny, acutely funny, cranky, provocative, sharp, torrent-of-consciousness-like in a finely crafted way which seems like an oxymoron, personal, confessional, sweetly fluent, spikey-fluent. I could have listened to her for hours.

 

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Cliff Fell was a marked shift in register and preoccupation. I was hooked on the rhythms to begin with, undulations of words like tidal flows; the detail accruing and dilating. There was an infectious quiet energy that drew me in – I wanted to sit down and reread the sumptuous poems on a page at a dawdle pace. I loved ‘The Pin Cushion,’ ‘The Song of a Pebble.’ And the sonnets with their random rhymes.

 

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Finally Sandi King read. I wasn’t familiar with her work but her poems drew upon love and memory with reverence and reverberations. Lines stood out and marked the writing as both personal and reflective. ‘Words are flutter boards beneath the surface.’ ‘It has taken a lifetime of tides to accept yourself.’

 

Hera admitted she had entered the competition as she wanted Carol Ann Duffy to read her work. This is indeed a special thing for those who enter each year: the chance to have an offshore judge spend time with our local poetry.

Grateful thanks to Michael and Sarah, and the AWF, for showcasing New Zealand poetry at this event. The Award is a vital part of and for our writing communities. Good to see the VUP folk in the crowd backing their authors.

Hats off to The Ockham NZ Book Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners, commiserations to those who missed out and hats off to Victoria University Press for an extraordinary showing. VUP is a strong supporter of local writing, publishing more poetry that anyone else without compromising on quality. Three cheers VUP! Hats off to all NZ publishers, large and small, who back local writers and books. We are in debt to you. Away from the glitz and flare of an awards ceremony, there is an active terrain of writing and writers. Hats off to that too!

And hats off to the winners! Enjoy this moment of well-deserved recognition by your peers.

This year’s four category award winners will appear at a free event at the Auckland Writers Festival: The State We’re In on Friday 19 May at 5.30pm in the Heartland Festival Room, Aotea Square.

 

 

Fiction: Catherine Chidgey

Internationally renowned Ngāruawāhia resident Catherine Chidgey has won New Zealand’s richest writing award, the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, for her novel The Wish Child. The award was announced this evening at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The panel of judges — Bronwyn Wylie Gibb, Peter Wells, Jill Rawnsley and inaugural international judge the Canadian writer Madeleine Thien — said  “The Wish Child exposes and celebrates the power of words – so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with – Chidgey also exposes the fragility and strength of humanity … Compelling and memorable, you’ll be caught by surprise by its plumbing of depths and sudden moments of grace, beauty and light.”

The Wish Child, Chidgey’s fourth novel, comes 13 years after her last work, The Transformation, was published to critical acclaim. Chidgey’s previous novel Golden Deeds was chosen as a Book of the Year by Time Out (London), a Best Book by the LA Times Book Review and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Her debut novel, In a Fishbone Church, won a Commonwealth Writers Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific).

Her latest novel, published by Victoria University Press, is one of four Ockham New Zealand Book Awards category winners, selected by four panels of specialist judges out of a shortlist of 16, which were in turn drawn from 40 longlisted titles from 150 entries.

 

Poetry: Andrew Johnston

Paris-based Andrew Johnston won the Poetry category for his collection Fits & Starts (Victoria University Press), a book described by the category’s judges’ convenor, Harry Ricketts, as a slow-burning tour de force.

“The judges’ admiration for Andrew Johnston’s remarkable collection grew with each rereading, as its rich intellectual and emotional layers continued to reveal themselves … Using a minimalist couplet-form, the collection is at once philosophical and political, witty and moving, risky and grounded, while maintaining a marvellously varied singing line.

“To reward Fits & Starts with the overall poetry prize is to reward New Zealand poetry at its most impressive and its most promising.”

 

Nonfiction: Ashleigh Young

Ashleigh Young (Wellington) took the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction for her collection of personal essays Can You Tolerate This? (Victoria University Press).

The category’s judges’ convenor, Susanna Andrew, says Young’s work sets a high bar for style and originality in a form that has very little precedent in this country. “Always an acute observer, it is in Young’s commitment to writing as an art that the true miracle occurs; she tells us her story and somehow we get our own.”

Young catapulted to international recognition earlier this year when she won the Yale University US$165,000 Windham-Campbell Prize for the collection.

 

Illustrated Non-Fiction: Barbara Brookes

Dunedin writer and historian Barbara Brookes won the Illustrated Non-Fiction category for her meticulously documented work A History of New Zealand Women (Bridget Williams Books).

The category’s judges’ convenor, Linda Tyler, says Brookes’ work combines deep research, an immensely readable narrative, superbly well-integrated images and is distinguished by close attention to both Māori and Pakehā women.

“Putting women at the centre of our history, this sweeping survey shows exactly when, how and why gender mattered. General changes in each period are combined effortlessly with the particular, local stories of individual women, many not well-known. A wider sense of women’s experiences is beautifully conveyed by the many well-captioned artworks, photographs, texts and objects.”

 

Best First Books:

The Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction: Ngarino Ellis for A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830-1930, with new photography by Natalie Robertson (Auckland University Press).

The Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Hera Lindsay Bird for Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press).

The E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for General Non-Fiction: Adam Dudding for My Father’s Island: A Memoir (Victoria University Press).

The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction: Gina Cole for Black Ice Matter (Huia Publishers).

The Sarah Broom Poetry Award finalists: an interview, some poems

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This world is only ever

water, rock and black air.

It cannot accommodate us;

we cannot, will not complain

when the water deafens and knocks us.

We shut our eyes

and meet its volleyed blackness.

 

©Sarah Broom, from ‘Caving,’  in Tigers at Awhitu (Auckland University Press, 2010)

 

 

 

 

The Sarah Broom Poetry Award supports New Zealand writers through an annual poetry competition. The finalists are invited to read their work at an Auckland Writers Festival event and the winner gets a substantial cash prize. This award matters not only because it offers a financial reprieve for a poet, but because it showcases our poetry. We are an eclectic bunch writing in diverse ways with diverse preoccupations within diverse communities. The award also returns me to Sarah’s poetry; an annual pilgrimage for which I am grateful. Her work continues to resonate on a personal level and along the fertile line, ever revealing, ever fresh and vital. I applaud Michael Gleissner and Sarah Ross for all the hard, behind-the scenes the work they undertake to make this award happen. Thank you.

This year’s judge is Carol Ann Duffy who will also appear at the Auckland Writers Festival.

The finalists: Sandi King, Cliff Fell, Hera Lindsay Bird

 

 

The Poems

 

 

Where the World Looks In

 

It’s true that everything’s always moving:

The way a sunbeam glances off the corner of the fridge

Or the shadows turn from violet to indigo.

 

Or the way your voice will slip a semi-tone

When you’re talking on the phone

And you think someone else is listening.

 

So I’ll wait for you under the first arch of the bridge

Where the river longs to persist,

To abide beyond its turbulence and flow

And all the other laws that words will not obey.

 

And I want the words to say

Something else again

Or just to be there when the river is blessed

Like a mirror where the world looks in.

 

© Cliff Fell

 

 

 

The Way Home

 

Flamboyant: noun

  1. The condition of being flamboyant
  2. A group of flamingos

http://www.yourdictionary.com/flamboyance

 

 

The lush wetland

of my unconscious mind is squawking

in the same way I formed thoughts

before I was old enough to know words.

Just out of sight I hear

wildlife, and the shore

bright with the colours of sunset

discarded in the morning

grass.

 

I reach through the wire fence

and grasp the legacy left to me,

orange/pink

and fragile. Thousands

of flamingo feathers

 

which I scoop secretly into a bag

and carry back to the motel

to admire the fluffy whiteness

of the tiniest feathers. I lay

the long ones in a row

to assess

their intensity of pigment,

their readiness for flight.

 

Sometimes I dream that my body

is wrapped in a bolt of organza.

It’s orange/pink,

a hood-to-ankle garment.

In the mirror, behind my reflection

I can see the Manawatu Estuary

coloured in with my childhood

dreams. I lift primary flight feathers

to the sky, soar

over road and cars and houses

all the way back to Nana and Grandad’s lawn.

 

In Nana’s flowerbed I find

two ornamental flamingos, pink

so pink. She bends as if to feed

from the shallows, he waits

fondly beside her.

They are translating the garden

into bird

of paradise.

 

I shelter with these two as long as I can hold

then wade on home, finally

orange/pink,

into the flamboyance of flamingos.

 

© Sandi King

 

 

 

 

The Questions

 

 

The Sarah Broom Poetry Award is a terrific supporter of New Zealand poets and poetry. Can you name a New Zealand poetry book that has resonated with you in the past few years. What do you love about it?

 

Sandi: Bill Nelson’s collection Memorandum of Understanding is stuffed with the kind of poetry I love to read. There is variety in the content that sparks my imagination. Some of the poems have an ambiguity, but of a giving nature. If the poem could talk to the reader it might say ‘I have more. Come back tomorrow and read me again.’  His clutch of poems titled ’How to do just about anything’ feature a liberal use of the second person that I enjoy.

Cliff: There are quite a few, but I particularly admired Dinah Hawken’s Ocean and Stone and recently enjoyed reading Hannah Mettner’s Fully Clothed and So Forgetful. But the book that resonated most with me in recent years is Rachel Bush’s Thought Horses, published shortly after she died in March 2016. It’s not only that she lived in Nelson and that I’d read some of the poems as they came into being, but the way the collection finds her – particularly in poems I hadn’t seen before – facing her death with such fortitude, wit and wisdom. Rachel has always had this wonderfully elastic syntax, and a giddy playfulness to the way she can shift focus in a poem. All of that is heightened in this collection. It’s a book that’s marvellously re-readable. I discover little gems I hadn’t noticed before, nuances and images, every time I enter its lost domain, its domain of loss.

Hera: I try not to talk about why I like certain books because I always end up lying by accident, but I always like reading Geoff Cochrane. Can everyone just take my word for it? It’s better this way.

 

 

What are some of the strengths or weaknesses of New Zealand poetry and its communities?

 

Sandi: I have found a lot of generosity. Writing groups meet together to nuture each other, and develop their work into the best it can be. We have organisers like Bill Sutton who organise events where poets can come together and hear each other. We have poetry competitions which offer hope to everyone who enters. There are still opportunities to be published thanks to the commitment of small publishers, plus a variety of journals and websites, and there are excellent educational opportunities available. New Zealand has talented mentors too – I have been extremely fortunate to be mentored by Renée.

Cliff: There’s so much going on in New Zealand poetry, you would have to be very dedicated to keep up with it all. Its strengths are its poets, of course. They’re probably its weaknesses, too. But I’d imagine that New Zealand poetry is generally thriving, gaining greater recognition overseas. Cheers to all responsible for that! As for its communities, apart from the point that individuals can create their own community, their following, these days, I’ve had a notion for a while that in the arts, in poetry in particular, in its real nose-to-the-grindstone communities, New Zealand resembles the city-states of late medieval, Renaissance Italy, with their arts flowering in different styles. There are similar alliances and rivalries and moments of cross-pollination, as there were then, and distinct local sounds or voices or concerns are beginning to develop, the way the Dunedin sound developed in music. The rivalries in poetry have been going on for generations, as we all know. All of this is, obviously, down to our demographics – relatively small population – and our geography, our topography, in that it means journeying between centres is bound to be epic, on some level. Who would the Papal State be in such an analogy? CNZ, I suppose, with the patronage it confers. Of course, this is a notion – and in some ways a ridiculous one – that I would favour, indulge in, due to my interests. Also, I’m an outsider, so that probably colours the way I see things. But I think there’s a kernel of truth to it. We may not exactly have to learn the taste of other people’s bread, but it’s not a bad trope for how things are.

 

Hera:

 

con: poor overall fighting technique, weak in physical combat department

pro: lots of wine

con: nobody to talk to at parties about Survivor

pro: except Louise Wallace and Holly Hunter

con: small population size leading to difficulty maintaining rigorous critical culture, ancient confusing unexplained feuds going back decades, lack of money, too many poems about mountains, easily hurt feelings

pro: if people hate you they have the decency to do it in private, to their friends and loved ones

con: James K Baxter

pro: oh relax, I’m only joking

 

 

 

Do you see your shortlisted collection as a surprising departure from your previous poetry, a continuation and deepening engagement with your poetic concerns, or something altogether different?

 

Sandi: To be honest, I was excited by the opportunity to have my work read by Carol Ann Duffy and looked through everything I have written for poems I thought she might like to read.

Cliff: More a continuation probably, though I’m not sure – and either way, hopefully some kind of a deepening engagement. To be honest I was amazed that my entry came together at all, as I hadn’t really been writing for a while. I wrote two new poems on the deadline day and heavily revised four others. When I looked at the collection again, on learning that I’d been shortlisted, one thing that did surprise me was to discover that three of the poems were ekphrastic in nature. How that came about, I really don’t know.

Hera: Some are following on from my first book, others are a little looser. I’m trying as hard as possible not to think about it while I write. The phrase poetic concerns is such a great one. It always makes me think of Byron having trouble with his swans.

 


I am putting you on the spot here, but if you were reviewing your collection, what three words would characterise its allure?  

 

Sandi: Sensual, adventurous, satisfying

Cliff: Yes, horribly on the spot, as I would hate to review my own collection. It would be a public self-mauling that no one would want to witness. Flawed. Flibbertigibbet. Fatal. Will they do? Oh, and Astronomy. That’s four words, but there are plenty of stones and stars, and also caves, in my poems. Too many probably.

Hera: Silly, unsettling, imagistic

 

 

When you write a poem, what talismans or cornerstones or spark plugs or jump leads or release pads do you favour? I am thinking, for example, of the way some poets are drawn to musicality, storytelling or the element of surprise.

 

Sandi: Many of my poems are portrait poems or persona poems. The beginning of a poem can sometimes be the sound of the character’s voice, and trying to thread that into the poem

so that maybe the reader can imagine the character speak when she reads the poem. Often a segment of story develops from the portrait as I write. Otherwise a poem will begin from a little stub – something I have seen, heard or felt. When I discover a stub, I write it down. Months later, I’ll look at that stub again, and sometimes it will be the start of a poem. It’s like taking cuttings from people’s gardens – you achieve variety without having to try too hard for it.

 

Cliff: Yes, I certainly believe in talismans and little rituals. I once knew a builder in Scotland who wouldn’t go up on a roof without a kilt pin in his trouser pocket. It’s easy enough to understand why, when you think about it. In my case, well, first up I consume a quantity of petrol. That’s for the spark plugs. Then I get into some kind of trance-like fire-eating routine, blowing flames around the room, hoping the poem and all my electric guitars will spontaneously combust. Or I imagine I’m being carried in a coffin into what has been billed on the invitation as an ‘outrageous’ party. This is in fact a gate-crasher’s ploy, as the hosts have notably declined to invite me. I only learned about this exclusive mother of all parties when I saw an invitation a so-called friend taunted me with. So when the night-watchmen I’ve hired as coffin-bearers carry me through the door, we thump into the hubbub, noise of glasses being smashed, voices, music, people banging on the lid and so on. I think they must have set me down in the middle of the dance floor, because when I emerge, naked as the day I was born, there she is, Topsie-Terpsichore, spinning and pirouetting and doing the scorpion in my arms. And we dance all night. Maybe it’s West Coast swing, on the track to begin with, but then it gets crazy, circle dancing around the coffin, big bass lines pumping out of the PA and deep into your rib-cage, and a frenzy of many arms and legs. Later, there will be sweaty, abandoned sex on the grassy shores of a lake. Moonlight and embarrassment, of course.  A boat, though perhaps it’s just the coffin floating away. I seem to remember there was a high wire-mesh fence we had to clamber over. Stuff like that. It all helps.

 

Hera: Everything at once. I like poetry pushed to its stylistic limits. For instance, take a poem about a swan in the moonlight. That might be a good poem. But what if…… instead of one swan you had a thousand swans? And what if instead of moonlight……the moon had never existed & instead there was a giant neon exit sign, hanging in the sky? I’m just being indirect because I don’t want to write a manifesto too early. I think one of the tasks of poetry is to teach yourself to write as many different ways as possible, and then to trick yourself into never thinking about them in the moment. Like mixed martial arts, if people used mixed martial arts to express their feelings about autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

The Finalists

 

 

Hera Lindsay Bird is a poet from Wellington. Her debut self-titled collection Hera Lindsay Bird was published in 2016 with Victoria University Press; it has been reprinted many times, and is currently on the shortlist for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She has an MA in poetry from the International Institute of Modern Letters where she won the 2011 Adam Prize in Creative Writing. She works as a bookseller at Unity Books Wellington.

Bird’s work has been featured in The Guardian and Vice Magazine. She has been published in a number of journals and publications including Best New Zealand Poems, The Spinoff, The Listener, The Hairpin, Hue & Cry and Sport. In 2016 she ran a free, ten-week creative nonfiction class called TMI. She likes watching the figure skating at the winter Olympics and murder mysteries set on trains.

 

 

Cliff Fell is the author of three books of poems, The Good Husbandwoman’s Alphabet (illustrated by Fiona Johnstone, Last Leaf Press, 2014), Beauty of the Badlands (Victoria University Press, 2008) and The Adulterer’s Bible (Victoria University Press, 2003). The Adulterer’s Bible was awarded the 2002 Adam Prize in Creative Writing and the 2004 Jessie Mackay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry. Other poems have appeared in the online anthology Best New Zealand Poems and in various New Zealand and overseas publications. He has been a regular contributor to the RNZ National Nights programme, talking about poetry.

Born in London to an English mother and New Zealand father, he has lived in New Zealand since 1997 and worked, sometimes very briefly – and tenuously – as a roadie, musician, bank clerk, bar-tender and also in farming, forestry, and film-making. He studied History and Archaeology at Exeter University, received an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University and currently lives in the Motueka river catchment. He is a tutor of creative writing in the Arts programme at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

 

 

Sandi King (previously known as Sandi Sartorelli) is a New Zealander of English, Irish, Danish and Moravian descent. She currently lives in the Hutt Valley with her youngest son Guy. She has a degree in Creative Writing from Whitireia New Zealand. Her work has been published in a number of journals and websites including 4th Floor, Blackmail Press, JAAM, Renée’s Wednesday Busk, Snorkel and takahē.

In 2013 three of King’s poems were highly commended in the Caselberg Trust Prize, the New Zealand Poetry Society Competition and takahē Poetry Competition. In 2015 her poem ‘Timing’ took first place in the Upper Hutt Poetry Competition. The most recent publication to include her work is the book Poetical Bridges/Poduri Lirice (2017), a collection of New Zealand poetry translated into Romanian, and Romanian poetry translated into English, created by Valentina Teclici.

 

 

Hera Lindsay Bird, Cliff Fell, and Sandi King will read poems from their submissions at the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize event at the Auckland Writers Festival on Sunday 21 May 4.30-5.30pm.

This is a free event. Guest judge Carol Ann Duffy will introduce the finalists and announce the winner of this year’s prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement: pick a NZ poet and nominate now!

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Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate your pick of our finest writers for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate writers who have made a significant 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 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 2016, Marilyn Duckworth received the award for Fiction, David Eggleton for Poetry and Atholl Anderson for Non-Fiction.

See the full list of winners.
Nominations close on Friday, 7 April at 5pm.

Nominate a writer now.

Two Poet Members of the NZ Order of Merit, with thanks

 

 

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a snippet of my veggie garden going wild

 

It was a bit of shock getting a letter inviting me to accept a New Year’s Honour (Member of NZ Order of Merit). Like Eileen Duggan I felt a bit flabbergasted, embarrassed and touched by the invitation. I was busy reading my way through Eileen’s archives when I got the letter – which seemed slightly uncanny as I was reading her thoughts on her Queen’s Honour along with poetry, books and New Zealand.

I do want to thank everyone in New Zealand who supports poetry: all the poets, publishers, readers, booksellers, festival organisers, media, reviewers and children poetry fans.

It is a special honour and I am grateful.

 

And I am so delighted to see the very wonderful Bernadette Hall also honoured.

Helen Rickerby’s Seraph Press published poetry books by both Bernadette and I in 2016, coincidentally.

 

Best wishes for a fabulous year of poetry in 2017.

 

 

 

 

2017 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellows announced – two poets – Congratulations!

New Zealand poets Steven Toussaint and Gregory Kan have been awarded the prestigious 2017 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship. This is the first time two poets have been the recipients of the fellowship.

The poets will have the opportunity to focus on their craft full-time, with each having a six-month tenure at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland, and sharing an annual stipend of $20,000.

Originally from the United States, Steven Toussaint is looking forward to seeing where the fellowship takes him, as his writing is often troubled by our increasingly digital environment.

“The digital age has opened up wonderful opportunities for new kinds of communication. However, it has also scattered our attention in many different directions. At times I feel concerned that my attention is strained by all the media and digital attractions that exist around me,” he says.

Steven will use the fellowship to work on a new book of poetry, which will consist of individual poems with unifying themes about religious imagination.

Steven’s published works include a chapbook, Fiddlehead, which was published in New Zealand in 2014, with his first full length book, The Bellfounder, published the following year in the United States.

Gregory Kan says the fellowship provides a wonderful platform to help writers gain traction in an unrestrained world of literature.

“The digital age has meant that we have more writing than ever before – it’s a form that was previously only accessible to a privileged group, but is now more pervasive than ever which is fantastic,” he says.

Gregory will be using the fellowship to work on another book of poems. He will be consolidating pieces of already completed work as well as writing new pieces which interrogate the writing of biography and autobiography in this era of overwhelming and spectacular information.

Gregory published his first book this year, This Paper Boat with Auckland University Press, which is on the Okham NZ Book Awards long list for poetry. His work has been published in numerous literary journals, as well as contemporary art exhibitions and catalogues.

Frank Sargeson Trust Chair Elizabeth Aitken-Rose says she is delighted with the calibre of this year’s fellows and is excited to see them take their work to the next level.

“The current technological revolution is shining a light on some wonderful talent we may never have known about before – and this was quite evident in the quality of applicants we received this year,” she says.

“Being a writer in the digital age gives writers unprecedented opportunity, yet this can make it more challenging for writers to cut through and have their voice heard. This is particularly the case for poets, we are very excited to have two poets win the Fellowship this year.

“The fellowship will assist Steven and Gregory in gaining traction in this highly competitive environment, giving them a platform from which they can continue to build their careers and time to dedicate to their projects.”

The fellowship will run from 1 April 2017 to 30 November 2017. Steven will have the first stint at the residence with Gregory finishing out the tenure.

In 2016 the fellowship was awarded to Diana Wichtel and Breton Dukes. Other previous winners include Alan Duff, Michael King and Janet Frame.

The fellowship has been recognising and supporting some of our greatest talents for more than 30 years, says Grimshaw & Co Partner Paul Grimshaw.

“It offers vital support to New Zealand writers to focus, uninterrupted, on their work,” Grimshaw says. “They are contributing to New Zealand’s literary landscape and we are very proud to support them.”

Further information on the Fellowship is available here. Any queries can be directed to Elizabeth Bennie at elizabeth.bennie@grimshaw.co.nz or on +64 9 375 2393.

Poetry Shelf congratulates The Ockham NZ Book Awards Long List

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Woohoo happy days Sarah Laing’s graphic memoir makes a list and Victoria Press has had a boom year of quality publishing. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and to those who didn’t make the cut: it all comes down to the way a love of writing transcends and the way books endure.

That said, I am dressed in black not seeing Cilla McQueen’s In a Slant Light: a poet’s memoir here somewhere. I adored this book.

It is not easy being a judge but these lists underline what good heart our literature is in. Bravo!

 

POETRY

  • Back with the Human Condition by Nick Ascroft (Victoria University Press)
  • Fale Aitu/Spirit House by Tusiata Avia (Victoria University Press)
  • Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press)
  • In the Supplementary Garden: New and Selected Poems by Diana Bridge (Cold Hub Press)
  • Thought Horses by Rachel Bush (Victoria University Press)
  • As the Verb Tenses by Lynley Edmeades (Otago University Press)
  • Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston (Victoria University Press)
  • This Paper Boat by Gregory Kan (Auckland University Press)
  • And So It Is by Vincent O’Sullivan (Victoria University Press)
  • Beside Herself by Chris Price (Auckland University Press)

Judges: Harry Ricketts, Vivienne Plumb, Steven Touissant

This is a strong list and underlines the excellent work Victoria University Press is doing as one of our key poetry presses. I have reviewed and adored virtually every one of these books on the blog. The ones that have haunted and stuck and spiked or uplifted: Tusiata, Hera, Rachel, Gregory, Chris, Diana, Lynley. Already too many for a shortlist!

 

FICTION (The Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize)

  • The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press)
  • A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)
  • My Mother and the Hungarians by Frankie McMillan (Canterbury University Press)
  • Love as a Stranger by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House)
  • Tail of the Taniwha by Courtney Sina Meredith (Beatnik Publishing)
  • Billy Bird by Emma Neale (Penguin Random House)
  • Deleted Scenes for Lovers by Tracey Slaughter (Victoria University Press)
  • The Name on the Door is Not Mine by CK Stead (Allen & Unwin)
  • Dad Art by Damien Wilkins (Victoria University Press)
  • Strip by Sue Wootton (Makaro Press)

 

Judges: Bronwyn Wylie-Gibbs, Peter Wells, Jill Rawnley (and an unnamed international judge?)

I love the diversity of style in this list and recognise what a tough and brilliant field of entries. I mourn Laurence Fearnley’s  The Quiet Spectacular but am delighted to see small fiction makes an appearance (Frankie McMillan) along with several fiction writers that can astonish with both content and craft (Catherine Chidgey, Courtney Sina Meredith, Emma Neale). Tracey Slaughter’s book hit me like no other and I think Damien Wilken’s is one of his best. I loved it. On another note, in terms of the missing, I haven’t read Fiona Kidman’s yet but it has got great reviews. This is my favourite list although I have only read six on it. Making a shortlist out of this gold cloth seems impossible let alone picking a winner.

 

GENERAL NON- FICTION (Royal Society of New Zealand Award for General Non-Fiction)

  • Goneville: A memoir by Nick Bollinger (Awa Press)
  • This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art by Anthony Byrt (Auckland University Press)
  • My Father’s Island by Adam Dudding (Victoria University Press)
  • New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history by Catherine Knight (Canterbury University Press)
  • The Broken Decade: Prosperity, depression and recovery in New Zealand, 1928-39 by Malcolm McKinnon (Otago University Press)
  • The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books)
  • The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 by Ben Schrader (Bridget Williams Books)
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil; The Life and Opinions of Samuel Marsden in England and the Antipodes, 1765-1838 by Andrew Sharp (Auckland University Press)
  • Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story by Helene Wong (Bridget Williams Books)
  • Can You Tolerate This? By Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press)

 

Judges: Susanna Andrew, Professor Tom Brooking, Morgan Godfrery

Delighted to see Ashleigh Young makes the cut as this is a top read – and although I haven’t read the book yet, Helene Wong’s extract at The Ladies Litera-Tea was topnotch. Have several others on my must read list (Adam Dudding, Nick Bollinger).

 

 

ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION

  • Islands: A New Zealand Journey by Bruce Ansley & Jane Ussher (Penguin Random House)
  • A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes (Bridget Williams Books)
  • A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngati Porou Carving 1830-1930 by Ngarino Ellis with Natalie Robertson (Auckland University Press)
  • 101 Works of Art by Ken Hall, Jenny Harper, Felicity Milburn, Nathan Pohio, Lara Strongman, Peter Vangioni (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu)
  • Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Sarah Laing (Victoria University Press)
  • New Zealand Wine; The Land, the Vines, the People by Warren Moran (Auckland University Press)
  • Futuna: Life of a Building by Gregory O’Brien (Victoria University Press)
  • A Beautiful Hesitation by Fiona Pardington (Victoria University Press)
  • Dark Matter by Ann Shelton (Auckland University Press)
  • Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press)

Judges: Paul Diamond, Linda Tyler, Bronwyn Labrum

So very glad to see the extra good Mansfield and Me here. I want this one to win. Let’s see a graphic memoir sing from the rafters. Because it is so very good. Not familiar with the other books so very biased!