Tag Archives: Paula Green

2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement announced

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Paula Green, Peter Simpson (photo: Marti Friedlander), Witi Ihimaera.



Creative New Zealand has announced the winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement. They are internationally renowned Māori novelist Witi Ihimaera, literary historian and fine arts writer Peter Simpson and popular poet and children’s author Paula Green.

Each will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature. Witi Ihimaera will be honoured for fiction, Dr Peter Simpson for non-fiction, and Dr Paula Green for poetry.

Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan said, “Our congratulations to this year’s recipients who are being recognised for their extraordinary legacy of literary achievement. As leaders in their respective crafts, they have engaged New Zealand readers with their story telling and have inspired other New Zealand writers to build on their literary legacy.”

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington, on Wednesday 9 August. The 2017 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship winner, Dr Philip Norman, will also be honoured at the ceremony.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. New Zealand writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand for approval.  This year’s selection panel was Rachael King, Nicola Legat, David Eggleton and Briar Grace-Smith.

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

The Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship is open to established writers of any literary genre who have already published a significant body of work. Valued at $100,000, it is awarded annually for a project that will take two or more years to complete.


Creative New Zealand and Unity Books invite you to a free literary event

The recipients of the 2017 Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement will read and discuss their work with author Kate De Goldi.

This is a free event at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington on Thursday 10 August, 12.30-1.15pm. All welcome. More info: http://bit.ly/2uD2ATe


For media enquiries, please contact:

Jasmyne Chung
Senior Communications & Advocacy Adviser
Creative New Zealand
M: 027 838 8868 | DDI: (04) 498 0727



2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Fiction

Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler, DCNZM, QSM (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Auckland, born Gisborne)

Born in Gisborne, Witi Ihimaera is a novelist, short story writer, filmmaker, anthologist, librettist and playwright. He is of Te Whānau a Kai, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou and Tūhoe descent. He has the distinction of being the first Māori writer, in 1972, to publish both a book of short stories and a novel. His novel, The Whale Rider, became an internationally successful feature film and Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood won the General Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His most recent books are Black Marks on the White Page, co-edited with Tina Makereti, and Sleeps Standing, with te reo translation by Hemi Kelly, about the Battle of Orakau.

Regarded as one of the world’s leading indigenous writers, Witi has held numerous writing residencies and fellowships. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington, and in 2009 he was honoured as an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate as well as the supreme Māori arts award Te Tohu mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu at the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards. He was named a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004. Last month the French Government appointed him a French Knight of the order of arts and letters (Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres) for his contribution to literature.

The selection panel described Witi as one of New Zealand’s most important post-colonial writers, who has consistently proved to be an outstanding storyteller, celebrated as a voice for Māoritanga and a literary leader.


2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Poetry

Dr Paula Green, MNZM (Auckland)

Paula Green is a poet, reviewer, anthologist, children’s author, book awards judge and blogger. She has published ten poetry collections, including several for children. In 2017, she was admitted to The New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to poetry and literature.

Paula has also co-edited a number of highly regarded anthologies, including 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry, with Dr Harry Ricketts, which was short-listed for the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards. She runs two influential poetry blogs, NZ Poetry Box and NZ Poetry Shelf, and has been a judge for the NZ Post Book Awards, the NZ Post Secondary School Poetry Competition, and the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2014.

Her recent publications include a collection of her own poems for children, The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems, which won Children’s Choice at the 2015 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and an anthology of children’s verse, A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. Her latest adult collection, New York Pocket Book, was published in 2016.

Paula has a Doctorate in Italian and was Literary Fellow at The University of Auckland (2005). She is a regular guest in New Zealand literary festivals and frequently performs and undertakes workshops in schools from Year 0 to 13.

The selection panel said Paula stood out amongst the nominees for this year’s Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry as an accomplished all-rounder, with special distinction as an author of children’s poetry. They described her as “a significant figure in New Zealand poetry as an anthologist and commentator” and as a leading poet.


2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Non-fiction


Dr Peter Simpson (Auckland, born Takaka)

Peter Simpson is a writer, editor, critic, curator and academic who has been writing about New Zealand literature, art and culture for more than 50 years. His first book, on Ronald Hugh Morrieson, was published in 1982; since then he has published eight sole-authored books, edited 12 other books, made substantial contributions to 25 other titles, published more than 100 articles in journals in New Zealand and overseas, and scores of reviews in newspapers, periodicals, scholarly journals and online.

He has taught at several universities in New Zealand and Canada between 1964 and 2008. Peter was co-founder and director of Holloway Press, 1993 -2013, publishing some 40 books. He has curated six exhibitions on Leo Bensemann and Colin McCahon for Hocken Collections, Auckland Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery, Lopdell House Gallery and New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

Peter was awarded the 2012 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship. The book written during that Fellowship, Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953, was shortlisted for the illustrated non-fiction category of the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards.

The selection panel said Peter’s many books and other writing attest to his ability – both as a literary historian and as a writer on the fine arts – and that he has contributed significantly to the nation’s literary culture over many years.

2017 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship


Dr Philip Norman, CNZM (Christchurch)

Award-winning author and composer Dr Philip Norman has compiled three editions of the Bibliography of New Zealand Compositions, including biographies of some 120 New Zealand composers and descriptions of 4,000 of their works.

He has co-authored, edited or contributed to numerous other books and publications on New Zealand music. From 1980-1991 he was the principal music reviewer for The Press in Christchurch, writing more than 700 reviews.

In addition to being a writer Philip has composed more than 250 works, from orchestral, chamber music and opera through to choral works, musicals and ballet. He composed music for Footrot Flats, New Zealand’s best-selling musical, and for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s successful Peter Pan, which is shortly to receive a repeat season in Perth, Australia.

About the Michael King Fellowship 2017:

The $100,000 Michael King Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Phillip Norman to create a history of New Zealand composers and their work from the start of European settlement to present day. Philip will use the fellowship to complete a lifetime of work studying New Zealand classical music identifying influential composers, works and performances, and tracing key developments through the decades.


Sarah Jane Barnett interviews Paula Green



Sarah Jane Barnett recently interviewed me about my new collection, New York Pocket Book. The shoe was on the foot, for a change! I really enjoyed the questions.  Took me right back to New York!

For the complete interview go here.

SJB: The poems in New York Pocket Book touch on the idea that the experience of being a tourist can give us a new way to see and experience ourselves. The collection’s main character, Josephine, closely observes her new experiences – the ‘American accent dipping and pausing,’ the ‘Manhattan sky.’ The idea works on two levels, with Josephine experiencing New York and with the reader experiencing Josephine. Can you speak to this idea in terms of your poetry? Do you see the poem as a way to provide a reader with a new experience of themselves?

PG: Perhaps any book refreshes our view of ourselves to varying degrees, but I really like the multiple reading experiences you have spotted. Learning another language for years, I always felt I wore my clothes slightly differently, that I had licence to be a slightly different person. I get that feeling when I stay in foreign cities. I am both myself and not myself. I eat things I might not normally eat. My daily routine goes out the window. So is it a stretch to say the reader in entering a book that is anchored in an iconic place, triggers different relations with the world and self? I don’t know but it’s a fascinating idea. One of the upshots of learning another language, is the way you learn more about your own language. Conversely, when someone speaks a foreign language they always leave clues about their mother tongue. When we experience a new city, we open windows on the familiar as much as we do the unfamiliar. So perhaps the poem is the surrogate new city, the surrogate new language.

Josephine is somewhat elusive. You are right in that you view her through a New York filter (and vice versa) and everything else lands in accidental traces. Some readers might crave more of her backstory but I resisted that. There are some red-hot traces though hiding away. This is a pocket book after all.

THE BOOK SHOW ON FACE TV TONIGHT AT 8.30PM includes a bit of poetry

The Bookman teams up again tonight with bookseller Carole Beu for another session of author interviews, book reviews and news.

Face TV is Sky Channel 83. If you don’t have Sky or miss the show then it will be linked here and here tomorrow morning. The show also screens on Thursday October 2nd at 12.30pm on Face TV.

This week Graham Beattie is talking to crime fiction author Paul Thomas while Carole chats to poet/author Paula Green.

My Christchurch travel diary

Yesterday I left home when it was dark which gave me an idea for a poem. Flying down I saw skinny strips of cloud like skinny strips of dental floss.

I drove straight to Rangiora High School from the airport. On the way I discovered Green’s Road. I made up poems with a Year 10 then a Year 9 class that I posted on my other blog, NZ Poetry Shelf. I really loved listening.

And then another idea for a poem because my hotel has a cat. It came and miaowed outside my door as though it knows my new book is called The Letterbox Cat. This cat needs a poem but for now it has a photo.

Yeah NZ Book Council. Thanks for bringing me south!

Talk soon,





On the hunt for children and classes to interview authors in A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children

You might know just the child or class for this job!

To celebrate the arrival of A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children in October (Random House), my own poems in The Letterbox Cat in August (Scholastic) and NZ Poetry Box, I am doing masses of things.

A Hot Spot Poetry Tour of NZ for about a month is the main act.

But I am also looking for children and classes to devise an interview for and write a short bio of an author in the Treasury. I will give help where needed!

I am assigning names to children and classes who get in touch. So some are already taken!

I then send the questions to the author.

I will post interviews in October.

I will give a copy of The Treasury to my favourite interview by a child and my favourite by a class.

More details here.

Emma Neale on being shortlisted for the Sarah Broom Poetry Award

This is a terrific piece of writing. Emma offers us a moving tribute to Sarah, her love of her poetry and a poem– amongst other things.

‘Now that I am settling down a bit from the giddy whirl of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, I want to repeat here how much admiration I have for Michael Gleissner and the other trust members who set up the Sarah Broom Award. To do this so soon after losing Sarah must have taken an enormous amount of energy and focus at a very raw and vulnerable time. I know from all the positive feedback and well-wishing I was lucky enough to receive even as a short-listee, that the wider poetry community has been highly aware of the award and the chance it offers to local poets.

It was a hoot to meet Sam Hunt at the session, and Kirsti Whalen showed really professional slam-background confidence. I’ve owned Sam’s poems since I was 13: though back then I didn’t have a clue what all the fuss about love and desire was. Adults seemed tortured by such bizarre emotions. Sam not only takes poetry to the people but also does a mean tap dance — look him up on YouTube. Also his interview on National Radio about the Sarah Broom Award is a marvellous recording. It’s the kind of radio that makes you forget how to multi-task. You just end up frozen in place, dishcloth at the window, struck in an attitude of intense distraction.’

See the rest of Emma Neale’s post here.