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Peninsula’s diverse charm captured in new book

September 2008



Peninsula’s diverse charm captured in new anthology

An anthology of poetry and prose about a region close to the hearts of many Cantabrians has been published by Canterbury University Press.

Land Very Fertile: Banks Peninsula poetry and prose, edited by Coral Atkinson and David Gregory, seeks to capture the spirit of the much-loved area which has long been the source of literary inspiration.

“The anthology offers the Peninsula between covers,” says Coral. “We like to think it’s almost better than a weekend at the bach.”

The collection draws on a wide variety of sources, including such New Zealand greats as Ursula Bethell, Denis Glover, James K. Baxter, Ngaio Marsh, Allen Curnow and Maurice Shadbolt, along with many newer voices such as Joe Bennett, Fiona Farrell, Bernadette Hall and James Norcliffe, as well as exciting lesser-known talents. It is a landscape of literature which reflects the location’s unique heritage and diverse charm.

The editors, both writers themselves, have strong ties to the special spot on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  Coral has lived on Banks Peninsula for 26 years, formerly in Sumner and Lyttelton before moving to Governor’s Bay, her home for the past 11 years. In addition to living in Governor’s Bay for five years, David has worked in the region for quarter of a century in his role as an environmental planner.

Coral believes that hers and David’s unique editorial perspective derives from the fact neither was born in New Zealand –  Coral was born in Dublin, Ireland, and David in London, England.

“I think people that come as immigrants, like us, often have a special perspective in terms of place. They see the incredible beauty of New Zealand in a fresh way that people who grow up here sometimes don’t see or take for granted,” says Coral.

David says their hope is that the book reflects the many ways Banks Peninsula enters the consciousness of its residents and visitors.

The volume is thematically arranged under the headings Beginnings, Places, People, Work, Holidays, Seasons and Weather, and Endings, and each chapter begins with an evocative photograph by former Akaroa GP Martin London.

·         Land Very Fertile: Banks Peninsula in poetry and prose,  Edited by Coral Atkinson and David Gregory, published by Canterbury University Press, September 2008, RRP NZ$29.95, paperback, 228 x 152 mm, 224pp.  ISBN 978-1-877257-63-6.

Coral Atkinson is an Irish/New Zealand writer living in Governors Bay on Banks Peninsula. She has worked as a teacher, an educational journalist and in book publishing. Coral’s published work includes two novels, The Love Apple (Random House, 2005) and The Paua Tower (Random House, 2006).

David Gregory is a Christchurch-based poet active in the promotion of New Zealand writing. He is an editor for Sudden Valley Press and a member of the Canterbury Poets Collective. David has two books of poetry to his name, and a third in production. His work has been published and performed locally and internationally.

Martin London has been taking photographs since his school days in Oxford, England. He has never attended a photographic course. His work can be found scattered through books, magazines and in private collections. Martin is a GP, formerly in Akaroa and now in South Westland.


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