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Winner announced - Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2014

PRESS RELEASE – 18 May 2014

Winner announced - Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2014

C.K. Stead was announced as the winner of the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize at the Auckland Writers' Festival on Sunday 18 May.

Stead is one of New Zealand's most prominent writers and critics, as well as a recipient of New Zealand’s highest honour (the Order of New Zealand), and the 2009 Montana Book Award for his Collected Poems, among numerous other awards.

The iconic New Zealand poet Sam Hunt was guest judge for 2014.

"Sitting in judgement on 3000 odd poems by 300 odd poets is a daunting task", says Hunt. "When poems of the voice and presence of Karl Stead’s come along, those hours of reading and listening, become more than worthwhile, they become a total pleasure."

Stead accepted the award via video on Sunday, as he is currently in Europe. "One is always delighted to win a literary prize", he says, "but this a very special one because Sarah Broom was a special person."

"I understand that this was a strong field, so that's reassuring at my age to be told that you are still in business."

"I am delighted to have won, and I hope that the award continues and that it keeps, along with the poetry itself, the name of Sarah Broom alive to us all."

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize was established to celebrate the life and work of Sarah Broom (1972-2013), author of Tigers at Awhitu and Gleam.

The prize of $12,000 was announced at the Auckland Writers' Festival, where shortlisted poets Emma Neale and Kirsti Whalen also read from their work.

For more information about Sarah Broom or the Poetry Prize visit

CK Stead
Karl has published over forty volumes of poetry, fiction, memoir and criticism. Along with New Zealand’s highest honour (the Order of New Zealand), he has received the 2009 Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction, a 2009 Montana Book Award for his Collected Poems and the esteemed Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine in 2010 amongst numerous other awards. Karl’s latest collection is The Yellow Buoy (published by Auckland University Press in New Zealand and Ark in the United Kingdom).

Karl’s poems embrace a vision that welcomes both an intellectual life and an everyday life along with a joyful attentiveness to sound. There is the characteristic wit, reflection and irony, but there is also tenderness, empathy and acute insight. These poems radiate such a contoured experience for the reader through their layering of ideas, self-confession, musical agility and location within a history of reading and thought. The subject matter shifts from the intimacy of a love poem to his wife, Kay, to a cheeky eulogy to Derrida (‘the enemy of plain sense’) to a hilarious case of mistaken identity.
These poems have an unwavering strength to pull you back again and again to fall upon new discoveries.

“Poetry has been my life, and all the other literary endeavours, criticism, scholarship, fiction, circle around and out from it.” C K Stead

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