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Michele Leggott Announced as Inaugural Laureate

Michele Leggott Announced as Inaugural Poet Laureate 2007/2008

Auckland University Press congratulates distinguished poet and University of Auckland scholar Michele Leggott, who has been announced as the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2007/08.

Michele's publisher, AUP Director Sam Elworthy, said, "Michele Leggott is not only a great poet, widely recognized in New Zealand and around the world, she is also an innovative promoter of poetry through her New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre, dynamic teaching, and through her editorial work on poets such as Robin Hyde and Alan Brunton. We congratulate Michele on this great honour."

The Minister responsible for the National Library, the Hon Judith Tizard, announced the appointment at a function at Parliament last night.

"Michele has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry and I'm thrilled to announce her role as the 2007/08 New Zealand Poet Laureate."

Michele Leggott is an Associate Professor in The University of Auckland's Department of English Department and founding Director of the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz ), an important international and national digital resource for poets, schools, universities and the reading public. She has published five books of poetry and has edited five anthologies of poetry and criticism. Her first collection, Like This?, won the PEN First Best Book of Poetry in 1989 and Dia (AUP, 1994) won the 1995 NZ Book Award for Poetry.

The Poet Laureate Award was established earlier this year to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry. Administered by the National Library of New Zealand, the Poet Laureate is selected biennially and receives an award of $50,000 per year.

The Poet Laureate's working papers and published work will be preserved in the National Library's National Digital Heritage Archive and in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is based on the Te Mata Poet Laureate scheme, which it will supersede.


ENDS

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