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Poet Laureate to speak frankly at University of Waikato

24 August 2011

*Poet Laureate to speak frankly at University of Waikato lecture*

New Zealand Poet Laureate Ian Wedde will be the guest speaker at the 9thAnnual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture being held at the University of Waikato before a book launch celebrating the series.

Wedde is one of New Zealand’s most influential cultural commentators and public intellectuals. As a poet, novelist and essayist he has been awarded some of the country’s most significant literary awards and earlier this year was announced the third New Zealand Poet Laureate.

The University of Waikato started the Frank Sargeson Memorial Lectures started in 2003 with the intention of celebrating Hamilton’s cultural history and the life of Hamilton’s most famous literary son. This year’s lecture takes place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on September 15.

Sargeson made a name for himself turning the lives, loves and language of ordinary people into the stuff of art. He was the first New Zealand author to capture the New Zealand working class vernacular, depicting the laconic and unsophisticated New Zealand male in a repressive, puritanical environment that was deeply suspicious of strong feelings and alternative points of view.

Sargeson published 40 stories between 1936 and 1954, and in these years dominated New Zealand short fiction.

“To date, the Frank Sargeson Lectures have featured prominent New Zealand writers who have personal ties to Sargeson. They've often shared memories of the author and the place he lived', says organiser Dr Sarah Shieff, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“This year's lecture may be something of a departure: Ian will be talking about the meaning of home, and about coming and going home. Frank knew all about such comings and goings. Although he travelled when he was young, he made a conscious decision to spend his life in one place, putting down roots, tending his garden, and writing.”

Wedde will speak before the official book launch of *Speaking Frankly: The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lectures 2003 – 2010*, celebrating eight years of lectures at the University of Waikato – other notable speakers have included Michael King, Peter Wells and Graeme Lay among others.

The idea to turn the lectures to date into a book was the brainchild of Sargeson’s close friend and literary executor and heir Dame Christine Cole Catley, who herself was the sixth speaker in the series. Dame Christine died on August 21.

The lecture and book launch will take place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Thursday September 15, beginning at 5.30pm. The evening is open to the public, people should rsvp to


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