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Sarah Broom Poetry Prize Established to Recognise NZ Poets

Media Release
Auckland University Press
Embargoed until 2 August 2013

Sarah Broom Poetry Prize established to recognise and support New Zealand poets

A new poetry prize, the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize, was announced last night in Auckland at the launch of Sarah Broom’s posthumous collection of poems Gleam (Auckland University Press).

The prize has been founded by Sarah’s husband Michael Gleissner and friends in memory of the poet and literary critic, who died in April 2013 just before Gleam was printed. The prize is intended to celebrate the role of poetry in the cultural life of New Zealanders and to encourage and financially support a New Zealand recipient in the completion of a full manuscript of original poetry.

“The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize has been inspired by the spirit of imagination, freedom and determination that marked Sarah’s life and work, and by the role that poetry can play in the emotional and cultural lives of all New Zealanders” said Michael Gleissner.

“For Sarah, as for many others, poetry was a means to live through experiences of joy and tragedy, and a means to articulate the deepest connections between the self, family, community, and the New Zealand landscape.”

The prize will be awarded annually, based on the submission of 6–8 poems (at least 5 unpublished). Entries will open on 3 February 2014 and close 28 March 2014 and the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize will be awarded in May 2014.

Fundraising for the Poetry Prize is now underway and will determine the final amount awarded to the recipient. People can contribute to the fund by emailing

A panel of judges will assess entries and compile a shortlist. Each year, a guest judge will select the overall winner.

The guest judge for the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize will be Sam Hunt.

The judging panel comprises poet, scholar and reviewer Paula Green, academic Sarah Ross, poet and academic Jennifer Crawford, London based academic Pat Palmer, and Michael Gleissner.

About Sarah Broom
Sarah Broom (1972-2013) was a New Zealand poet whose work is deeply rooted in the beauty and raw power of the New Zealand landscape.

Trained as an academic in English literature at Oxford, Leeds, and Canterbury universities, Sarah always desired to write her own poetry. With a doctorate in modern poetry from Oxford University and several lectureships under her belt, Sarah left academia to raise her young family - and to write. Her poetry has been published in numerous New Zealand and international journals, including Landfall, Takahe, and Bravado.

In February 2008, when Sarah was 28 weeks pregnant with her third child, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Her baby was delivered safely and Sarah, a fit non-smoker, was given just months to live. Sarah gave up her body to medical research, persuading pharmaceutical companies to accept her onto trials requiring her to travel to Melbourne and Boston for treatment at regular, exhausting intervals. Through it all, she continued to write, and her first poetry collection, Tigers at Awhitu, was published by Carcanet (UK) and Auckland University Press in 2010.

On April 18th 2013 Sarah passed away, leaving behind her husband Michael and three children, Daniel (11), Christopher (7) and Amelia (5). Her second poetry collection Gleam will be published posthumously in August 2013.



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