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Poetry Award winner inspired by polar experience

Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award winner inspired by polar experience


Kāpiti poet Alison Glenny has won the 2017 Kathleen Grattan Award with ‘The Farewell Tourist’, a poetry collection inspired by a visit to Antarctica.

She receives a $10,000 prize and a year's subscription to Landfall, and Otago University Press will publish her collection in 2018.

Glenny says she wrote an initial draft while completing a postgraduate certificate in Antarctic Studies last summer at the University of Canterbury.

“One of the amazing things about the course is it includes a short residency in Antarctica, and the early parts of the book were written either in the library at Scott Base (the library with the best view in the world!), or in a tent on the Ross Ice Shelf.”

Other influences include the “endless light of the Antarctic summer”, and the writings of explorers from Antarctica’s so-called Heroic Age, and scientific writing about human-driven climate change.

“Are we really willing to resign ourselves to saying farewell to Antarctica’s unique ecosystems? I truly hope not.”

The judge of the 2017 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award was prize-winning New Zealand poet and fiction writer Bill Manhire who says the collection “pushes against the boundaries of what poetry might be”.

“The Farewell Tourist was the manuscript I wanted to reread most often, each time getting refreshed pleasure from what was already familiar, and also finding new things to enjoy and admire.”

The biennial poetry award from Landfall and the Kathleen Grattan Trust is for an original collection of poems, or one long poem, by a New Zealand or Pacific permanent resident or citizen.

Landfall is published by Otago University Press.

About Alison Glenny

Glenny was born in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, and currently live in Paekākāriki, on the Kāpiti Coast. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University Wellington, and a postgraduate certificate in Antarctic Studies from the University of Canterbury.

She has taught creative writing at Whitireia Polytechnic, and published short fiction and creative nonfiction. She currently works in the area of public housing.

For more information about the Awards, and to learn more about Kathleen Grattan and the history of the award, go to http://www.otago.ac.nz/press/authors/awards/otago065466.html


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