Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Migrant voices in creative writing surge at Massey

Voxy -

The new Massey University Press, led by respected publisher Nicola Legat, will have creative writing on its upcoming list, including the next edition of Poetry New Zealand, edited by poet and senior lecturer Dr Jack Ross for the past three years.

International writers who now call the Manawatu home are adding a distinctive vibe to Massey University’s burgeoning creative writing scene.

A surge in activity and success among Massey University staff and student creative writers - from New Zealand, as well as the United States, Britain, Latin America and Australia - reflects the growing strength and profile of its undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing programmes, says Palmerston North-based author and creative writing senior lecturer Dr Thom Conroy.

Ex-pat writers offer a fresh take on New Zealand identity from the migrant’s experience, says Dr Conroy, a dual American-New Zealand citizen who moved here from Ohio 11 years ago.

A case in point, Dr Conroy is about to launch his second novel, titled The Salted Air, two years after the success of his debut novel The Naturalist - set mainly in New Zealand and based on the true story of 19th century German naturalist, botanist and explorer Dr Ernst Dieffenbach. It topped the Neilsen Weekly Bestseller list in New Zealand after its release in 2014 and was at one point selling ahead of Man Booker winner, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. His next novel has a contemporary New Zealand setting, and will be launched in Palmerston North on June 3.

Colleagues, as well as current and former students from the School of English and Media Studies, have been gaining a profile in both publishing and arts performance across genres in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and theatre and film writing.


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