Dan Davin Literary Foundation Poetry Festival

June 6th — 8th, 2024

The Dan Davin Literary Foundation is excited to announce that this year they will be hosting a dedicated Poetry Festival from 6-8 June.
Each year the Foundation runs writing competitions for students and adults. This year the adult competition is poetry. Usually entries are written only, however this year there will be a spoken word category where entrants can submit audio recordings of their work.
To support this new category Foundation trustees decided to have a Poetry Festival including a range of activities over three days with guest poets from all over Aotearoa. Guests will include Christchurch based poet, writer and performer Tusiata Avia; Auckland based poetry slam champion and educator Sara Hirsch and Dunedin based poets Kay McKenzie Cooke, Jenny Powell and David Eggleton. They will be participating in a Poetry reading and panel discussion, a range of high school workshops and adult poetry workshops on writing and performance and a poetry showcase. Local poet Ingrid Campbell, winner of the recent poetry slam held as part of Shakespeare in the City, will also host a creative poetry workshop.
New Foundation Chair Sandra B Divine hopes these opportunities will inspire local poets to enter this year’s competition, including the spoken word category. “This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from renowned poets from across Aotearoa and is a chance not to be missed. The workshops will offer the chance for poets of all ages to learn new skills for writing and also performing poetry. We hope this will help grow the skills of our local poets.”
For more information contact Becs Amundsen, event co-ordinator 027 2252664 or email phil.becs@xtra.co.nz.
The public programme is:
Thursday 6th June:
  • Poetry event at Gore Library (Daytime) with Jenny Powell and Kay McKenzie Cooke
    Details to be confirmed.
  • Poetry Reading and Panel Discussion with Sara Hirsch, David Eggleton, Kay McKenzie Cooke and Jenny Powell
    Library meeting room
    Koha entry
Friday 7th June:
  • Creative Poetry Workshop with Ingrid Campbell.
    This creative poetry workshop takes you on a journey of self discovery, exploring your own uniqueness and what makes you, you! You will by guided to express through both words and imagery before creating a poem piece of your own and then one with the collective. 
    Library meeting room
    Koha entry
    Register by email dandavin@xtra.co.nz
  • Conversation on the Couch with Tusiata Avia.
    An opportunity to hear from poet, writer and performer Tusiata Avia, about her journey and experiences as a Pacifica write in Aotearoa.
    This is a ticketed event and seats are limited.
    Details to be confirmed.
    Tickets will be released mid May.
Saturday 8th June
  • Poetry Workshops: (details TBC)
  • Poetry writing workshop with Sara Hirsch
  • Poetry performance workshop with Sara Hirsch
  • Poetry Masterclass with Tusiata Avia
  • 6pm Poetry Showcase
To register for the poetry workshops email dandavin@xtra.co.nz.
About our visiting poets:
Tusiata Avia is a poet, writer and performer. She has published 5 books of poetry, including her latest, Big Fat Brown Bitch. She is also the author of children’s books, short films, radio documentary and plays.
Tusiata was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to poetry and the arts and an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2020; Distinguished Alumni at Te Herenga Waka University of Victoria, 2023; and in 2024, the Prime Ministers Award for Literary Achievement: Poetry.
The Savage Coloniser Book won the 2021 Best Book of Poetry at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; the stage version, The Savage Coloniser Show, debuted in 2023 and became the centre of a political controversy in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Sara Hirsch (they/she) is a London-grown poet and educator now based in Aotearoa New Zealand. A former UK Slam Champion, winner of the European Slam in Madrid and BBC Slam Finalist, Sara regularly performs and teaches poetry around the world. Their debut poetry collection Still Falling was published in 2016 with Burning Eye Books and they have since released a second collection Louder Than Words, with their imprint, BX3.
David Eggleton lives in Ōtepoti Dunedin and was the Aotearoa New Zealand Poet Laureate between August 2019 and August 2022. He is a former Editor of Landfall and Landfall Review Online as well as the Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader. His book The Conch Trumpet won the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. Also in 2016, he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. His The Wilder Years: Selected Poems, was published by Otago University Press in 2021 and his latest collection Respirator: A Laureate Collection 2019 -2022 was published by Otago University Press in March 2023.
In 1998 Jenny Powell's first poetry collection, Sweet Banana Wax Peppers was published, followed by Hats, Four French Horns, and Viet Nam; a poet’s journey.
Her interest in poetic experimentation led to two collaborative collections, the first being Double Jointed with ten other poets, and the second being Locating the Madonna written with poet Anna Jackson.
Her interest in collaboration is reflected in two performance pieces. The first to be staged was Montecillo Child, for soundscape, images and voices. The second was Alive in Berlin for music, film and performer.
Awards include being a finalist in the UK Plough Poetry Prize, two times finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Arts Award (UK), short listed in the Welsh Poetry Competition, runner-up in the UK Mslexia Poetry Competition, shortlisted in the New Zealand Society of Authors Janet Frame Memorial Award, shortlisted in the inaugural NZ Book Month ‘Six Pack’ Competition, and winner of the Dunedin Chinese Garden Harvest Moon Poetry Competition.
Kay McKenzie Cooke
Ko Takitimu toku Mauka
Ko Waiau toku Awa
Ko Kāi Tahu Ko Kāti Māmoe ōku Iwi
Ko Ōtepoti ahau
Ko Kay toku ingoa
Takitimu are my mountains
Waiau is my river
Kāi Tahu and Kati Māmoe are my tribes
Dunedin is where I live
Kay is my name
Kay lives with her husband Robert in Ōtepoti Dunedin Aotearoa New Zealand.
She has four adult children and nine mokopuna / grandchildren.
Currently her publications consist of four poetry books and three novels.

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