Tuesday 12 November 2019 10:28am
The Best of the Landfall Essay Competition
Selected by Emma Neale
Judging her first Landfall Essay Competition in 2018, Landfall editor Emma Neale was seriously challenged. The overall high quality of the 90 submissions made it impossible to choose. After a nails-bitten-to-the-quick struggle, she optimistically submitted her ‘shortlist’ of 21 essays.
The publisher had some strong words with her. Emma was told a shortlist needed to be shorter than 21. A lot shorter.
There were no fingernails left to chew. She wasn’t flexible enough to bite her toes. The only thing left to gnaw down was the too-long list.
In the end she pared the list back to 10 but it seemed so wasteful not to be awarding many more prizes. The world needed to be able to read these damned fine essays.
That’s when this book was born ...
Strong Words is a striking collection of essays that show what Virginia Woolf once described as the art that can at once ‘sting us wide awake’ and yet also ‘fix us in a trance which is not sleep but rather an intensification of life’. It celebrates an extraordinary year in New Zealand writing.
Emma Neale has published five novels and five poetry collections, and edited several anthologies. She is a former Robert Burns fellow (2012) and has received numerous awards and grants for her writing including the Janet Frame/NZSA Memorial Prize for Literature (2008) and the University of Otago/Sir James Wallace Pah Residency (2014). She was the Philip and Diane Beatson/NZSA Writing Fellow in 2015. Emma received the Kathleen Grattan Award for 2011 for her poetry collection The Truth Garden, and was a finalist for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017 for her novel Billy Bird. She holds a PhD in New Zealand Literature from University College London (UK). Since 2018 Emma has been the editor of Landfall journal. Her latest poetry collection, To the Occupant, was published this year by Otago University Press.
Paperback, 215 x 165mm, 184 pp, ISBN 978-1-98-853177-9, $35