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Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award

Kathleen GrattanAuckland poet Kathleen Grattan, a journalist and former editor of the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, died in 1990. A member of the Titirangi Poets, her work was published in Landfall and other volumes including Premier Poets, a collection from the World Poetry Society. Her daughter Jocelyn Grattan, who also worked for the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, shared her mother's love of literature. She has generously left Landfall a bequest with which to establish an award in memory of Kathleen Grattan.

About the award

This biennial award is for an original book-length collection of poems by a New Zealand or Pacific permanent resident or citizen. Individual poems in the collection can have been previously published, but the collection as a whole should be unpublished. Entries are accepted until 31 July of the award year and must be either received or postmarked by this date. The result will be announced in the November issue of Landfall, and the winner will receive $10,000 and a year's subscription to Landfall.

The judge for the 2019 award is Jenny Bornholdt, who has published ten books of poems, the most recent of which is Selected Poems (VUP, 2016). She also edited the 2018 anthology Short Poems of New Zealand (VUP).

Her collection The Rocky Shore was a made up of six long poems and won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 2009. She is the co-editor of My Heart Goes Swimming: New Zealand Love Poems and the Oxford Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English. Jenny’s poems have appeared on ceramics, on a house, on paintings, in the foyer of a building and in letterpress books alongside drawings and photographs. She has also written two children’s books.

The 2019 award is now closed for entries.

Conditions of entry

  • Entries will be a collection of poems or one long poem.
  • Minimum submission length is 20 pages. Formatting, font size etc is your choice.
  • Entries will be unpublished, original work. Note, it is the collection as a whole that should not have been previously published. Individual poems in the collection can have been published previously.
  • Entrants will be New Zealand or South Pacific permanent residents or citizens.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted.
  • The judging panel will assess the merits of submissions and reserves the right not to award a prize.
  • No correspondence with the judges will be entered into.
  • Landfall/Otago University Press reserves the right of first publication of the winning entry. Any other entries may be considered for publication.
  • The name and photograph of the winning writer may be used by Landfall and/or its publishers for publicity purposes.
  • No present employees of Otago University Press or present editors of Landfall are eligible to enter.

How to enter

  • The 2019 award is now closed for entries.
  • Submit two hard copies of your manuscript (your name is NOT to appear on these). Your copies will not be returned.
  • Include a cover letter with your personal contact details: name, postal address, email address and telephone number.
  • Please ensure the title of the submission is on both the cover letter and on the manuscript itself.
  • Please include notes on which poems have been previously published and where in the cover letter, but NOT within the manuscript itself.

Mail entries to

The Kathleen Grattan Award
Otago University Press
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Courier entries to

Otago University Press
Level 1
398 Cumberland St
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Further information

Tel 64 3 479 4155

Past award winners

Landfall 234 (November 2017) announced Kāpiti poet Alison Glenny as the winner of the 2017 Kathleen Grattan Award with ‘The Farewell Tourist’, a poetry collection inspired by a visit to Antarctica. 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 four runners-up were Nick Ascroft with 'Moral Sloth', Tom McCone with 'ell yrs', Philip Armstrong with 'Orpheus in Pieces' and James Norcliffe with 'Deadpan'.
'The Farewell Tourist' was published in 2018.

Landfall 230 (November 2015) announced Michael Harlow as the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award with his collection Nothing for it but to Sing. According to judge Emma Neale, Harlow ‘is a poet with such a command of music, the dart and turn of movement in language, that he can get away with words that make us squirm in apprentice workshops or bad pop songs … and make them seem newly shone and psychically right.’ 

Landfall 226 (November 2013) announced Siobhan Harvey as the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award with her collection 'Nephology for Beginners'. Judge Jeffrey Paparoa Holman commented: 'Harvey's work came through for me because it seemed to come out of life itself as well as literature and asked things of the reader. This is a powerful and brave collection, exploring the world of autism through a mother's eyes, using the world of clouds as both simile and metaphor.' Cloudboy was published in May 2014.

Landfall 222 (2011) announced Emma Neale as the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award 2011. Her book, The Truth Garden, was published in July 2012. The judge of the 2011 competition was Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen, who commented: 'The breath held or expelled in wonder, frustration or delight energises Emma Neale's writing.'

Landfall 220 (2010) announced the 2010 winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award, judged by Vincent O'Sullivan: This City by Jennifer Compton. Compton's volume 'sustains a questing, warmly sceptical mind's engagement with wherever it is, whatever it takes in, and carries the constant drive to say it right,' said O'Sullivan.

Landfall 218 (2009) announced the 2009 winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award, judged by Ian Wedde: Stunning Debut of the Repairing of a Life by the late Leigh Davis. This book was published by Otago University Press in July 2010.

Landfall 216 (2008) announced the inaugural winner of this award, judged by Fleur Adcock: The Summer King by Joanna Preston. This collection was published by Otago University Press on Montana NZ Poetry Day in 2009 and subsequently won the Australian Mary Gilmore Award for best first book of poetry.