Elizabeth Smither wins Sarah Broom Poetry Prize

16 May 2016



Congratulations to Elizabeth Smither who has been awarded the 2016 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize judged by globally acclaimed poet Paul Muldoon.


Established in 2013 in honour of Sarah Broom (1972–2013), the author of Tigers at Awhitu (2010) and Gleam (2013), New Zealand’s most valuable poetry prize aims to recognise and financially support new work from an emerging or established New Zealand poet through a $12,000 award. Paul Muldoon, the guest judge for the 2016 award, is currently the poetry editor of The New Yorker and a professor at Princeton University. Born in Northern Ireland in 1951, Muldoon has won many awards for his work and is known worldwide for the virtuosity and expansiveness of his craft.


Elizabeth Smither has written numerous novels, short stories and books of poetry, the most recent of which was The Blue Coat (2013). Smither has twice won a major award for New Zealand poetry and was the 2002 Te Mata Poet Laureate. In 2004 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature from the University of Auckland and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. She was given the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2008.


Auckland University Press senior editor Anna Hodge commented:


‘The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize session at the Auckland Writers Festival has become an important fixture. It offers a chance to hear poems by much-missed poet Sarah Broom, readings by the excellent and always varied trio of shortlisted poets, and a guest judge – this year the generous and inimitable Paul Muldoon.


‘Paul Muldoon impressed the audience with the information that he had read every single one of the 250 entries and with his illuminating and appreciative comments on the poems read by shortlisted poets Airini Beautrais and Amanda Hunt. Then we were absolutely delighted to hear him announce Elizabeth Smither as the winner of the 2016 Prize and the $12,000 award money that goes with it.


‘Elizabeth tells us that some of the poems she read – one about rejuvenating a white linen tablecloth, another about an appearing kangaroo, one about watching her mother from afar – will make their way into her next collection for Auckland University Press, currently taking shape in a red folder. So many congratulations to Elizabeth, and we look forward to sharing these poems with the world in good time.’



For further information contact:

Margaret Samuels
Auckland University Press