Dear Sweet Harry

Lynn Jenner


‘Teasing, funny, mysterious, impressionistic, utterly impossible to classify or to characterise by quotation or analogy – it is simply exhilarating to read, and I can’t wait to see what Jenner does next.’ – Hugh Roberts, NZ Listener


Dear Sweet Harry is Lynn Jenner’s first collection – the autobiography of an obsession linking the author’s own family history with that of two famous deceivers, Harry Houdini and Mata Hari. In an act of imaginative will Jenner assembles ‘factions’ and ephemera, poems and scraps that summon other diverse characters, objects and places: France, ham radio, World War I, trains, TB, her grandfather Harry (who saw Houdini perform in London), Katherine Mansfield and Paraparaumu. The pieces include family memories and tokens – a letter to her grandfather, a recipe for cough mixture – as well as detritus from other lives.

Dear Sweet Harry is a tender and virtuoso ‘Hey presto!’ with a global reach and an offbeat charm, unlike anything else in New Zealand literature.


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Lynn Jenner began writing at the age of 49. In 2008, while studying at the International Institute of Modern letters, she received the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for the manuscript of Dear Sweet Harry. Her poetry has been published in the Fourth Floor Literary Journal, Turbine, Takahe, JAAM and Best New Zealand Poems 2008.


Winner of NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry 2011.


July 2010, 230 x 165 mm, 80 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869404604, $24.99