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Former UC Writer in Residence wins Prime Minister Award for Poetry

19 January 2024
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University of Canterbury’s 2010 Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence poet Tusiata Avia has been awarded a 2023 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. 

Avia’s poetry collection The Savage Coloniser Book won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This was made into a theatre show, as was her first poetry collection Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, which notably showed Off-Broadway and won the 2019 Outstanding Production of the Year at Soho Playhouse. 

While Avia is best known for her poetry, she brings her formidable skills to teaching performance and writing in tertiary institutions, schools, justice facilities and in refugee and Pacific communities. 

Avia was recently awarded a New Zealand Foundation Laureate and a Queen’s Birthday Honour (New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to poetry and the arts.  


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