Fiona Farrell


FIONA FARRELL was born in Oamaru, educated in Otago and Toronto, where she wrote her thesis on T S Eliot and poetic drama. Publications since include two collections of poetry (Cutting Out, AUP 1987; The Inhabited Initial, AUP 1999), two collections of short stories (The Rock Garden, AUP 1989; Light Readings, Random 2001), and three novels (The Skinny Louie Book, Penguin 1992 – winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Fiction 1993); Six Clever Girls Who Became Famous Women, Penguin 1996 and The Hopeful Traveller, Random 2002 – Deutz Medal runner-up 2003). Her work has appeared in various anthologies and she has been the recipient of several awards, including the 1995 Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton, France. UK students have tangled with one of her poems, ‘Charlotte O’Neil’s Song’, which featured recently in the GCSE syllabus. Charlotte also appears in Roger McGough’s “Wicked Poems”.

Farrell comments: ‘I wanted to write something dead plain about a meeting which moved me deeply. It’s an “Our Trip” story, deliberately flat, in the tradition of those narratives we have been writing since primary school.

‘The poem is “true”, in the sense that we did indeed go to Takaka, where we met a young man sleeping on bracken, meditating in a cave. It seemed a noble and desperate thing to be doing: a traditional reaction by the young idealist in this post-colonial, post-90s, privatised, globalised beautiful suffering relic of a country.’


Poem: Our trip to Takaka




New Zealand Book Council Writer File

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