If facing the paper, your thought is 'I am an artist', you have no clue what to do. If the concepts of your function are, 'I am a shape maker, an entertainer, an expressive symbol collector'...then you have an explicit road map. Edgar Whitney

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winning the 2011 Margaret Mahy Prize.

“Ok, so you’re pretty prolific, get 100 poems together and let’s see if there’s a book amongst them.”  Thus began the relationship with my Hagley Writers Institute supervisor, John Dickson.

OOOkay… I gulped and got to work and lo, I pulled it off. I narrowed it down to 47, submitted the manuscript for my final folio and it was short listed in the top seven. From these Anne Rogers, editor at Random House chose the winners of the Margaret Mahy Award. I thought I hadn’t heard correctly when my name was called. I stumbled up to receive the award, and then spent the rest of the evening in a grinning daze. Always remember to prepare a winners face, as well as a losers. I have learned by experience now! Pictures of graduation here.

The manuscript is called, A Machine of Herbs and Flowers. It’s my first collection of poetry. Hagley are now sending it to Auckland University Press and one other publisher yet to be decided to be considered for publishing.

2011 was tough, with some 9,500 aftershocks and quakes in Christchurch and the death of one of my best friends. Hagley held me together and gave me purpose and hope. There’s a lot to look forward to and work towards in 2012. I’m returning to Hagley for year two. This year my tutor is the brilliant Frankie Mcmillan who I know will be able to polish my short fiction writing skills.


  1. Congratulations Marisa! Best wishes for publishing 'A Machine of Herbs and Flowers'.

  2. Thank you so much Mariana, it's an exciting adventure.