College Welcomes Literary Great, CK Stead

July 25, 2014 at 3:50 PM

This week, the students in our Year 13 Scholarship English class were privileged to welcome CK Stead to their class; one of the country's most eminent writers and literary critics. The visit was linked to his recent win in the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Competition at the Auckland Writers' Festival in May; as the winner, he was requested to spend time at a school to share his expertise with students – the ‘writers of the future.’ Our students were fortunate to be recipients of his time and knowledge.

Stead is a distinguished novelist, literary critic, poet, essayist and emeritus professor of English at the University of Auckland. He has won and been nominated for many prestigious awards and fellowships, including the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers’ Fellowship in 2005.

Stead received a CBE in the Queen’s Honours List in 1985 and then, in 2007, he was awarded the highest honour New Zealand can bestow when he was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand; currently the only living New Zealand writer to hold the award since children’s author, Margaret Mahy passed away in 2012.

During his conversation with the students he read aloud some of his own works, such as Funeral, a poem from the recent winning collection, along with other personal favourites by G.M Hopkins and John Donne. The ensuing discussions ranged from poetic form to an elegy for his black cat, Zack. Questions from the students about how to write and how to shape writing, and how to get works published were answered in good humour and with honesty by the seasoned writer.

We are very grateful to Mr Stead for the valuable time he spent with our students, enriching their understanding of the power of language.

Question to CK Stead: Is poetry the most satisfying of your writerly arts?
Yes, it's what makes the greatest demands, gives the greatest feeling of satisfaction when it goes well, and disappointment, or emptiness, when you have periods of drought.
NZ Herald, 2013

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