Robert Sullivan

ANZL Member

Robert with his poetry installation 'Kawe Reo / Voices Carry', outside Auckland City Library. Photo credit: Courtney Sina Meredith.

Robert Sullivan is a poet whose nine books include the bestselling Star Waka (Auckland UP, 1999), which has been reprinted five times, translated into German (Mana Verlag), and  shortlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2000). His graphic novel Maui: Legends of the Outcast, illustrated by Chris Slane, was shortlisted for the LIANZA Russell Clark Medal. Weaving Earth and Sky, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, and listed as a Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book (2003), won the Non-Fiction category and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year (2003). Captain Cook in the Underworld was longlisted in the Poetry Category for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2003). It is also an oratorio for the composition by John Psathas, Orpheus in Rarohenga, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Choir of Wellington. Robert’s poem ‘Kawe Reo / Voices Carry’ is installed in bronze in front of the Auckland City Library. His first collection, Jazz Waiata, won the PEN (NZ) Best First Book Award in 1991.

His poetry appears in numerous major magazines and journals in New Zealand, the UK, Australia and America. Robert has participated in many national and international festivals, including the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Taipei International Book Exhibition.

With Albert Wendt and Reina Whaitiri, Robert edited two anthologies of Polynesian poetry in English, the Montana New Zealand Book Award winning Whetu Moana, and Mauri Ola. The latest anthology he has co-edited (with Reina Whaitiri) is Puna Wai Kōrero: An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English, the first anthology of its kind. This won the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Award for Creative Writing in 2015. The UK edition will be published by Arc.

Robert belongs to the Māori tribes Ngāpuhi and Kai Tahu, and is also of Irish descent.

'The best adaptations are ones that treat the book as raw material rather than gospel' - David Larsen

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