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Airini Beautrais and Charlotte Grimshaw have both won awards for their short story collections. Hear from them about the attractions and challenges of the format.

Short story collections have won the top fiction prize in the New Zealand Book Awards only twice; Bug Week in 2021 and Opportunity in 2008. This year’s award winner Airini Beautrais joins former winner Charlotte Grimshaw to discuss the freedom of the form to give vivid insights into a diverse range of lives through multiple narrators.

Beautrais’ Bug Week is a scalpel-clean examination of male entitlement, a dissection of death, an agar plate of mundanity that traverses the weird, the wry and the grotesque.

Grimshaw’s Opportunity is a book about storytelling, about generosity and opportunism; above all it is a celebration of the subtleties of human impulses, of what Katherine Mansfield called ‘the LIFE of life’. Chaired by Jacquetta Bell, QSM.

Thanks to Victoria University Press and Penguin Books NZ 

Airini Beautrais 

Airini Beautrais’ work has appeared in a range of journals and anthologies in Aotearoa and elsewhere. She is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Flow: Whanganui River Poems (VUP, 2017). Her first collection, Secret Heart (VUP, 2006), won the Jessie Mackay Award for First Book of Poetry at the 2007 NZ Book Awards. In 2016 she won the Landfall Essay Prize. She has also been a judge for a number of awards, including the 2018 Ockham NZ Book Awards. She lives in Whanganui with her two sons and two cats.

Charlotte Grimshaw 

The author of a number of critically acclaimed novels and outstanding collections of linked stories, Charlotte Grimshaw has been a double finalist and prize winner in the Sunday Star-Times short story competition, and in 2006 she won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award. Her story collection Opportunity was shortlisted for the 2007 Frank O’Connor International Prize, and in 2008 Opportunity won New Zealand’s premier Montana Award for Fiction or Poetry. She was also awarded the 2008 Montana Book Reviewer of the Year. Her story collection Singularity was short-listed for the 2009 Frank O’Connor International Prize and the South East Asia and Pacific section of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

Jacquetta Bell 

Jacquetta Bell started out as a radio journalist before founding Nelson Media Agency. In 2002 she became the inaugural coordinator of the Nelson Arts Festival's readers and writers programme, which she ran until 2015. After using her skills in journalism and communications to benefit community organisations in Nelson, including the Nelson Women’s Centre, the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary and Smokefree Rockquest, she was recently recognised with a Queen’s Service Medal for her services to the arts and the community.



Sat 23 Oct | 3.30pm

60 min

$13 - $19
Eligible for 5 for $75

Plus service fee 
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