1 September: Jennifer Compton
Since 1972 New Zealander Jennifer Compton has lived in Australia, where she has forged a career as an award-winning poet and playwright. Back in Wellington as 2008 Randell Cottage fellow, she brings us up to date on her work and life in conversation with Mary McCallum.
About Jennifer Compton
Jennifer Compton was born in Wellington, in 1949 and had two poems published in the NZ Listener when she was 15. In 1972 she travelled to Sydney, and attended the Playwrights’ Studio at NIDA. The play she wrote for this course, Crossfire, jointly won the Newcastle Playwrighting Competition in 1974 and premiered at the Nimrod Theatre in Sydney and was published by Currency Press. The play was presented by Downstage Theatre in Wellington in the late 70s. Before her two children were born she flew backwards and forwards across the Tasman and worked in both countries. Her radio plays (A Wigwam For A Goose’s Bridle, Morning Glories, Several Local Dandelions) were produced by the ABC and RNZ. And she won the Bank of NZ Katherine Mansfield Award in 1977 for her story ‘The Man Who Died Twice’.
Then she moved with her family to Wingello, a small town on the Southern Highlands of NSW, and concentrated on writing poetry and short prose. In 1995 her poem Blue Leaves won the Robert Harris Poetry Prize and she was awarded the NSW Ministry For The Arts Fellowship during which she wrote a book of poetry, Blue, which was short listed for the NSW Premier’s Prize, and a stage play, The Big Picture, which premiered at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney and was published by Currency Press. It was performed by Circa Theatre in Wellington in the late 90s.
Jennifer’s book of poetry, Parker & Quink, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2005 and her next book of poetry, Barefoot, is ready to go. A book of reflections about travel and place - The Wrong Side Of The Road - is nearly complete. This year she has been happily ensconced at the Randell Cottage and working on a novel set in the Wairarapa.
Writers on Mondays is presented by the International Institute of Modern Letters in partnership with the National Library of New Zealand.
These events take place at 1-2pm, at the National Library Auditorium.
They are open to the public and free of charge.
Image: ABC Radio, Australia.