2020 Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui advocates for unheard voices and the power of their stories
The weight of words and the power of reading unheard voices is explored in this year’s compelling Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui (formerly the Book Council Lecture).
The organisation is thrilled to announce that Lyttelton poet Ben Brown (Ngāti Māhuta, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Pāoa) will deliver its 2020 address, If Nobody Listens Then No One Will Know, in which he explores the complex concept of youth justice in Aotearoa.
In early 2020, Brown taught a writing workshop at Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo, the Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Residence facility at Rolleston near Christchurch.
The workshop was part of Writers in Youth Justice, one of Read NZ’s Writers in Communities programmes that take place across the country in different iterations.
This workshop resulted in an anthology of poetry by the YPs (Young People) who took part titled How the Fuck Did I Get Here, edited by Brown and published by Read NZ Te Pou Muramura.
Copies of the anthology have been published for youth justice residents and Oranga Tamariki staff, and will soon be available to the public for purchase.
“These guys in Te Puna Wai are kids,” says Brown. “I want to know what they think of the society they found themselves in and why they feel they need to rob, attack and kill it in some cases.
“I want to know what they think of themselves and why they think it. I would’ve thought we all want to know that, and try to figure out ways to grapple with the answers.”
Read NZ Te Pou Muramura CEO Juliet Blyth believes Ben’s talk of his experiences at Te Puna Wai will shine a light on unheard voices, and compel those outside the system to consider what it is like for those on the inside.
“We know that reading develops empathy, and it is more important than ever that our young people are both seen and see themselves in the words they are reading,” she says.
Brown is the latest in a line of writers to deliver Read NZ’s provocative annual talk, including Lani Wendt Young, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Owen Marshall, Witi Ihimaera and Joy Cowley.
If Nobody Listens Then No One Will Know affirms the vital importance of writing, reading and knowing each other through our stories.
This year’s Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui will be held at the National Library auditorium on November 18 at 6pm. Entry is free, but seats are limited so bookings are essential. Tickets will be made available to the public on October 20.
The Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui
The Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui has become a prominent part of the literary landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand. Previously known as the Book Council Lecture, it provides an opportunity for one of our country’s leading writers to discuss an aspect of literature close to their heart.
Communications and Engagement Manager
Read NZ Te Pou Muramura
021512100 / 04 9097716