Michael Botur is a fiction writer and poet who lives in Whangarei. He works as a PR/communications writer by day. As of 2020 he has published two literary fiction books with professional publishers and self-published five short story collections, one poetry collection, and received numerous accolades. His journalism has been published in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times, The Spinoff, Noted, Mana, North & South with fiction in North & South, Manifesto 101, Bonsai: Small Fictions and most NZ literary journals. He also runs Writers Up North which promotes and networks Northland writers.
BOTUR, MICHAEL (1984- ) grew up in Christchurch. He attended Otago University from 2004 to 2005 and AUT University where he graduated with a Master of Creative Writing in 2009. From 2013 to 2014 he attended Massey University and gained a Graduate Diploma in Journalism Studies.
Botur has been writing since 2005. He published the poetry zine Blindswimmer (2005), and with fellow English students at University of Otago, began publishing poems in Critic and in the same year came second in the F*nk Short Story Competition. In 2008, he was third in the NZSA Short Story Competition for Latter Day Lepers, and the winner of the Her magazine monthly Short Story Competition. In 2009, he was highly commended in the Dan Davin Literary Award and Second in the Kiwi Short Story Competition for Home D (2010).
His first self-published book Hot Bible! (2011)is a collection of short stories which followed a year writing gonzo journalism for Auckland online magazine Renegade House. The following year, Mean (2012), also a collection of short stories, was released. Piet Nieuwland described it in Landfall Review Online: “Fifteen short stories that are closely observed, energetic and original. With a wry humour, they depict people on the margins of society who are struggling to survive, people who are up against it in many different ways, who have had difficulties with the system and its conformities”. Also in 2012, Botur was a runner up in the Takahe Poetry Competition.
In August 2014, Botur was the Guest Fiction Writer for tākahe Magazine #82, and won third place in the Miles Hughes Award.
Botur’s third book, Spitshine (2016) is also a collection of short stories. takahe reviewed it thus “Spitshine contains 16 short stories from a writer considered one of the most original story writers of his generation in New Zealand. It is a generous selection of work: smart, wry, humorous and very stylish. Michael Botur’s stories investigate the vagaries of perception and the ability of language to convey life on the edge with imagination and art so that we arrive, unexpectedly, at the mysteries of the downtrodden.”
In 2017, Botur published the short story collection Lowlife (2017). Paul Little wrote: “Botur wields demotic vocabulary, and agitated rhythms, combined in colleges of invective and obscenity, with much skill. It’s a neat trick that’s easy to stuff up, he consistently gets it right … a small, comic masterpiece and the perfect conclusion to a remarkably satisfying collection.”
The same year, Botur published Moneyland (2017), a sci-fi young adult dystopian novel which received thousands of views on Wattpad. His next short story collection TRUE? (2018) was described by Maggie Trapp in NZ Listener as “Up close and personal with a welter of struggling, striving, forgotten, neglected, complicated, likeable, unlikeable, smart and, often despite themselves, charming characters, each muddling his or her way through life in today’s Aotearoa.”
Botur won the USA-based Short Story Land Competition 2019 for Silent Retreat. In the same year he won the Northland Short Story Award, was second in the North & South Short, Short Story competition 2019 for Magic Mirror and appeared at the Rotorua Noir Literary Festival.
Botur published Loudmouth: Page and Pub Poems in December 2019 and has delivered poetry performances monthly including his solo Loudmouth poetry show at the Whangarei Fringe Festival in October 2020.
In early 2020, Botur published Crimechurch (Rangitawa Publishing). The novel uses Christchurch’s wealth, industry and culture to examine why people in the first world get into trouble. The foreword is in the form of an interview between Botur and Alan Duff. In the interview, Duff endorsed Botur and it was the first time he has endorsed an author for 29 years. New Zealand poet Jeremy Roberts described it thus: “Botur doesn’t waste a sentence. The reader is swept along, moment-by-moment – with fantastic, graphic descriptions of highly-charged scenes, as the arc of the time-shifting story plays out, and all the characters meet Mr. Fate.”
Botur released his sixth collection of short stories, Hell of a Thing, with US publisher The Sager Group in May 2020.
Updated October 2020.