Kay McKenzie Cooke is a poet and short story writer with an extensive background in the early childhood sector. She won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for her poetry collection, Feeding the Dogs, at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her poetry has also appeared in a range of literary journals and magazines, as well as anthologies. Her second volume of poetry, Made for Weather, was published in 2007, and her third, Born to a Red-Headed Woman, was released in 2014. Upturned was published by The Cuba Press in 2020. Kay is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cooke, Kay McKenzie (1953-) is a poet and short story writer. She was born in and raised in Southland, and is of Kati Mamoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Cockney, Northern English, Scottish and Irish descent.
Cooke attended Dunedin Teacher’s College in the 1970s, and worked for many years in the Early Childhood Sector.
Cooke’s poetry has appeared in Takahe, the NZ Listener, Sport, JAAM, Southern Ocean Review, Trout, Glottis, and Poetry NZ. Her work has also been anthologised in the Poetry Society of NZ Anthologies, including a haiku published in the NZ Haiku Anthology (2ed.)
In 2002, Kay McKenzie Cooke's first poetry book, Feeding the Dogs, was published by Otago University Press. Feeding the Dogs received the Jessie MacKay Best First Book Award for Poetry at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
A review in New Zealand Books described the collection as having 'Carefully-drawn moments of luxurious excess which occasionally burst through otherwise extremely restrained verse'.
Her second book of poems, Made for Weather, was published by Otago University Press in 2007. Her third poetry book, Born to a Red-Headed Woman, was published by Otago University Press in 2014.
In 2020, Cooke's collection Upturned was published by The Cuba Press. This latest collection chronicles her life in and around Dunedin, and also Berlin where she visits her son. Nicholas Reid writes "Upturned is a fine and well-crafted collection – the product of a mature and thoughtful mind."
Kay is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
Updated June 2022.