Gallagher, Rhian

Gallagher, Rhian

Information

residence
Otago
Primary publisher
Auckland University Press

In Brief

Rhian Gallagher is a poet. Her first book of poems Salt Water Creek was published in London and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection in 2003. She won a Canterbury History Foundation Award in 2007 and wrote Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson, a non-fiction biography published by the South Canterbury Museum. Her writing has been widely anthologised. Rhian Gallagher won the New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry in 2012 for her second collection Shift.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gallagher, Rhian (1961 - ) was born in Timaru in the South Island of New Zealand. She lived in London for many years before returning to New Zealand in 2006. She worked extensively in publishing in the UK from 1995 – 2005, and currently works as a freelance copywriter.

Her first book of poems Salt Water Creek (Enitharmon Press, 2003) was published in London and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection in 2003. Carol Rumens wrote, ‘Gallagher is the kind of writer whose eye can redefine any scene... Originality in some poets entails difficulty, but Gallagher’s writing, unusual both in matter and manner, is never obscurely self-reflexive: it is both original and beautifully clear.’

After returning to New Zealand, Gallagher won a Canterbury History Foundation Award in 2007 and wrote Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson, a non-fiction biography published by the South Canterbury Museum. Nigel Brown reviewed the book in the Timaru Herald, ‘This is a fitting tribute to Adamson and is very highly recommended.’

Over the years, Gallagher’s work has been published in a wide range of literary journals and anthologies, including Best New Zealand Poems 2003, 121 New Zealand Poems (Random House NZ, 2005); Best Sporting Moments (VUP, 2005); The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape (Craig Potton Publishing, 2005); The Forward Book of Poetry (Forward London, 2005); and The Best of the Best New Zealand Poems (VUP, 2011). She was the recipient of the 2008 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award.

Rhian Gallagher’s second book of poetry, Shift (AUP, 2011) won the New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry in 2012. It was also included in the NZ ListenerBest Books list for 2011.

Emma Neale reviewed Shift in the NZ Listener, writing, ‘This is an intimate collection, confiding over the love of a woman, yet it achieves an enviable poise between intimacy and reserve. Gallagher’s restraint in form and content shows a deep respect and enduring love for the one lost. In this, it artfully deepens our sense of the enormous shift it traces.’

Tony Beyer wrote in his review of Shift for Landfall Review Online, ‘Personal, international and consciously critical awareness is literally brought home to a recognisable New Zealand context in these impressive poems, reminiscent of an established strand in South Island writing, including works like those of Ursula Bethell, Janet Frame, Brian Turner and, possibly, Charles Brasch. If Rhian Gallagher is part of this tradition, she certainly enhances it.’

Enitharmon Press published the UK edition of Shift in 2012.

A collaborative work, Freda: Freda Du Faur, Southern Alps, 1909-1913, was produced with printer Sarah M. Smith and printmaker Lynn Taylor in 2016 (Otakou Press).

Rhian was the Robert Burns Fellow in 2018. Her most recent poetry collection Far-Flung, poems that "traverse multiple terrains – home and upheaval, our connection to the environment and to people, our relation to the past, place and placelessness" was published by Auckland University Press in 2020.

Rhian Gallagher lives in Dunedin.

LINKS

Updated August 2022.