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Lindsay Bird, Hera
Writer's File

Hera Lindsay Bird

Otago - Ōtākou
Lindsay Bird, Hera
In brief
Hera Lindsay Bird is an award-winning Wellington poet. A graduate from the International Institute of Modern Letters, in 2011 she was awarded the Adam Prize for best Master of Arts Creative Writing folio. In 2009 she won the Story! Inc. Prize for Poetry and the Maurice Gee Prize for Children’s Writing. In 2017 Lindsay Bird won both the Jessie McKay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry at the 2017 Ockham Book Awards, and the 2017 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize for her debut collection Hera Lindsay Bird (VUP, 2016).
  • Primary publisher
    Victoria University Press
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Lindsay Bird, Hera (1987 - ) is a poet, bookseller and creative writing teacher. Lindsay Bird regularly attends writers festivals and runs writing workshops, such as the 2016 TMI (Too Much Information), a free eight-week course focusing on experimental non-fiction.

A graduate of the renowned International Institute of Modern Letters, Lindsay Bird won the 2011 Adam Prize for best Master of Arts portfolio. An admirer of her work, Fergus Barrowman from Victoria University Press wished to publish Lindsay Bird’s thesis the year after her graduation, but Lindsay Bird declined, feeling that her poetry was not in a state for publication. Five years later, Victoria University Press published Lindsay Bird’s first collection, self-titled Hera Lindsay Bird, in July 2016.

An award-winning poet, Lindsay Bird won the Story! Inc. Prize for Poetry and the Maurice Gee Prize for Children’s Writing in 2009. Her poetry has appeared in multiple New Zealand literary journals and magazines since then, including Sport, Sweet Mammalian, Minarets, Shabby Doll House, Blue Oyster, Vice, The Pantograph Punch and Best New Zealand Poems 2015. Before the publication of Hera Lindsay Bird, Lindsay Bird notoriously published poems on the Spinoff. Her poem ‘Keats is Dead so Fuck me From Behind’ exploded onto the literary scene and exhibited the avid interest of New Zealanders in Lindsay Bird’s striking poetry, with the poem receiving over 50,000 page views. Lindsay Bird’s poems ‘Monica’ and ‘Hate’ likewise sent page views and comments soaring, with one reviewer labelling her poetry as both ‘scintillating’ and ‘addictive.’

In an interview with Salient, Lindsay Bird describes Hera Lindsay Bird as a ‘disparate collection of things.’ On the Spinoff she declared she likes her poetry to be reflective of the ‘ugly music of conversations,’ where her poems are at least ‘25% awful.’ The 21 poems in Hera Lindsay Bird were mostly composed in the gothic and literary city of Dunedin, where Lindsay Bird had been living and working for four years. In Dunedin she worked both as a ‘flippant’ writer, but also one who worked ‘extremely hard’ at her poetry, with some of the poems taking months to compose (Guardian Interview). The day after the launch of Hera Lindsay Bird it sold out, with Victoria University Press receiving a large level of overseas interest in the collection. The morning after the launch VUP ordered a reprint, with Kirsten McDougall stating in disbelief that ‘[this] just doesn’t happen.’

An acclaimed debut, Hera Lindsay Bird was reviewed as an ‘unabashedly flamboyant collection’ by the New Zealand Listener, ‘fearless’ by the Sunday magazine and ‘beautiful and . . . brutal’ by Felicity Monk on Stuff. The Guardian claimed Lindsay Bird’s ‘provocative, raunchy’ Hera Lindsay Bird had ‘catapulted . . . [Lindsay Bird] to semi-cult status.’

‘Nobody writes like this in New Zealand,’ Tim Upperton wrote of Lindsay Bird on the Metro, ‘[h]ere is a very fine poet at work, with a wonderful gift for metaphor and simile, effortlessly inventive and bang-on.’ Anna Forsyth on The Reader wrote that the ‘work is well-formed, muscular and intelligent.’

Described as a 'striking debut collection' Lindsay Bird was awarded both the Jessie McKay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry at the Ockham Book Awards and the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2017.

Further updates, interviews and reviews can be found on Hera Lindsay Bird’s website.

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