Tongan-Rotuman poet will draw on family history during time in Hawai’i

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A poet of Tongan-Rotuman heritage has been awarded a prestigious artist's residency to Hawaii.

Tongan-Rotuman poet David Eggleton will use a prestigious scholarship to write about Pacific people and his own family history.

Eggleton has been awarded the 2017 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s residency.

He will take up the residency in Hawai’i.

His family came to New Zealand from Fiji.

A school dropout, he went on to become one of New Zealand’s most pre-eminent poets.

He is editor of Landfall, New Zealand’s longest-running literary journal.

Eggleton won best poetry book in the Ockham National Book Awards 2016 and the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry that same year.

He told Radio New Zealand he felt motivated to apply after his mother died.

He said he would write about Pacific people in relation to his own family history and how they were brought up as a family  in Fiji and later in New Zealand.

In 2015 Eggleton won the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry.

His first book of poetry, South Pacific Sunrise, was published in 1987.

He lives in Dunedin, which he once described as a “miserabilist’s paradise.”

The main points

  • Tongan-Rotuman poet David Eggleton will use a prestigious scholarship to write about Pacific people and his own family history.
  • Eggleton has been awarded the 2017 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s residency.
  • He will take up the residency in Hawai’i.

For more information 

Tongan-Rotuman awarded Fulbright residency

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