Welcome to Turbine 2009


The blood of animals is splashed all over the pages of this year’s Turbine. Hannah Jolly and Samiha Radcliffe slice the necks, snap the legs and crush the bodies of various small birds, Carol Cromie decapitates a sheep and Emma Kate Martin throws a kitten from a train. But it isn’t all bad news for fictional creatures. Adam Krause’s day is saved by Argentine ants and Susannah Goodman’s cat has kittens, none of which die.

Other writers were more concerned with the suburban animal, like the characters in Kay Corns’ vividly evoked South Auckland and Breton Duke’s laconic portrayal of three mates and a night out in Johnsonville.

Many of the contributors visited other continents and cultures; Greek connections are explored in Helen Heath’s work, an escape from Tokyo in Elizabeth Russell’s excerpt and a divisive trip to Poland in Lynn Jenner’s poem. Hinemoana Baker and Fiona Mitford both land themselves on the moon, via a canoe and a new baby respectively.

Eighteen members of the 2009 IIML MA (Page) workshops are represented here, including Adam Foundation Prize winner for best folio Ashleigh Young. Extracts from their reading journals are included as well. These journals are often funny, deeply personal glimpses into the development, discovery and frustrations involved in the student’s reading and writing lives. 

Amongst these bright, new voices lies the work of established writers. Kirsty Gunn, fresh from her residency at Randell Cottage, tips time on its end in her haunting short story about lives lived around a coastal caravan. UK poet Christopher Reid, who taught a masterclass at the Institute this year, contributes three lyrically inventive poems. And the Turbine interview gets inside the working process of 2009 Victoria University Writer in Residence Paula Boock.

Several recent award winners appear, including the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry recipient, Sam Sampson, the Bravado Special Prize for an Unpublished Poet winner, Carol Cromie and the 2009 Landfall Essay Competition winner, Ashleigh Young. 

As Turbine becomes ever more popular and entrenched in the New Zealand literary scene, the demands grow on the people who make Turbine possible. A huge thank you to Jason Darwin at the NZ Electronic Text Centre who generously made time for Turbine’s tight deadlines. The issue would not have been possible without the support of Katie Hardwick-Smith and Clare Moleta at the IIML. And Chris Price always found time in her busy schedule to answer questions and share her invaluable editing experience. But most importantly thank you to all the contributors, there were many hard decisions to be made and we hope all those who weren’t published this year will continue to send their work to Turbine

As the light dims on another decade, it is cheering to see so much diversity and bright promise in New Zealand’s literary future. We hope you take the time to absorb as much of it as possible over the summer.

Claire Brunette and Bill Nelson


Bill Nelson completed an MA at the IIML in 2009.

Claire Brunette completed an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2009.