NZ Pacific writer awarded Iowa writing residency
A New Zealand-based Pacific poet, writer and performer has been accepted into one of the the longest-running international writing programmes in the world.
A New Zealand-based Pacific poet, writer and performer has been accepted into one of the longest-running international writing programmes in the world.
Daren Kamali is the first Pacific writer that Creative New Zealand has awarded a grant to join the University of Iowa's writing workshop.
Mr Kamali, who is of Fijian, Wallis and Futuna and Scottish heritage, spoke to Amelia Langford about how he plans to use the residency and finishes with one of his performance pieces.
DAREN KAMALI: It will involve presentation, learning, working with other networks, editors, publishers, translators and writers and also the main purpose is to complete my third book which is called Ink Fish Writes Again, which is a trilogy to my squid series.
AMELIA LANGFORD: Tell me what is this trilogy about?
DK: The trilogy is mainly about the squid. So the first one was The Underwater World - Tales, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World. My second one I am launching in Wellington at Fullbright on the 25th, that one is called Squid Out of Water: The Evolution, so he becomes a man in that one and then in the third one he starts to fly.
AL: What can this residency offer you in terms of your writing?
DK: This will actually branch me out more internationally and networking with other countries and writers from other countries and mainly I am looking at especially working with a translator whether it is Spanish, French or [an] Asian [language] to get my books out to the masses - to a more international market.
AL: You were born in Fiji and you are also of Wallis and Futuna and Scottish heritage. That is quite an interesting mix?
DK: Yes, I was born and raised in Fiji for 17 years. I came here, I went to Wellington's Newlands College for 7th form and then I moved up to Auckland. My ancestors are from Wallis and Futuna and that is how we came to stay in Fiji four generations ago. My great-grand parents eloped from the islands. Yeah, most of my stuff is Pacific poetry literature. It is about the islands, and the city, the old and the new, contemporary and traditional styles that I mix it up and try to present it in a different way and a unique way, which is like modern Pacific poetry compared to our old oratory tradition.
AL: And is there any chance you could give us an example of your work?
DK: This is one of my performance pieces. It's called Journeys.
"Fresh Islander styles, from the isles of smiles, shining for miles. Scoping the Seven Seas destined to fulfill prophecies. Who knows how the wind blows. A journey of an island man. Now it is wondrous, wondrous, Ni Sa Bula coming from the north of Samabula, over seas Suva. Roaming like fruits, coming through the shoots, islanders here not forgetting their roots. Fresh Islander styles from the isles of smiles, shining for miles."
New Zealand-based Pacific poet, writer and performer Daren Kamali.
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