Auckland professor named NZ Poet Laureate

An Auckland academic has been named New Zealand's Poet Laureate.

Michele Leggott, a professor at Auckland University, is to receive the $50,000 award, administered by the National Library of New Zealand.

The biennial, government-funded award was established to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry.

Auckland University Press director Sam Elworthy, Ms Leggott's publisher, congratulated the poet on her success.

"Michele Leggott is not only a great poet, widely recognised in New Zealand and around the world, she is also an innovative promoter of poetry."

Ms Leggott is the founding director of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre. She has published five books of poetry and has edited five anthologies of poetry and criticism. Her first collection, Like This?, won the PEN Best First Book of Poetry in 1989 and Dia won the 1995 NZ Book Award for Poetry.

The Minister responsible for the National Library, Judith Tizard, announced the appointment at a function at Parliament last night.

"Michele has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry and I'm thrilled to announce her role as the 2007/2008 New Zealand Poet Laureate."

- NZPA

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