IPU Lecturer's Poetry Skills Rewarded

Palmerston North poet Johanna Aitchison will be immersing herself in words when she takes up residency at the prestigious writers programme at Iowa University for two months.

Made possible by funding of $20,000 from Creative New Zealand, Aitchison will be taking up her spot among writers from more than 30 countries and will also be going on guided travel to other parts of the United States and taking part in the Iowa Writer's festival.

She said she was looking forward to learning about writers from all over the world.

"There's a wide variety of genres, so novelists, playwrights, poets and storytellers. The most valuable thing about it will be absorbing all these influences and also being exposed to different cultures and the American culture. There will be a lot of things that will influence my writing and it will be great to make some contacts."

While there, Aitchison will present papers, do readings and participate in various courses, and she will also have time to pursue her own writing.

Aitchison works as a lecturer in the degree programme at Palmerston North's International Pacific College, teaching creative writing and academic English. Her second book of poems, A Long Girl Ago, was a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Aitchison has a new collection of poems, Miss Dust, to be released on July 17 at The Palmerston North City Library.

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