Poet's essay tops literary contest

Last updated 08:47 15/10/2012

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Taranaki writer Elizabeth Smither has won a prestigious national essay competition.

Ms Smither's 6000-word essay Reading a Bad Book Is Like Getting Food Poisoning earned first prize in the competition run by Otago University's literary magazine Landfall.

Well known for her poetry, Ms Smither said it was lovely to have won the top spot. "I don't consider myself an essayist."

The idea for the essay was sparked by a television segment on popular erotic fiction (Fifty Shades of Grey) in which Taranaki men stood drinking beer under a clothesline.

Judge David Eggleton said Ms Smither's essay "read like a bit of personal literary journal, written to amuse its author as much as anyone.

"It's a memorable chunk of prose, with the sparkle of rock crystal, arriving at astute and witty observations on bestsellers and book-clubs."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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