Brian Turner on a life writing about, fighting for, and enjoying Aotearoa New Zealand

“When I hear ‘progress and development’, I ask people to be specific about what it is that they’re describing. That for me is destruction, depletion, degradation.”

The penultimate episode for Season 4 of the NZSA Oral History podcast presents Brian Turner from his 2020 oral history interview with Naomi Arnold.

As a poet, essayist, biographer and editor, Brian has become one of New Zealand’s most significant writers on landscape, the environment and sport. He has been New Zealand Poet Laureate, a winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry and been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

In this episode, Brian and Naomi have a wide-ranging discussion about Brian’s writing, environmental activism, sports connections and work in publishing. Brian mentions his struggling with “brain-fade” and in an interview with John Campbell at the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2021 he disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This is a passionate interview and his love for the land and the written word is still on full display.

Brian’s episode is accompanied by a beautiful photo portrait of the writer taken by Naomi Arnold and is hosted by New Zealand broadcaster, NZSA member and author Karyn Hay.

This is the fourth season of the NZSA Oral History Podcasts, using interviews with New Zealand writers that NZSA began recording in the 1990’s.

You can listen to the first episode featuring Barbara and all past episodes from our writers, on our website, Google, Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen (search ‘NZ Society of Authors’).

NZSA would like to thank The Southern Trust for funding this season, and also UNESCO and the Otago Community Trust for the funding to record new oral histories with authors based in Otago.

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