The chasms that grow in adult relationships, both romantic and otherwise, are dominant themes in the pages of Airini Beautrais’ short story collection Bug Week, which won New Zealand’s most prestigious literary award in 2020, the Jann Medlicott Acorn prize for fiction. Prior to becoming an acclaimed writer of short stories, Airini was known as a poet of startling observation, able to draw together many voices, histories and perspectives in collections such as Flow, Secret Heart, and Dear Neil Roberts.
Airini talks with Melody Thomas about where her inspiration comes from, why Wellington provides such a strong scenic backdrop in her stories, what drives her to write among her other lives as a science teacher, mother and performer, and what she is working on next.
Te wehenga nui ka tupu ki waenga I tētehi piribga tangata – koinei tētehi o ngā tāhuhu kaupapa o tēnei kohinga tuhinga poto nei a Airini Beautrais. E kīa nei tēnei whakaaturanga, ko ‘Te Ai, Te Mate, Me Pōneke.
Airini Beautrais | Aotearoa / New Zealand
Airini Beautrais was born in Auckland in 1982. Her work has appeared in a range of journals and anthologies in Aotearoa and elsewhere. She is the author of Bug Week which won the Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
She has published four collections of poetry, most recently Flow: Whanganui River Poems (VUP, 2017). Her first collection, Secret Heart (VUP, 2006), won the Jessie Mackay Award for First Book of Poetry at the 2007 NZ Book Awards. In 2016 she won the Landfall Essay Prize. She has also been a judge for a number of awards, including the 2018 Ockham NZ Book Awards. She lives in Whanganui with her two sons and two cats.
Melody Thomas | Aotearoa / New Zealand
Melody Thomas is a writer and podcast-maker based in Wellington. She is the creator and host of award-winning sex and sexuality podcast BANG!, and is currently working on a book based on the series. Melody is co-director of Popsock Media, a narrative podcasting company focusing on beautiful and impactful storytelling, which was launched in 2020 alongside Kirsten Johnstone.