Keynote speakers

Robert Sullivan is a New Zealand poet, anthologist and critic, who will talk about his verse biography (and libretto) Captain Cook in the Underworld (Auckland University Press). He is the head of the School of Creative Writing at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland. Read more about Robert Sullivan on the New Zealand Book Council website.

Jessica Wilkinson is the author of the biographical poetry collections marionette: a biography of miss marion davies and Suite for Percy Grainger (forthcoming in 2014), both published by Vagabond. She is a senior lecturer at RMIT University, and is the editor ofRabbit, a journal of non-fiction poetry.

Toby Davidson, who teaches at Macquarie University, is the author of critically acclaimed poetry collection Beast Language (Five Islands Press). He is the editor of the Collected Poems of Francis Webb (1925–73), whom he describes as “one of Australia’s most respected and biography-rich poets” with verse biographies ranging from Australian explorers, European composers, saints and religious figures such as Jesus and St Francis and historical figures.

Conference organisers

Anna Jackson, associate professor at Victoria University of Wellington, will launch her verse biography I, Clodia (Auckland University Press) as part of the conference. This, her sixth collection, is based on the life of Clodia Metelli, the ‘Lesbia’ who was the subject of the most passionate poetry written by Catullus in late Republic Rome. Read more about Anna Jackson on the New Zealand Book Council website…

Helen Rickerby has published four books of poetry, most recently Cinema (2014), which includes biographical poems about film-makers and her friends. Her 2008 collection, My Iron Spine, features biographical poems about women, many of whom have been neglected by history. She is the managing editor of Seraph Press, a boutique poetry publisher, and is co-managing editor of JAAM literary magazine.

Angelina Sbroma is a doctoral student in English literature at Victoria University of Wellington. Her thesis focuses on children’s fantasy literature.

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