Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle

Meet our March writer: Zarah Butcher McGunnigle

When: Tues 29 March, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Where: Online – click the Zoom link below.
Join author Zarah Butcher McGunnigle in discussion about her work as an emerging writer experimenting with form. Zarah will read an excerpt from one of her works followed by Q&A and an opportunity for participants to discuss thoughts from shared reading.

Author Bio 

Zarah is a writer from Auckland. She is the author of Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life (Giramondo Publishing, 2021) and Autobiography of a Marguerite (Hue & Cry Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in publications such as Cordite, Fanzine, and Best NZ Poems. Zarah was the recipient of an Emerging Writers Residency at the Michael King Writer’s Centre in 2021 where she worked on a series of prose poems.

‘Inside my pulse I am making lanterns.’ (Page 83)

In this profound, book-length poem, Zarah Butcher- McGunnigle undoes the self right back to the nucleus and explores an extraordinary event in her life: an anonymous illness that swamps her and the lives of her ill-at-ease family. A mother who is lean with her cooking, a philandering father, and a narrator with ever swelling wrists and limbs. Butcher-McGunnigle’s poetry evokes Anne Carson and Thalia Field. It is original, startling writing.

Useful Links

8 Responses

  1. The readers in my group are really enjoying engaging with your work Zarah- so thanks again for sharing it with us!
    Last night we had to Google “Sympathy pathway (asymptotic),” and we had a great time talking about it!
    What a fabulous way to describe it!
    I have a couple of people in my family with chronic illness including one of my kids- as do others in the group- and I felt like that line beautifully shows how you can never really connect with their experience-even if you live together and you sympathise- the lines don’t actually intersect..

  2. Tonight’s Zoom session with the crew was awesome. It was an honor to be on this platform as a beginner Read to Lead future facilitator. Plus, it was awesome seeing Zarah on Zoom and as a brother born in breed in Otara, it was like meeting a Poetic Superstar. Plus, I got to ask her a question.. MEAN AZ (lol).

    Thanks Zarah for sharing your personal journey regarding your wellbeing and the connections with your poems. Honest tah who, deep as thinking with your poems. All the best with your many more poems from you.

    Meitaki Maata.

  3. That was a great evening. Zarah was so open and honest about her inspiration, her personal journey and the bigger story behind her poetry. I loved the reading – with the two voices. Thanks.

  4. I loved this session. It felt like a Clubhouse event, with engaging discussions between the author and the audience. I was thrilled to listen in and afterward I purchased Zarah’s ‘Nostalgia’ from the Womens Bookshop. I’ll definitely attend all future events from The Reading Revolution x Aotearoa Literary Hub.

  5. Thank you so much to our first featured writer Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle who generously shared her beautiful and powerful work Autobiography of a Marguerite with us.
    The Zoom event was amazing and we got a lot of lovely feedback!
    What an awesome way to kick off this new project!

  6. I can’t wait to get hold of Zarah’s books. It was wonderful to be introduced to this author. The readings are resonating in my mind. I feel that it’s so important that people who are generally healthy need to understand more and empathise more about the experience of illness. I wonder how a Shared Reading group would react, if most of the members are chronically unwell. Would they find that it helps to talk about illness or would they feel that it’s too much? Or would this just depend on the individual personalities and moods of the group? Thanks for this wonderful thought provoking session!

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