Lauris Edmond (1924-2000) was one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed poets. Throughout her early life, she wrote poetry, but it was not until she was 51 that her first poetry collection In Middle Air (Pegasus Press, 1975) was published. She went on to write a novel, short stories, and stage dramas, as well as many more volumes of poetry. Lauris gained international recognition when Selected Poems (1984) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize.
The Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry was established in the poet’s honour in 2002. It is a biennial prize of $4,000 that recognises outstanding contribution to poetry in New Zealand. The New Zealand Poetry Society has financially supported this award since its inception, and the Todd Trust is also a financial sponsor. The Society has also jointly administered it along with the Canterbury Poet’s Collective (until 2009) and the Friends of the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award, chaired by Frances Edmond, the daughter of the poet.
The distinguished group of friends are Laurice Gilbert (for the NZPS), Dame Fiona Kidman (Patron of the NZPS), Professor (Emeritus) Vincent O’Sullivan (Patron of the NZPS), Professor Harry Ricketts, Fergus Barrowman for VUP, and Frances Edmond (for the Lauris Edmond Literary Estate). The Victoria University Press (VUP) became a sponsor of the award in 2016 and joined the Friends.
At the time of her passing, Lauris Edmond was the patron of the New Zealand Poetry Society, and we are proud to have been involved with this prestigious award since 2002.