Author Spotlight Q&A: Stacey Teague

Stacey Teague (Ngāti Maniapoto/Ngāpuhi) is a poet, publisher, editor and teacher. She is currently a publisher and editor at Tender Press. Her new pukapuka, Plastic is out now with Te Herenga Waka University Press.


Congratulations e hoa on the launch of your collection Plastic. Sometimes writers talk about their book as if it is something they’ve birthed – a struggle as well as a gift. If you were to think of your book this way, who are its whanaunga? Who helped you bring this book into the world?

My short answer is: My friends, my whānau, my tūpuna.


What is Plastic about and who needs to be reading it?

Plastic was a way for me to write about my whakapapa, my queerness, and to investigate the feelings I had around being a Māori person who did not grow up in their culture. I’m happy for anyone to read it! But I hope it will resonate with the people it needs to resonate with.


What was it like to hold your book in your hands for the first time? Did this differ in any way to the way you felt with your other publications?

It was special. My publisher Ashleigh Young had couriered it to me and tied a red ribbon around it, which was very sweet. When you hold your book in your hands for the first time it’s a physical manifestation of all of the years of mahi you have put into it, and it was a gratifying experience.


Which book by a Māori author have you read lately that you loved and what did you love about it?

I really loved Isla Huia’s book, ‘Talia’, from Dead Bird Books. It’s the kind of poetry book that made something inside me just click. It is shortlisted for an Ockham book award this year which is very well-deserved!


What advice do you have for emerging Māori writers?

Be your authentic self. Experiment! Find your people.


Photo credit: Ebony Lamb

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