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home > community > viewpoint > reading, writing, robinson

Reading, Writing, Robinson
This book is a gift to and a celebration of Roger Robinson. It is made up of memoirs, tributes, poems, running essays and literary essays.

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Posted Friday, 11 March, 2011

Roger Robinson, Emeritus Professor of English, has been honoured by his wide circle of close friends and admirers from the worlds of elite distance running, sports journalism, creative writing, academia and many others with the publication of Reading, Writing, Robinson by Victoria University Press.

Edited by colleagues in the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies, the volume has over fifty contributors, ranging from Lorraine Moller and Roger’s own son Jim among the runners, Tim Chamberlain and Lynn McConnell among the journalists, Fiona Kidman and Joy Cowley among the creative writers, Patrick Evans and Lawrence Jones among the academics, and Mike Hill, Phillip Mann, and Jeremy Commons among former colleagues at Victoria University Wellington.

Sadness tinged the celebration as news emerged in the hours preceding the launch that Brian Taylor, one of Roger’s closest friends and running companions, and a contributor to the book who was expected to attend, was among those beneath the rubble of the CTV building in Christchurch. Roger acknowledged the deep loss, but reminded everyone present, “If anyone can survive, a tough runner like Taylor will; and had he been here, he would have been the first to start partying”.

Anne Else read the poem with which that her late husband, Harvey McQueen, saluted Roger in the book, including lines that acknowledge Roger’s service to both running and university:

I recall gyroscopic feet pounding
track & pavement, mile stretching to
marathon, athlete’s gossip, speaker’s
rostrum, announcer’s microphone
* * *
Unsung, the diplomatic bureaucrat
weaving easily through university,
educational & public service politics

Another contributor and colleague, Stephanie Pietkiewicz, was quoted at the launch for her reminder of Roger as a teacher and writer as well as a runner: “He opened the lecture. . . . His objective not merely to get to the destination, but to show us meaning’s journey through language. This was no mere intellectual examination; it was textual cross-country. . . . His writing pulls you into its pace, all slow acceleration or sudden surge, unput-downable, unstoppable till the very last full stop.”

Made up of memoirs, tributes, poems, running essays and literary essays this book will please anyone who shares Roger’s love of running, writing and fascinating people.

ISBN: 978-0-86473-6390, paperback, $40, Victoria University Press.

Readers can purchase the book on line at:



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