Synopses & Reviews
It is November 18, 1982, and Neil Ian Roberts is 22 years old. He walks up to the Police Computer Centre in Whanganui, at 12:35am. Shortly after, there was an explosion. Neil committed suicide attempting to destroy that computer center, but who was Neil Roberts? This book is the search for the story of a quiet young man, an anarchist, a figure who moves differently, or vanishes altogether, in different versions of history. As much a work of documentary as poetry, this extraordinary collection considers the uncomfortable event of Neil Roberts’s death, its significance in the context of 1980s New Zealand, and how this action has reverberated through others’ lives, including the poet’s own.
About the Author
Airini Beautrais was born in 1982 and grew up in Auckland and Whanganui. She studied ecological science and creative writing at Victoria University, and worked for several years as a science teacher. Dear Neil Roberts is her third book of poetry. Her first book Secret Heart was published by VUP in 2006, followed by Western Line (2011). Secret Heart was named as the Best First Book of Poetry in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007. Airini lives in Whanganui with her partner and two children.