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Adam Aitken Adam Aitken i(A6079 works by) (a.k.a. Adam Alexander Patrick Aitken)
Born: Established: 1960 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1969
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Adam Aitken's childhood was spent in Thailand and Malaysia as the son of a Thai mother and an Anglo-Australian father. After graduating from Sydney University in 1982, he co-edited the garage literary journal P76, then returned to Thailand with the intention of immersing himself in the culture and language of his relatives. This experience resulted in the collection of poetry Letter To Marco Polo (1985). He has also reviewed literary works and frequently performed his work at festivals in Australia and overseas. He joined the Poet's Union in 1985 and also served as associate poetry editor for Heat. His work was read on Radio 2RSR in 1984 and he read at the Adelaide Writers Festival in 1982 and at 'Writers in the Park', Harold Park Hotel, Sydney, in 1986.

Aitken was the recipient of a Varuna Writers Residency in 1995 and his second poetry collection, In One House, was chosen three times as Best Book of 1996 in the review pages of The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. He was also a recipient of an Asialink writers residency for Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia (1998). For five weeks in 1999 Aitken was Visiting Scholar and Creative Writing Tutor in poetry and poetics in the Department of English and European Languages, University of Tasmania. Aitken's poetry and short fiction have been published widely in anthologies and literary journals.

Most Referenced Works


  • Author writes in these languages: ENGLISH

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Archipelago Newtown : Vagabond Press , 2017 11681408 2017 selected work poetry

'His most personal poetry to date, Adam Aitken's Archipelago is entirely preoccupied with the experience of living and marrying in France. Much of it written while resident at the Keesing Studio in Paris, and then in the south during a seriously cold spring, many of the poems deal with art, Romantic and Modernist writing and writers, and concepts of nostalgia, spirituality, revolution and resistance. One key question is what France (and Europe generally) mean to an Australian writer, which leads the poet to consider the 'French inspired' work of other Australian writers. At a simpler level, the collection attempts to weigh cosmopolitan culture against that of its fictive alternative: semi-rural France, where the poet asks how we might reconcile isolation with social engagement, conservative values with more outward looking perspectives? Adopting the lens of those who live there, Aitken reflects on the region's Gallo-Roman history, its myths, its communal virtues and constraints, its weather, and on the threats to its ecology.' (Publication summary)

2018 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Poetry
2018 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
y separately published work icon One Hundred Letters Home 100 Letters Home Sydney : Vagabond Press , 2016 9606183 2016 single work biography

When Adam Aitkens parents first met his father, a white Australian, had been posted to Bangkok by the advertising company her worked for. Aitken's mother was a university graduate from southern Thailand. In his quest to understand the people they were - from before he was born through to their eventual separation - Aitkens explores letters and photographs dating back more than 50 years. One Hundred Letters Home is also an account of his attempt to search for his Thai identity during a visit to the country in his early-twenties.

"Adam Aitken’s evocative memoir probes the reasons his father married his mother, an ‘Asian woman’, by researching family history, experimenting with Plots A, B, and C, and intertextual references to Christopher Koch’s 1995 novel Highways to a War, Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, and Marcel Proust’s ‘Swann’s Way’ translated into Thai by his uncle. He tests the construction of his hybridity, the notion of his Asian ‘face’ and where it might be welcome, and where and with whom a trans-Asian citizen belongs' (Gay Lynch, Transnational Literature (ctd. Vagabond Press).

2017 longlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
y separately published work icon Eighth Habitation Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2009 Z1571395 2009 selected work poetry Eighth Habitation takes its name from the Buddhist notion of purgatory, a mystic realm where the meaning of human lives are judged. The poems inhabit a range of landscapes and perspectives, in Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and China, with an empathy and understanding that suggests a consciousness imbued with an Asian sensibility. Blending the cosmopolitan, the traditional and the unexpected, in their accumulation of detail they register the dignity and resilience of a world recovering from personal tragedy and the trauma of history. -- Publisher's blurb
2010 shortlisted Festival Awards for Literature (SA) John Bray Award for Poetry
Last amended 12 Feb 2015 17:28:16
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