Nina Mingya Powles Explores an Otherness
New Zealand writer Nina Mingya Powles’ essay collection Small Bodies of Water “just might change the way you see the world” the Star Tribune’s Cory Oldweiler suggests.
“Powles was born in Wellington, and is mixed-raced, ‘white and Malaysian Chinese’. This heritage, this ‘otherness’ as she occasionally names it, is central to her identity and to her writing. One fundamental experience, touched on throughout the book but explored more profoundly in the searching standout essays ‘Crushed Little Stars’ and ‘Falling City’, is her return in 2016 to Shanghai, a city where she spent several years of her childhood, to study Mandarin as a young adult,” Oldweiler writes.
London-based Powles “is also an award-winning poet, and she examines language with the same precision and contemplation that she applies to her own life, parsing Mandarin words and phrases into their constituent Chinese characters to open new avenues of understanding or possibility.”
Powles was the winner of the inaugural 2019 Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing.
Original article by Cory Oldweiler, Star Tribune, February 11, 2022.
Photo by David Marshall.