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Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem by Selina Tusitala Marsh

Updated: Dec 14, 2020


As reviewed on The Cafe, TV3!



Selina Tusitala Marsh has to be one of the most dynamic authors I’ve had the pleasure to meet in person. She was the first Pacific Islander to graduate with a PhD in English from The University of Auckland and is now a lecturer in the English Department, specialising in Pasifika literature. She became New Zealand’s Poet Laureate in 2017. And she’s just released her latest book, Mophead Tu which is a follow up to her award-winning graphic novel, Mophead.


Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem is also a graphic novel, and this time she tells the real-life story of being invited to perform for the Queen at Westminster Abbey. She’s naturally thrilled, but when a colleague calls her a ‘sellout’ Selina starts doubting herself. She asks herself if she can stand with her people who struggled against the Queen and still serve the Queen? She also goes into the creative process of writing a poem for the event, sharing there was lots for her to think about.


Mophead Tu is a thought-provoking book, but it’s created with a great deal of humour and sensitivity, and it’s beautifully done, with Selina doing all the illustrations in the books as well as the text. It examines our colonial history, and ends up being a story about one poet bridging the divide. It is an extraordinary story from an extraordinary life, and it’s truly inspirational!


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Auckland University Press