In her new verse novel, Birdy, Sharon Kernot skilfully navigates the challenges of writing about consent, loss, and hope during the aftermath of atomic tests.

What do you love about writing verse novels?

I love the brevity and compression of working with verse. You can say so much in so few words. I love the fact that verse novels allow for experimentation and there’s a multitude of poetic elements you can use if you choose to. I also love the fragmentation, the white space, the gaps between the poems and that sense of leaping from one scene to another. I just find writing in verse such an interesting and challenging form to work in. The other thing I like is that poetry can convey a lot of emotion in a very short space and can be used to explore difficult and confronting subjects and experiences in a way that is not overly confronting or overwhelming.

What inspired you to write Birdy?