Running Writing Robinson
On February 24, 2011, Roger Robinson was surprised and honored when a conspiracy of his colleagues and friends (even including his wife and sons) presented him with a tribute in the form of a book, Running Writing Robinson, published by Victoria University Press. In the academic world a "festschrift" ("celebratory writing") is an uncommon kind of book that specially celebrates a distinguished scholar, on retirement or a significant birthday. Usually it is a compilation of articles by his colleagues, friends, and past students, usually all relating in some way to his or her interests and influence. This one is less usual. It combines that kind of literary-scholarly work with contributions from some major literary writers (especially but not only New Zealanders), some of the world's leading running journalists, and from Roger's closest running friends, Olympians and not. It is, in other words, a book as eccentric and varied as its recipient. But it also contains a lot of wonderful writing, several outstanding memoir pieces, and significant new work on subjects like running in literature (and in opera, would you believe), the history of sports journalism, and several New Zealand writers.
The launch in Wellington, attended by 100 or so very diverse people, was charged with emotion beyond all expectation. It came unhappily two days after the tragic Christchurch earthquake, in which Brian Taylor, one of Roger's oldest running friends and a contributor to the book, was killed, though that was not yet known for certain. The launch turned into a tribute to Brian as well as Roger, and a shared affirmation of the value of all such friendships.
See Running Writing Robinson for more.