Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton has published two books of poetry, an annotated selection of lost poems by Kendrick Smithyman, an academic biography of the historian and socialist EP Thompson, and writes the blog Reading the Maps. He lived in Tonga in 2013, where he learned to love kava and taught creative writing and sociology at the ‘Atenisi Institute. In 2015 he won the inaugural Auckland Mayoral Literary Award for his ongoing study of the city’s Great South Road; the resulting book Ghost South Road will be published by Atuanui Press in October. His latest project is a book about sorcery and sorcery-related violence in Melanesia. Scott was born in Auckland in 1974.

In praise of kava

While politicians debates the pros and cons of decriminalising cannabis, another even safer soft drug is already freely available in New Zealand. Scott Hamilton explores the history and importance of kava in the Pacific Islands, and why it could be the drug of New Zealand's future.

‘They have six fingers on their hands’: Part 1 of the strange story of Tonga’s lost island of ‘Ata

All week this week the Spinoff Review of Books looks at Scott Hamilton's brilliant, slim book, The Stolen Island, his investigation into the people-snatching raid on the Tongan island of 'Ata. In this excerpt, he writes about visiting 'Eua, the island where the survivors of the 1863 raid were re-settled; their descendants live in the village of Kolomaile.