Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod

Elizabeth (Libby) Kirkby-McLeod is a New Zealand author whose poetry and writing have appeared in a range of New Zealand journals, online publications, and in the public art installation, In Our Words in downtown Auckland. 

Her first poetry collection Family Instructions Upon Release was published in November 2019 with The Cuba Press. It’s first print-run quickly sold out and the collection has been praised by reviewers in The New Zealand Herald and Radio New Zealand National.

She has a children’s book World Folk Tales, published in 2021 with Gilt Edge Publishing. She also edited the short story collection, Lit: stories from home, published by OneTree House in 2021, and is the author of the junior fiction series, Eugene’s Island.

Elizabeth is an active member of the NZSA and produces the NZSA Oral History Podcast series.

Elizabeth has a First Class Master of Creative Writing from AUT, where she was a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Study.

Media links


  • Children's Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Review Writing


  • Editing
  • Poetry Readings
  • Public Speaking
  • Readings
  • Readings (adults)
  • Reviews






Family Instructions Upon Release

Elizabeth’s father took his own life in 2012. Unable to find words of her own to write about what had happened, she has taken them from Twelve Angry Men and the Government’s ‘Fact Sheet 4 – Suicide and Self-Harm’. From this limited dictionary come poems that are by turns mournful, angry and searching. The cumulative effect is surprising in its narrative drive and cathartic power.



Publisher: The Cuba Press
Published: 2019
Dimensions: 148 x 210mm
Number of pages: 70
Binding: soft cover


Available from all New Zealand independent book stores and Paper Plus stores and online at The Cuba Press. Avaliable worldwide as an ebook, find it at your favourite online store here.

World Folk Tales

Introduce children to myths, legends and fables from across the globe in this movingly illustrated collection. The varied stories use a range of storytelling techniques and perspectives with full-colour, two-page illustrated spreads.

Use this captivating resource as a springboard to help children learn more about people and cultures from around the world.

Stories are from Greece, Brazil, USA, Indonesia, Australia, India, Turkey, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, China, Chile, Mongolia and Nigeria.


Publisher: Giltedge Publishing
Published: 2021
Number of pages: 38 pages
Binding: Hardcover

More Favourable Waters: Aotearoa poets respond to Dante’s Purgatory

Elizabeth was a contributor to More Favourable Waters: Aotearoa poets respond to Dante’s Purgatory, published by The Cuba Press.

More Favourable Waters is an anthology of contemporary poets from Aotearoa New Zealand commemorating one of the world’s great poets, Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), 700 years after his death. Each of the 33 poets has written a poem of 33 lines inspired by and including a short passage from one of the 33 cantos of Dante’s Purgatory, the second part of his epic The Divine Comedy.



Available from all New Zealand independent book stores and Paper Plus stores and online at The Cuba Press.

Lit: stories from home

Sixteen short stories from home-grown literary heroes, established contemporary authors, and award-winning emerging writers are brought together in this new collection. Exploring identity, activism awareness, coming-of-age, society, and family from the Aotearoa New Zealand perspective.


Available from all New Zealand independent book stores and Paper Plus stores and online at OneTree House. Also available as an ebook on a wide range of retailers.


Eugene's Island chapter book series

When Eugene’s father gets a job on a remote and uninhabited New Zealand bird sanctuary, Eugene isn’t sure the wild and windy island is going to be the wonderful adventure his parents think it will be. Especially when they tell Eugene they have to move on his birthday.

Written by Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod and illustrated by Anna McKessar, Eugene’s Island is an early children's chapter book fiction series where readers can experience with Eugene the problems, pitfalls and potential that lie in island life.

In Book 1, The Birthday Solution, (out in September 2021) Eugene arrives on the island on his birthday but nothing is working out like he would plan. Can he find a way to make this birthday special?

Eugene’s Island are illustrated chapter books, appealing to independent readers 5 - 7 years old as they begin to read chapter books, and still suitable for reading aloud to younger children or for classroom use. Similar in size and market to series by Sally Rippin, Yvette Poshoglian and Susannah McFarlane, Eugene’s Island is unique in offering a New Zealand setting and a gentle introduction to environmental concerns, all within simple, enjoyable tales.
A large portion of the language used in the writing is from the ‘basic sight word’ lists used in many New Zealand primary schools.

Coming Soon!

Book 2, The Christmas Visitors (ISBN: 978-0-473-58254-8)

Coming in 2022

The Pet Problem
The Art Project


From the publisher at eugenes-island.com