Janis Freegard

Janis Freegard is a New Zealand writer of fiction and poetry. She was born in South Shields, England, and spent part of her childhood in South Africa and Australia before her family settled in New Zealand when she was 12. Her latest publication is a poetry collection, 'Reading the Signs' (The Cuba Press, 2020). She is also the author of a novel ‘The Year of Falling’ (Makaro Press) and poetry collections ‘The Glass Rooster’ (Auckland University Press, 2015), 'The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider' (Anomalous Press (US), 2013) and 'Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus' (Auckland University Press, 2011). She is also co-author of AUP New Poets 3 (2008).  Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books), the New Zealand Listener, 100 Short Short Stories New Zealand 4 and Essential Poems of New Zealand (see the Bibliography section of the blog for a full list of publications).  She is a past winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award and several of her short stories have been broadcast on radio. Janis has degrees in science and public management. She lives in Wellington with an historian and a cat and works in the public service.


  • Adult Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Short Stories


  • Competition Judging
  • Poetry Readings
  • Short Story Writing






The Year of Falling

'The Year of Falling' is a contemporary novel set in New Zealand, Iceland and the UK. It follows the interlinked stories of three women: 29 year-old graphic designer Selina, her older sister Smith (a jeweller living in a house truck in Golden Bay) and Selina's elderly landlady, Quilla. When mysterious porcelain dolls start turning up on Selina’s doorstep, she knows it’s a bad sign. Shortly afterwards she embarks on an ill-judged affair with a celebrity TV chef and her life starts to unravel. Smith, in the meantime, is caring for a small boy called Ragnar, and has decided to track down her own missing mother. Quilla, a former magician's assistant, is haunted a past mis-deed that she wants to put right. It is published by Makaro Press. http://www.makaropress.co.nz/makaro-books/the-year-of-falling-by-janis-freegard/

The Glass Rooster

The Glass Rooster is a poetry collection published by Auckland University Press. Each of the eight sections (or ‘echo-systems’) in the book – The Damp Places, Forest, Cityscape, The Alpine Zone, Space, Home & Garden, Underground and In the Desert – is introduced by a triolet, a French poetic form with repeated lines. Other poems are arranged in pairs, each echoing something about the other, whether desert plants, the presence of balloons or the dangers of working in a mine. A glass rooster – observer of stars and lover of hens – wanders through each section of the book. There are poems about art, about places, about unusual expeditions, and about love.

The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider

The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider is an extended prose poem sequence. Many of Alice's adventures were collected into a chapbook by US-based Anomaloous Press; others have appeared in Turbine, JAAM, AUP New Poets 3 and the online Pukeahu anthology.. “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety” – these words weren’t first written for Alice Spider, but they should have been. She is a heroine for our times – a multitasker of the human spirit and a joy in all her manifestations. Cherish her, and take her to your hearths.” —Mary Cresswell, author of Trace Fossils

Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus

'Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus' is a poetry collection published by Auckland University Press. The poems are arranged according to Carl Linnaeus' original taxonomic groupings for animals and each section is introduced by a prose poem about Linnaeus himself.

AUP New Poets 3

Poetry, with Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson

Reading the Signs

'Reading the Signs' is a prose poem sequence dealing with themes of loss and recovery, climate change and gender fluidity. The publication includes art works by Neil Johnstone.