Karin Speedy

As a historian, researcher, writer, literary scholar, linguist and translator, my work focuses on the tensions at the intersections (both geographical and textual) of contact between Indigenous and settler populations in the colonial and postcolonial Francophone and Anglophone worlds. I am especially interested in creolisation and anti-colonial resistance and my writing reflects critically on trans-imperial networks, horizontal mobilities, slavery and forced labour, the colonial archive, critical race and whiteness, and African and Indian Ocean diasporas in the Pacific. For a full list of my academic publications see here. In addition to my academic writing, I am a published writer of creative histories. I have published a number of poems and a new memoir/literary non fiction novel, Foundations (coming out on 17 June 2022). I am currently working on new books from research from my Marsden Fund grant (2022-2025) titled 'When colonial worlds connect: trans-imperial networks of forced labour between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the untold stories of Reunionese Creoles in Oceania'. 

I am bilingual in French and English and have published literary translations with in-depth critical introductions of two books (a novel and a collection of short stories) by New Caledonian authors. I have also published a book on New Caledonian history and linguistics (written in French). In 2013, I was awarded the John Dunmore Medal by the New Zealand Federation of Alliances Françaises in recognition of my major contribution to knowledge of French language, culture and history in the Pacific. I have a particularly deep knowledge of Kanaky New Caledonia's history, languages, and literature.

I have an honorary Visiting Research Fellow position at the University of Adelaide and am on the Editorial Advisory Committee for the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages and the editorial board of Shima. I am also the copyeditor for the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. As an editor and a reviewer for many journals and several publishers and as a supervisor and examiner of numerous postgraduate theses, I have extensive experience in editing and reviewing academic and creative writing. I also enjoy "translating" research into texts for more general audiences and am an active blogger and experienced writer of press releases and print, web and social media stories.

I have my own business, Speedy Research & Consulting where I offer my services as a professional historian as well as more general writing, research, editing, copyediting, consulting and translation services. 


  • Academic
  • Adult Fiction
  • Autobiography / Memoir
  • Biography
  • Feature Articles
  • Freelance Writer
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Non-Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Review Writing


  • Academic Writing
  • Editing
  • Freelance Writing
  • Manuscript Assessment
  • Poetry Readings
  • Print Media Writing (magazines/newspapers)
  • Proofreading
  • Public Speaking
  • Research
  • Reviews
  • Translating
  • Website Content
  • Workshops (adults)




Lower Hutt


Georges Baudoux’s Jean M’Baraï the trepang fisherman

Speedy, Karin. 2015 (online)/2016 (print). Georges Baudoux’s Jean M’Baraï the trepang fisherman. Sydney: UTS ePress, 145p, ISBN: 978-0-9945039-1-6, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/978-0-9945039-1-6

Half-Moon Lands

Speedy, Karin and Savoie, Hélène. 2010. Les Terres de la demi-lune / Half-Moon Lands. Bilingual edition, Translated and with a bilingual Critical Introduction by Karin Speedy. Paris: L’Harmattan, 280p, ISBN: 978 2 296 11771 6

“Everyone Speaks English, Right?”

Speedy, Karin. 2008. “Everyone Speaks English, Right?” A Cross-Cultural Postmodern Perspective on Language in Business. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller: Saarbrücken, 231p. ISBN: 978 3 639 10269 7.

Colons, Créoles et Coolies

Speedy, Karin. 2007. Colons, Créoles et Coolies: L’immigration réunionnaise en Nouvelle-Calédonie (XIXe siècle) et le tayo de Saint-Louis. Paris: L’Harmattan, 218p, ISBN : 978-2-296-03575-1 Translated title: Settlers, Creoles and Coolies: Reunionese immigration to New Caledonia (19th century) and the Tayo of Saint-Louis

“Rites of Passage” and “Tropical Depression”

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “Rites of Passage” and “Tropical Depression”, original poems in Snorkel literary magazine, issue 23. http://snorkel.org.au/023/speedy.html

Four poems in Blackmail Press, no. 41

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “Cuttings from a Pacific Garden”, “Objets Trouvés in the New Caledonian Archives”, “Flame Tree or Portrait of a Reunionese Woman in New Caledonia circa 1908”, “The Night Before Waitangi Day”, original poems in Blackmail Press, special issue on Piercing the White Space, 41, November 2015, issn1176-4791 http://www.blackmailpress.com/KS41.html

Kuita et le feu

Kamali, Daren and Speedy, Karin. 2017. “Kuita and the Flame/Kuita et le feu” (poem translated by Karin Speedy), Francosphères, 6.2, 95-102. https://doi.org/10.3828/franc.2017.8

Clandestine Voices

Pourawa, Denis and Speedy, Karin. 2017. “Les Voix clandestines/Clandestine Voices” (poem translated by Karin Speedy), Francosphères, 6.2, 179-185. https://doi.org/10.3828/franc.2017.14

À la mode In Hunters Hill

Speedy, Karin. 2021. "À la mode In Hunters Hill" in Megan Carter (ed.) Blackmail Press issue 44, ISSN 1176-4791 February 2021, http://www.blackmailpress.com/KS44.html 

2022 new book: Foundations

Speedy, Karin. 2022. Foundations. Lower Hutt: Karin Speedy. RRP $33.00 Genre: Memoir, history, literary nonfiction

ISBN: 978-0-473-63689-0 (Softcover POD), IngramSpark and Amazon, ISBN: 978-0-473-63690-6 (Epub), Draft2Digital, ISBN: 978-0-473-63691-3 (Kindle), Amazon. Available here: https://books2read.com/u/mlLM27


Every day we face decisions, crossroads that can take us on wildly different rides. Our lives are never certain, no matter how well we plan. Although, fascinatingly, unknowingly, sometimes spookily, we can find ourselves on paths once trodden by our forebears…

In Foundations, Karin Speedy takes us on a whirlwind journey through time and space as she navigates intersecting personal, local, family and global histories, stories that help her reckon with who she is and where she stands in this complicated (post)colonial world. If colonialism, slavery, violence and heartbreak feature heavily in her memoir so too do friendship, love, poetry, books, music, laughter and resistance. Warm, funny, quirky yet also confronting and, at times, shockingly brutal, her childhood and young adult memories bring to life the scenes and sounds of 70s, 80s and 90s New Zealand. At university, Karin’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and social justice see her embark on her first research project, a decolonial study of Louisiana Creole, research that cements her future as an anti-racist, activist scholar. Forever questioning the master narratives, digging deeper and peeling back layers to expose what lies hidden beneath and behind, Karin reminds us that history and trauma are all around us, ingrained in our lives, etched into our landscapes and at the very foundations of our cities and infrastructure. When she begins to examine her own family stories, rooted in colonisation and working-class struggle and embedded in the national histories of Aotearoa and Australia, she uncovers astonishing intergenerational palimpsests and starts to grasp the importance of listening to her ghosts.