List of Youth Mentors for NZSA Mentor Programme

Rosetta Allan

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction

Rosetta is a bestselling writer who spent her formative writing years developing strengths in the area of poetry. Her work is widely anthologised, and she has published two volumes of poetry: Little Rock and Over Lunch. Penguin Books published her first novel, Purgatory, in 2014 and was selected as an Apple iBook Top Ten Best Reads of 2014.

Rosetta won the 2010 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award, 2010 Metonymy Poetry Award, 2011 South Pacific Writer’s Lab Internship. In 2017, Rosetta completed her Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland (First Class Honours) and was awarded a Sir James Wallace Masters of Creative Writing Scholarship. Rosetta was also the first New Zealand writer in residence at the St Petersburg Art Residency in Russia. Her second novel, The Unreliable People, set in Kazakhstan and Russia, was released by Penguin Random House, May 2019. Rosetta was the University of Waikato writer in residence in 2019. In August 2021, Penguin Random House released her latest novel, Crazy Love.

Catherine Chidgey

Area: Waikato / Ngāruawāhia
Genre: Adult fiction

Catherine Chidgey is a multiple award-winner whose novels have attracted international acclaim. In a Fishbone Church, her debut, won Best First Book at both the New Zealand book awards and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South-East Asia and South Pacific region). In the UK it also won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, Golden Deeds, was a Best Book in the LA Times Book Review and a Notable Book of the Year in the New York Times Book Review. Her novel The Wish Child won the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize – New Zealand’s richest writing prize. Radio New Zealand called it ‘a brilliant, brilliant novel…a masterpiece’, and The Times (UK) ‘a remarkable book with a stunningly original twist’. Other honours include the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, the $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters and the Janet Frame Fiction Prize. Her latest novel is Remote Sympathy: ‘You are in the hands of a superb writer…it is profoundly wonderful.’ (Radio New Zealand)

Catherine has translated many children’s books from the German and in 2019 published her first children’s book, Jiffy, Cat Detective. She teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, where in 2019 she initiated the Sargeson Prize short story competition. She lives in Ngāruawāhia with her husband, daughter and odd-eyed cats.

Michelle Elvy

Area: Otago
Genre: fiction (novel, short story, flash fiction); hybrid novella or novels in flash fiction/ poetry; creative nonfiction and travel; memoir; YA

Michelle Elvy is a writer and editor in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Her poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published and anthologised. Her book, the everrumble, is a small novel in small forms and called ‘an homage to our beleaguered planet’.

Michelle is founder of National Flash Fiction Day NZ and Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction. She is also Reviews Editor of Landfall. Her current anthology projects include Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand, co-edited with Paula Morris and James Norcliffe (OUP, 2020), and Love in the Time of COVID: A Chronicle of a Pandemic, which she is curating in 2020/21 with Witi Ihimaera ( Other anthology work includes Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (CUP 2018) and the Best Small Fictions series (annual since 2015).

A Fulbright scholar and Watson Fellow, Michelle is also a Pushcart nominee and recipient of the NZ Society of Authors/ Auckland Museum Library grant and the NZSA Mentorship programme award. She has judged various competitions hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad, including the South Island Writers’ Association, the International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangarei Poetry Walk, NorthWrite’s collaboration competition, the NYC Challenge and the Bath Flash Fiction Award, as well as the 2021 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award.

Johanna Emeney

Area: Auckland
Genre: Poetry

Johanna Emeney works at Massey University as a teacher of creative writing. She co-facilitated the Michael King Young Writers Programme with Rosalind Ali 2009-2020, and was a senior school English Literature teacher 1998-2010. Jo holds a doctorate in creative writing. Her three books of poetry are Apple & Tree (Cape Catley, 2011), Family History (Makaro Press, 2017). and Felt (Massey University Press (2021).

Mandy Hager

Area: Paraparaumu, Wellington
Genre: all except fantasy, short fiction or poetry

Mandy Hager is a multi-award winning writer of fiction for young adults. In 2019 she was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, for life-time achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand’s literature for young people. She has won the LIANZA Book Awards for Young Adult fiction 3 times (‘Smashed’ 2008, ‘The Nature of Ash’ 2013, ‘Dear Vincent’ 2014), the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for YA fiction (‘The Crossing’ 2010), an Honour Award in the 1996 AIM Children’s Book Awards (‘Tom’s Story’), Golden Wings Excellence Award (‘Juno Lucina,’ 2002), Golden Wings Award (‘Run For The Trees’, 2003) and Six Notable Book Awards.

She has also been awarded the 2012 Beatson Fellowship, the 2014 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship and the 2015 Waikato University Writer in Residence.

In 2015 her novel ‘Singing Home the Whale’ was awarded the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award, and the Best Young Adult fiction Award from the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It has also been named a 2016 IBBY Honour Book, an international award. Her historical novel for adults, ‘Heloise’, was long-listed for the Ockham Book Awards. Her latest novel is political thriller ‘Ash Arising’ (Storylines Notable Book and shortlisted for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.)

She is a trained teacher, with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (Whitireia) and an MA in Creative Writing for Victoria University. She also writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles, and tutored the Novel Course for Whitireia’s Creative Writing Programme for ten years. She is currently President of NZSA.

Siobhan Harvey

Area: Auckland
Genre: Poetry, stories, novels, nonfiction (including creative nonfiction).

Siobhan Harvey is an author of eight books, including the poetry and creative nonfiction collection, Ghosts (Otago University Press, 2021) . She was awarded 2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry, 2020 New Zealand Society of Authors Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship, 2020 Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems, 2019 Robert Burns Poetry Prize, 2016 Write Well Award (Fiction, US) and 2013 Kathleen Grattan Award. Her previous books include Cloudboy (Otago University Press, 2014 and, as co-editor, Essential New Zealand Poems (Random House, 2014). She has been shortlisted for many other international and local awards and prizes, including third- and second place in 2020 and 2012 Landfall Essay Competitions respectively, long-listed for the 2019 Australian Book Review Peter Porter Poetry Prize, runner up in both 2015 and 2014 New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competitions, runner up in 2012 NZSA Kevin Ireland Poetry Competition and runner up in 2012 Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize (Aus). Her work has been published in international and local anthologies and journals , including Acumen (UK), Arc (Ca), Asia Literary Review (HK), Best New Zealand Poems 2020 and 2012 (NZ), Feminine Divine: Voices of Power & Invisibility (Cyren US, 2019), Griffith Review (Aus), Strong Words #2: the best of the Landfall Essay Competition (Otago University Press, 2021), Stand (UK) and Tarot (NZ). The Poetry Archive UK holds a Poet’s Page of her work. Presently she’s a Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Centre for Creative Writing, Auckland University of Technology where she holds a PhD in Creative Writing.

Whiti Hereaka

Area: Wellington
Genre: Novel, Literary fiction, YA, Spec fiction, Drama, Film, TV

Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Tumatawera, Tainui, Pākehā) is a novelist and script writer. She teaches “Writing for Children” at the IIML and has been a mentor for writers in Te Papa Tupu.

David Hill

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: Young adult and children’s literature

New Plymouth author of many novels for kids and teenagers. Winner of Times Educational Supplement Special Needs Award, CBC Children’s Book Award (USA) for See Ya, Simon, Esther Glen Medal for Fat, Four-Eyed and Useless, prize-winner in AIM Book Awards, and the NZ Post Book Awards. His latest YA novel is Fire on High. David has received the Margaret Mahy Medal Award, and has been translated into many languages including German, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch, and has recently been awarded the Prix D’Adolire in France. He has held Writer’s Residencies in NZ and the USA. In 2013, his novel “My Brother’s War” won the NZ Post Junior Fiction Award.

David also writes for adults, books, newspaper pieces – humour, travel, reviews. Stories and plays. His work is published extensively overseas. In 2001 he had books translated into Mandarin and Estonian and received the Gaelyn Gordon Best-Loved book Award for See Ya Simon. He likes writing about fears and embarrassments. And for young people because they’re ‘such a truthful audience’.

Lynn Jenner

Area: Kerikeri
Genre: Memoir, personal and lyric essays, non-fiction articles, prose poetry

Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Tumatawera, Tainui, Pākehā) is a novelist and script writer. She teaches “Writing for Children” at the IIML and has been a mentor for writers in Te Papa Tupu.

Lesley Marshall

Area: Northland
Genre: Editing (non-fiction, fiction, short story), Member of NZAMA
Website: Editline

Lesley Marshall runs Editline, a freelance editing service in Northland. She has over 40 years’ experience in editing and assessing general fiction, short stories, thrillers, romances, historical novels, women’s fiction, sci-fi, plays and family histories. She always tries to edit within the writer’s voice and style. Lesley has edited many award-winning short stories one of which was made into a film. She is currently teaching on-line writing and editing papers for NorthTec, and co-editing a national magazine. On an occasional basis she has edited manuscripts for various publishing houses, and is a regular appraiser, assessor and mentor for the New Zealand Society of Authors. Lesley is a member of the Institute of Professional Editors and was a founding member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors.

Rae McGregor

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction, and non-fiction.

Rae has written five books.  Three biographies a children’s story and a novel.  She has also had short stories published.

Rae works as a full time writer and assessor and reviews regularly for National Radio both fiction and non-fiction work.

She is also closely involved with theatre and has directed several plays for Howick Little Theatre and for Dolphin Theatre.

Jacquie McRae

Area: Wellsford
Genre: Adult Fiction, Young Adult, Short Stories

I was fortunate to be mentored by Renēe in 2010 on Te Papa Tupu, an emerging writers programme. The skills I learnt then, have helped turn me into a writer. I now mentor on this same programme, and want to give back what was given to me.

Kyle Mewburn

Area: Central Otago
Genre: Picture books, general children’s fiction

Kyle Mewburn has published numerous picture books, junior fiction and School Readers. These books have been published in 23 countries and won numerous awards.

Old Hu-Hu (Scholastic 2009) won the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book of the Year. Melu (Scholastic 2012) won the NZ Post Best Picture Book category at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2013 and was a White Raven title for 2012.  Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! (Scholastic 2006) won both the Best Picture Book and Children’s Choice categories at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2007, as well as the Flicker Tale Award in North Dakota, USA. Kyle’s best-selling junior fiction series Dinosaur Rescue has been sold into over 20 countries. Kyle was Children’s Writer-in-Residence at Otago University in 2011 and was President of the NZSA till 2017. Kyle’s first junior novel, A Crack in the Sky (Scholastic 2010), was written while participating in the NZSA Mentorship programme, under the guidance of David Hill. Her memoir: Faking it. My life in transition, was published by Penguin in 2021.

Judy L Mohr

Area: Christchurch
Thrillers (including Romantic Suspense), Fantasy (including Paranormal Romance), Science Fiction, Crime, Novels and Short Story

Kiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer, developmental editor, and writing coach. Judy has worked with writers from around the world, helping them reach for their own publication goals. Her preferred genres for editorial work include thrillers, mystery/crime, fantasy, and science fiction. She holds an editorial accreditation from OpenColleges Australia, in addition to her academic qualifications, and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Editors, Inc. (IPEd). For some tips and tricks for writing fiction, visit the Editor’s Blog at

Affiliations: Member of NZSA, RWNZ, Sisters in Crime (Guppy chapter), Australian Crime Writers Association, Professional member of Institute of Professional Editors, Inc. (IPEd)

Lee Murray

Area: Tauranga
Genre: Fiction, adult/YA/MG, short story. Special interest in speculative and dark fiction projects

Lee Murray is an author, editor, screenwriter, and poet from Aotearoa-New Zealand. She is the winner of 12 Sir Julius Vogel Awards, 3 Australian Shadows, two Bram Stokers, and a Shirley Jackson Award, and has been a finalist in the Aurealis, British Fantasy, Imadjinn, Skoutz (Germany), and Ladies of Horror Fiction Awards, among others. Her books include military thrillers, the Taine McKenna Adventures, supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra (with Dan Rabarts), and short fiction collection, Grotesque: Monster Stories. Other works include non-fiction title Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and Other Self-editing Tips (with Angela Yuriko Smith) and several books for children. Named Lit Reactor’s Editor of the Year for 2021, Lee is curator-editor of eighteen volumes of speculative fiction, among them Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (with Geneve Flynn). She is co-founder of Young NZ Writers and of the Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers, HWA Mentor of the Year for 2019, NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow, and Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow for 2021. Lee’s first poetry collection, Tortured Willows, a collaboration with Angela Yuriko Smith, Christina Sng, and Geneve Flynn was released in October 2021.

James Norcliffe

Area: Canterbury
Genre: Poetry, fiction for young people, short story

James has had many years’ experience as a writer and editor. He has published ten collections of poetry, most recently Villon in Millerton, Shadow Play, Dark Days at the Oxygen Café, Deadpan and a collection of poems for younger people Packing A Bag for Mars; twelve novels for young people, including the YA fantasy The Loblolly Boy which made the USSBY list of best foreign children’s books published in the USA, its successor The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer, and more recently The Enchanted Flute, Felix and the Red Rats, The Pirates and the Nightmaker, Twice Upon a Time, and the just released Mallory, Mallory: the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy which will be followed by a second Mallory novel next year. Another novel for young people The Crate is also scheduled for 2021.

He has written a collection of short stories, The Chinese Interpreter. A novel for adults The Frog Prince is forthcoming from Penguin Random.
He is an editor for the on-line journal Flash Frontier and has edited anthologies of poetry and the annual ReDraft anthologies of writing by young people. He has co-edited major poetry and short fiction anthologies most recently Bonsai (with Michelle Elvy & Frankie McMillan) and this year’s Ko Aotearoa Tatou: We Are New Zealand with Michelle Elvy & Paula Morris..

He has twice won the NZ Poetry Society’s International Poetry Award, been short listed for the Montana poetry awards for Letters to Dr Dee, and won an honour award for The Emerald Encyclopaedia at the NZ Children’s Book Awards. The Assassin of Gleam was short listed for the Esther Glen Medal, and won the Sir Julius Vogel Award. In 2010 The Loblolly Boy also short listed for the Esther Glen Award and won the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Junior Fiction Award. The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer, Felix and the Red Rats and The Pirates and the Nightmaker were shortlisted for the NZ Post Children’s Junior Fiction Awards.

James has been invited to a number of international poetry festivals and has been awarded a number of residencies including the Burns Fellowship, the Iowa International Writers Programme, and the University Of Otago College Of Education Creative New Zealand Fellowship for Children’s Writing.

With Bernadette Hall, he was presented with a Press Literary Liaisons Honour Award for lasting contribution to literature in the South Island.

Mikaela Nyman

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: Fiction and non-fiction, all genres except romance and children’s books.

on and poetry in English and Swedish. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in World Literature Today, Sport, Minarets, Turbine, Strong Words #1 and #2: the best of the Landfall Essay Competition, Lumière Reader, SWAMP, More of Us, Ko Aotearoa Tātou|We Are New Zealand, Trasdemar and Horisont.

Mikaela is a co-editor with Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen of Sista, Stanap Strong! – the first Vanuatu women’s anthology of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, published by Victoria University Press (VUP) in 2021. The project entailed mentoring new and emerging writers. Her collaborative poems with ni-Vanuatu writers have been exhibited as art at the Fondation Suzanne Bastien in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and appear in A Game of Two Halves: The Best of Sport Magazine 2005-2019 (VUP) and in the Climate Change Poetry Anthology (forthcoming on Auckland University Press).

Her novel Sado was published by VUP in 2020. Her first poetry collection När vändkrets läggs mot vändkrets (in Swedish) was short-listed for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2020 and she was awarded a Nordic Debutante Seminar residency at Biskops-Arnö in Sweden. In 2021 Mikaela was the Visiting Artist / Writer in Residence for Massey University, Palmerston North City Council and Square Edge Community Arts Centre. She has facilitated and participated in creative writing workshops and literary events in New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Vanuatu. She holds an MA with Distinction (2012) and a PhD (2020) in Creative Writing from Victoria University.

Kiri Piahana-Wong

Area: Whanganui
Genre: Poetry

Kiri Piahana-Wong is of Māori (Ngāti Ranginui), Chinese and Pākehā (English) ancestry. She is a poet and editor, and is the publisher at Anahera Press. Anahera publishes and promotes the work of Māori and Pasifika poets, and has also published one novel. Anahera’s books have been frequent award nominees, including two longlist placings and one shortlist placing in the Ockham NZ Book Awards, and finalist placings in the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards.

Kiri’s poetry has appeared in over forty journals and anthologies, including Landfall, Essential NZ Poems, Poetry NZ, Puna Wai Kōrero, Bonsai: The Big Book of Small Stories, Atlanta Review, Set Me on Fire (Doubleday anthology, UK), Ora Nui, Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation, Takahē, A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems, Solid Air, and more. She has one full-length collection, Night Swimming (2013), and a second, Tidelines, is forthcoming. Kiri was an MC at Poetry Live, NZ’s longest-running live poetry venue, for six years.

Kiri has worked in the publishing industry, primarily as an editor, for over fifteen years. She started her editing career working in legal publishing and went on to work as a freelance editor and book project manager. She has also worked for AUP and Huia. For the last five years Kiri has specialised in poetry editing and manuscript assessment. She has a particular interest in writing by poets of colour and those who are marginalised by the mainstream.

Ruby Porter

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction and Poetry

Ruby Porter is a prose-writer, poet and artist. She was the winner of the Wallace Foundation Short Fiction Award in 2017, and the inaugural winner of the Michael Gifkins Prize in 2018, with her debut novel Attraction. Attraction was written during her Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland, published in 2019 by Melbourne-based Text Publishing, and longlisted in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in 2020. It is distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand and North America. Her poetry, short fiction and nonfiction has been published in Newsroom, Milly Mag, Recess Mag, Geometry Journal, Antithesis Journal, Aotearotica, The Wireless and The Spinoff. A recorded selection of her poetry is available on New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre.

Ruby teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland, The Creative Hub, and in high schools. She has over fifteen years’ experience as a tutor, and has been a writing tutor since 2016.

Joan Rosier-Jones

Area: Whanganui
Genre: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Joan Rosier-Jones writes fiction and non-fiction. She has also written and had three plays produced. She began her working life as a teacher, and now combines her two passions – writing and teaching by running classes and writers’ retreats for adults and working with the NZA programmes for emerging writers. She has taught creative writing for several institutions – University of Auckland, UNITEC, and local community education services. Several of her students have gained success in the world of publishing. Her popular, So You Want to Write, a guide for aspiring authors, was updated and reprinted in 2018. Other similar subjects include family history writing, book publicity and marketing. She is the author of several courses for the NZ Institute of Business Studies, and has published a number of novels since her first book, Cast Two Shadows, described as a ‘powerfully realistic novel’, was released in 1985. A true murder mystery, The Murder of Chow Yat, was published in 2009. Her last novel, Waiting for Elizabeth, was set in Tudor Ireland. Doing it My Way is an Egyptian memoir, which she co-wrote with Egyptian entrepreneur, Elhamy Elzayat and her latest publication is Literary Whanganui which is based on literary walks and bus tours she has organised over the last 15 years.

Vanda Symon

Area: Otago
Genre: Crime fiction/ general fiction / non-fiction

Vanda Symon has had four crime fiction novels in the Detective Sam Shepherd series and a stand-alone crime fiction novel, The Faceless, published by Penguin New Zealand. Her novels have also been translated into German and are being published in Britain. She is a three-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. Overkill was short-listed for the 2019 British CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.

Vanda is also involved in broadcasting – producing and hosting a monthly radio show on books and writers, and has reviewed books for National Radio. This has given her experience in critiquing both fiction and non-fiction work. She has been a book awards judge for the NZ Post Book awards, and the Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best Crime Novel. Vanda has a PhD in science communication, and a professional background in Pharmacy.

Philippa Werry

Area: Wellington
Genre: children’s literature, non-fiction

Philippa is a Wellington writer whose non-fiction, poetry, stories and plays have been widely published, anthologised and broadcast on radio. Eight of her books have been named as Storylines Notable Books and a number of titles, both fiction and non-fiction, have been shortlisted for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults: Enemy at the Gate (2009), Anzac Day: the New Zealand Story (2014, and also shortlisted for the Lianza Book Awards 2014), Waitangi Day: the New Zealand Story (Children’s Choice section, 2015), The New Zealand Wars (2018), The Telegram (2019) and This is Where I Stand (2021). Her work has also appeared in the School Journal and other educational publications.

Philippa was runner up in the Playmarket Plays for the Young Competition 2010 and a Finalist in the Storylines Joy Cowley Award 2015. She has been shortlisted for the Text Publishing Prize and the Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (three times) and was the recipient of the New Zealand Society of Authors Mid-Career Writers Award in 2010 and a CLNZ/NZSA research grant in 2015. In April 2014, she travelled to Turkey as a member of the Gallipoli Volunteers program to help out at the Anzac Day ceremonies. In April 2016, she was awarded the Anzac Bridge Fellowship, and in December 2016, she went to Antarctica with the Antarctica NZ community engagement programme (formerly Artists and Writers to Antarctica). She was awarded the Easter residency at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2019 and shortlisted for the NZSA/Auckland Museum research grant in 2020 and the NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship in 2021. Philippa is a frequent speaker at book-related events and seminars and visits schools around the country as part of the Writers in Schools programme. She is passionate about the need to tell our stories and our history to our children and young people.

Ella West

Area: Otago/Southland
Genre: Junior and Young Adult Fiction
Website: ellawestbooks

Ella West is the pen name of Karen Trebilcock. She writes Young Adult fiction including Night Vision and the thriller series Thieves, and has been published here and overseas. She is a multi-award winning novelist and in 2010 was the University Of Otago College Of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence. She enjoys teaching in schools and helping people develop their writing skills.

Alison Wong

Area: Geelong, Victoria
Genre: Poetry, non-fiction, memoir, novel

Alison Wong is a fourth-generation Chinese New Zealander. She currently lives in Australia but returns to NZ regularly, particularly to Wellington. She writes novels, creative non-fiction/memoir and poetry. Her work has been translated and published in French, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Italian and Chinese.

Alison spent several years in China in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2014 she was the inaugural NZ writer on the Shanghai International Writers’ Programme and in 2016 she held a Sun Yat Sen University International Writers’ Residency. She was the 2002 Robert Burns Fellow.

Her novel, As the Earth Turns Silver, won the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. In 2018 it was voted by NZ booksellers as one of their top twenty bestsellers of the decade.

Her poetry collection, Cup, was shortlisted for Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and her poetry appeared in Best NZ Poems 2015, 2007 and 2006. Her essays/memoir pieces have been published in Australia, China, the US and Mexico. She has taught poetry, novel and memoir-writing workshops.

In 2018 she was one of the poetry judges for the Ockham NZ Book Awards and in 2020, a consulting editor for the Asian culture site Hainamana. She is coeditor of A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand (AUP, 2021), the first anthology of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction by Asian New Zealanders.