Katherine Mansfield was a New Zealand modernist writer best remembered for her short stories. Her life and career inspired several films, plays, novels, and TV series. In 1973, she became the subject of a BBC miniseries titled A Picture of Katherine Mansfield. In 2011, actress Kate Elliott played Mansfield in a TV biopic titled Bliss.
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton is a New Zealand-born woman who was wrongfully accused of killing her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria. The child went missing when her family was on a camping trip, and Lindy was accused of killing the child after Azaria’s bloody clothes were found. She was later officially pardoned by the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.
Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand theatre director and crime writer. Counted among the Queens of Crime alongside other crime writers like Agatha Christie, Marsh is best remembered for her famous character, Roderick Alleyn. She received several prestigious awards and was made an inductee of the Detection Club in 1974. The Ngaio Marsh Award is presented annually in her memory.
Fran Walsh is a New Zealand film producer and screenwriter. Along with her partner Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh has produced films like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which earned her three Academy Awards in 2004.
Initially trained to be a schoolteacher, Janet Frame later soared to fame with her short stories, poems, and her 3-part memoir, including An Angel at My Table. Misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, she spent almost a decade in mental hospitals. She wrote most of her works while in psychiatric care.
New Zealand actor Dianna Fuemana was 16 when she quit school and got married. She later got divorced before she began dating Australian actor Jay Ryan. The mother of three is known for plays such as Frangipani Perfume and Mapaki and has written and directed a few short films, too.
Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton soared to fame with her debut award-winning novel The Rehearsal. She has also been a scriptwriter, adapting one of her books into a series and writing for films such as Emma. She also offers a grant to budding authors with great talent.
Sonja Yelich is a New Zealand poet best known as the mother of the popular singer-songwriter, Lorde. Sonja Yelich achieved popularity as a poet when she released her first collection of poems titled Clung which earned her the prestigious Jessie Mackay Award at the New Zealand Book Awards in 2005.
American-born New Zealand-Belgian author Christine Leunens is best known for her bestselling novels such as Primordial Soup and Caging Skies, with the latter inspiring the critically acclaimed movie Jojo Rabbit. Interestingly, she had initially worked as a print model to fund her first book. She has also been a screenwriter.
One of the most popular children’s authors from New Zealand, Margaret Mahy was a librarian for a decade. The Order of New Zealand winner has also won the Carnegie Medal twice. She was in her 60s when she got tattooed to help her write about a tattooed character in a book.
Born in China, author Chloe Gong moved to New Zealand at age 2. She is perhaps best known for her novel These Violent Delights, which became a New York Times bestseller and was made into a novel series. She has also started the Foul Lady Fortune series.
New Zealand author Keri Hulme is best known for her Booker Prize-winning debut novel The Bone People. She has also used the pseudonym Kai Tainui to write books and has mostly dealt with themes related to the culture of Maori people. The Maori author initially worked as a tobacco picker.
New Zealand author Patricia Grace is regarded as one of the most significant figures in Maori literature. Though half-Maori and half-European, she identified as a Maori. Initially a teacher, she later turned to full-time writing. She soared to fame as a children’s author and is also known for her novels and short stories.
Ruth Park was a New Zealand–born Australian writer whose works earned her numerous awards in both Australia and internationally between 1946 and 2004. She is perhaps best remembered for her 1948 novel The Harp in the South, which was translated into 37 languages. Also known as a children's writer, Ruth Park was honored with the prestigious Dromkeen Medal in 2008.
Fleur Adcock is a New Zealand poet and editor. She is of English and Northern Irish ancestry and has lived much of her life in England. She studied Classics at Victoria University of Wellington and began her career as an assistant lecturer at the University of Otago. She has worked as a freelance writer since 1980.
Joy Cowley is a New Zealand writer best known for writing children's books, including the famous book series Mrs. Wishy-Washy. She started her career by writing novels for adults and achieved international prominence when her 1967 book Nest in a Falling Tree was adapted into a 1971 film titled The Night Digger. Joy Cowley is a recipient of many awards.
Kapka Kassabova is a writer and poet whose works have earned her several prestigious awards such as a Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Highland Book Prize. Many of her books have also been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Baillie Gifford Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Awards.
Sylvia Ashton-Warner was a New Zealand non-fiction writer, novelist, poet, and pianist. She is best remembered for her contributions as a teacher and her ideas for a child-based approach to the teaching of writing and reading are used and debated internationally today. Sylvia Ashton-Warner received numerous awards, including the New Zealand Book Award in 1980.
Jane Mander was a New Zealand journalist and novelist best remembered for her 1920 novel The Story of a New Zealand River, which achieved immense popularity in the UK and the US. The book also had a major influence on Jane Campion's 1993 film The Piano.
Lydia Wevers was a New Zealand literary critic, literary historian, book reviewer, and editor. Apart from reviewing books, Wevers also reviewed a number of newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. For her services to literature, Lydia Wevers was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit during the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours.