Barbara Else

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Matt Bialostocki

Barbara Else is the author of multiple contemporary novels for both adults and children. Her work is distinctive for its strands of subversive humour. She is also a literary agent, editor, fiction consultant and playwright. Barbara has been awarded an MNZM for Services to Literature (2005), and Margaret Mahy Medal for lifetime achievement and services to children’s literature (2016).

Her best-selling first novel The Warrior Queen was described by Quote Unquote as ‘the accessible feminism.’ Four more contemporary novels followed, then an historical novel Wild Latitudes. Books in her children’s quartet Tales of Fontania have won several awards including the Esther Glen Medal, the prestigious IBBY and White Raven Awards, Honour Awards in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and Storylines Notable Books Awards. She has also written short stories and plays for adults and children, and has edited eight children’s anthologies.

Barbara is co-director of a small NZ literary agency and manuscript assessment service. She has twice been a judge of the NZ Post Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards, the second time in 2014 as Chief Judge. With husband and author Chris Else, she was instrumental in setting up both the New Zealand Association of Literary Agents and the New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors. She was the Victoria University of Wellington Writer in Residence (1999), and in 2016 she is also CNZ/Otago University Children’s Writer in Residence.

In 2016 Endeavour Press (UK) released Wild Latitudes as a major e-book.

Barbara’s latest book Go Girl (Penguin Random House, 2018) is a collection of true stories about New Zealand women who have done extraordinary things.



Barbara Else’s website

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

Random House Books author page

Otago Daily Times article on Go Girl (2018)

Barbara’s Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal lecture (2016)

Otago Bulletin article on the University Fellows’ Event at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2016)

Otago Bulletin article in which Barbara discusses Dunedin and her writing (2016)

Quote Unquote reprinted review of Warrior Queen by Mark Amery (2013)

Quote Unquote reprinted review of Warrior Queen by Shirley Maddock (2013)


Bibliography: Barbara Else



Wild Latitudes (Random House; Vintage, 2007)

The Case of the Missing Kitchen (Random House; Vintage, 2003)

Three Pretty Widows (Random House; Vintage, 2000)

Eating Peacocks (Random House; Vintage, 1998)

Gingerbread Husbands (Godwit Publishing, 1997; HarperCollins Australia [Flamingo], 1998; Macmillan UK, 1999)

The Warrior Queen (Godwit Publishing, 1995; HarperCollins Australia, 1995; Macmillan UK, 1998; Goldmann Verlag Germany, 1998)


Tales of Fontania Quartet (Novels for Children):

#4 The Knot Impossible (Gecko Press, 2015; Scholastic Australia, Lerner Books USA)

#3 The Volume of Possible Endings (Gecko Press, 2014; Scholastic Australia, Lerner Books USA)

#2 The Queen and the Nobody Boy (Gecko Press, 2012; Scholastic Australia, Lerner Books USA)

#1 The Travelling Restaurant (Gecko Press, 2011; Scholastic Australia, Lerner Books USA, France, Denmark, Turkey)

Tricky Situations (Random House, 1999)

Skitterfoot Leaper (HarperCollins, 1997)


Creative Nonfiction

Go Girl (Penguin, 2018)



Great Mates: 30 New Zealand Stories for Children (Random House, 2011)

Showtime! – 30 NZ Stories for Children (Random House, 2008)

Dare and Double-dare – 30 Sports Stories for Children (Random House, 2007)

Hideous and Hilarious -30 History Stories for Children (Random House, 2006)

Like Wallpaper (Random House, 2005)

Mischief and Mayhem: 30 New Zealand Stories (Random House, 2005)

Claws and Jaws: 30 NZ Animal Stories (Random House, 2004)

30 Weird & Wonderful New Zealand Stories (Random House, 2003)

Another 30 New Zealand Stories for Children (Random House, 2002)

Grand Stands (Vintage, 2000)



'The thirty-five of us were in the country of dream-merchants, and strange things were bound to happen.' - Anne Kennedy

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