Emma Neale

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Graham Warman


Emma Neale has published six novels, six poetry collections and a short fiction collection. Her work has featured in more than 30 magazines, newspapers and journals, and several anthologies. Reviewer John McCrystal described Neale’s novel, Little Moon, as ‘flawlessly written, deploying a wealth of descriptive imagery’. Pam Henson described Night Swimming as a ‘careful dissection of experience into observation, exploration and response’.

Raised in Christchurch, San Diego, California and Wellington, Emma worked and studied in England. She has a PhD from University College London, UK, and after ‘back-migrating’ to New Zealand, worked for ten years as editor then senior editor for Longacre Press. She now freelances for local and overseas publishers, and on alternate years, runs a poetry workshop paper at the University of Otago. For three years (2017-2021) Emma was editor for New Zealand’s well known and long-standing literary and arts journal Landfall.

Emma has held the Todd/Creative New Zealand New Writer’s Bursary and received the inaugural Janet Frame/NZSA Memorial Prize for Literature (2008). Her novel Fosterling (2011) was short-listed for the youth category of the Sir Julius Vogel Award and her fourth poetry collection The Truth Garden (2011) won the Kathleen Grattan Award for poetry the same year. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Award (2014), and selected for Best New Zealand Poems (2002, 2007, 2009 & 2014). She has been a University of Otago Burns Fellow, a University of Otago/Sir James Wallace Pah Homestead Fellow and a recipient of the Beatson/NZSA Fellowship. Her fifth collection, Tender Machines, was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards (2016). Emma’s flash fiction entry ‘Courtship’ was one of three highly commended in the 2018 prestigious Bridport Prize.

Emma’s novel Billy Bird (Penguin Random House, August 2016), is about an overly anxious mother and a preoccupied father trying to work out how best to manage their son, who insists that he is a bird. Billy Bird was shortlisted for the 2017 Acorn Ockham Fiction prize, and longlisted for the 2018 Dublin Literary Award.

Her latest book of poems, To the Occupant (Otago University Press, 2019) engages with the full spectrum of human emotion and experience, challenging the open and latent violence of contemporary life, while revealing the extraordinary in the everyday. Reviewer Paula Green (NZ Poetry Shelf) describes the collection as ‘breathtaking…wide in scope and reading impact’ and ‘a sumptuous word treat’.

In Emma’s first collection of short fiction, The Pink Jumpsuit: Short Fictions, Tall Truths (Quentin Wilson Publishing, 2021) the tales range from the surreal to the real; from the true to the tall. This collection includes some of her internationally recognised flash fiction and more extended examinations of the eerie gaps and odd swerves in intimate relationships.

Emma is currently working on another novel.



Emma Neale’s website

Emma on Twitter

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

New Zealand Society of Authors writer page

Penguin Random House Books author page

Otago University Press author book list

NZ Poetry Shelf review of To the Occupant (Sept, 2019)

Bridport Prize Highly Commended announcement and judge’s comments (Nov, 2018)

Youtube: 13th Floor interview discussing Billy Bird (Nov, 2016)

PressReader review of Billy Bird (Aug, 2016)

Landfall review of Tender Machines (April, 2016)

Takahé review of Tender Machines (April, 2016)

London Grip review of Tender Machines (Nov, 2015)

Rattle review of The Truth Garden (Nov, 2013)

Otago Daily Times interview (Jan 2013)

Landfall review of The Truth Garden (Oct, 2012)

Landfall review of Fosterling (May, 2011)

NZ Herald review of Fosterling (May, 2011)

New releases by Emma Neale

The Pink Jumpsuit (short fiction)

Published by Quentin Wilson Publishing on August 31, 2021

Bibliography: Emma Neale



To the Occupant (Otago UP, 2019)

Tender Machines (Otago UP, 2015)

The Truth Garden (Otago UP, 2012)

Spark (Steele Roberts, 2008)

How to Make a Million (Godwit; Random House, 2002)

Sleeve-notes (Godwit; Random House NZ, 1999)



The Pink Jumpsuit: Short Fictions, Tall Truths (Quentin Wilson Publishing, 2021)

Billy Bird (Penguin Random House, 2016)

Fosterling (Vintage; Random House, 2011)

Relative Strangers (Vintage; Random House, 2006)

Double Take  (Vintage; Random House, 2003)

Little Moon (Vintage; Random House, 2001)

Night Swimming (Vintage; Random House (1998), Transworld (Australia), 1999)



Swings and Roundabouts: Poems on Parenthood (Random House, 2008)

Best New Zealand Poems 2004 (IIML/Creative New Zealand, 2005)

Creative Juices (Flamingo; HarperCollins, 2002)

'...poetry makes intimate everything that it touches.' - Michael Harlow

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