Emma Neale

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Graham Warman


Emma Neale has published five novels and five poetry collections. 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. Emma was recently announced (Oct 2017) as the new 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 latest 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. Emma has also co-edited (with Philip Temple) an anthology of political poetry, Manifesto, published through Otago University Press, 2017. She is currently working on another novel and has a new book of poems, To the Occupant, due out from Otago University Press in 2019.



Emma Neale’s website

Emma on Twitter

New Zealand Book Council profile page

New Zealand Society of Authors writer page

Penguin Random House Books author page

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)

Bibliography: Emma Neale



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)



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)

'One of writing’s greatest magics is to allow us – to use Kiri Piahana-Wong’s phrase – to slide outside the trap of time.' - David Taylor

Read more