Graeme Lay

ANZL Member

Graham at Dusky Sound. Photo credit: Grahame Sydney


Graeme Lay was born in Foxton in 1944 and raised in Taranaki. An editor and prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction, he has published or anthologised over forty works, including novels for adults and young adults, three collections of short stories and three of travel writing. He has been Books Editor for North & South magazine, and for over twenty years was secretary of the Frank Sargeson Trust.

Graeme began writing short stories in the late 1970s. His first novel, The Mentor, was published in 1978 and his first collection of short stories, Dear Mr Cairney, in 1985. Since then he has won the Lilian Ida Smith Award (1988), and was named Reviewer of the Year at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (1998). Graeme is a three-time finalist in the New Zealand Travel Writer of the Year Award. He has also twice been a finalist in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and was included on the 2002 Storylines Notable Senior Fiction List. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he devised and edited five collections of New Zealand short stories.

From the 1990s onwards, after travelling to New Caledonia and Rarotonga, Graeme developed a deep interest in the islands of the South Pacific and the history and culture of that region’s peoples. Many of his books, both fiction and non-fiction, are set in the South Pacific. His latest novels, a trilogy based on the life of the famous English explorer James Cook, all became best sellers. They were: The Secret Life of James Cook (2012), James Cook’s New World (2013), and James Cook’s Lost World (2015).

A new work Grog, Grub & Greed – Food & Drink on James Cook’s Voyages, is currently under consideration by an international publisher.



New Zealand Book Council profile page

New Zealand Society of Authors writer page

HarperCollins author page

Awa Press author page

NZ Herald review of The Secret Life of James Cook (May, 2013)

Flash Frontier interview (Jan, 2012)

'Many of our best stories profit from a meeting of New Zealand and overseas influences' - Owen Marshall

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