Gregory O’Brien

ANZL Member

Matamata born Gregory O’Brien is a prolific poet, non-fiction writer, illustrator, painter and editor. His books and short fiction have been published in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. His work is widely anthologised and has also appeared regularly in many literary journals. His accolades include the Frank Sargeson Fellow (1988), Victoria University Writer-in-Residence (1995), and Stout Memorial Fellow (2015-16). In 2012, Gregory was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (Non-fiction). The same year he received a Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. In the New Year’s Honours (2013-14), Gregory was awarded an MNZM for Services to the Arts.

Gregory graduated with a BA in Art History and English from Auckland University (1984), has worked as journalist, Arts Editor for TV3’s Arts program, editor for Sport magazine, and was senior curator at City Gallery Wellington. He now works full-time on writing and visual arts-related endeavours. His art and writing from the ‘Kermadec’ art project, Raoul Island, has been exhibited in galleries and museums in New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Chile and New Caledonia. Poems and drawings from this project are included in his two recent collections: Beauties of the Octagonal Pool (AUP, 2012), and Whale Years (AUP, 2015).

Amongst Gregory’s other books are a memoir, News of the Swimmer Reaches Shore (Carcanet, UK; VUP, 2007), Euan MacLeod: The Painter in the Painting (Piper Press, 2010), A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy (AUP, 2011), Pat Hanly (Ron Sang Books, 2013), and three books introducing New Zealand art to young and curious readers: Welcome to the South Seas (2004), Back and Beyond (2008), and See What I Can See (2015).



Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

Arts Foundation profile page


Auckland University Press author page

ANZL review of House and Contents (March, 2022)

Radio New Zealand collection of interviews and reviews (2014)

New releases by Gregory O’Brien

House & Contents (poetry)

Published by Auckland University Press on March 10, 2022

Bibliography: Gregory O’Brien



Whale Years (Auckland UP, 2015)

Beauties of the Octagonal Pool (Auckland UP, 2012)

Afternoon of an Evening Train (Victoria UP, Wellington, 2005)

Winter I Was (Victoria UP, 1999)

Irishman & Industry (Pear Tree Press, 1998)

My Heart Goes Swimming: New Zealand Love Poems ([With Jenny Bornholdt], Godwit, 1996)

Days Beside Water (Auckland UP, 1993)

Malachi ([verse novella], Little Esther Publications, Australia, 1993)

Great Lake (Local Consumption Publications, Australia, 1991)

Man with a Child’s Violin (Caxton Press, 1990)

Dunes and Barns (Modern House, 1988)

Location of the Least Person (Auckland UP, 1987)



News of the Swimmer Reaches Shore (Carcanet, UK, 2007)

Diesel Mystic (Auckland UP, 1989)


Creative Nonfiction

Pat Hanly (Ron Sang Books, 2013)

A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy (Auckland UP, 2011)

Euan MacLeod: The Painter in the Painting (Piper Press, 2010)

News of the Swimmer Reaches Shore (Memoir: Carcanet, UK; VUP, 2007)

Aberhart (Essays: [photographs by Laurence Aberhart] Victoria UP, 2007)

After Bathing at Baxter’s: Essays and Notebooks (Victoria UP, 2002)



An Anthology of Twentieth New Zealand Poetry  ([Vincent O’Sullivan ed.] Oxford UP, 1987)



Big Weather: Poems of Wellington (Penguin Random House, 2018)

The Colour of Distance: New Zealand Writers in France, French Writers in New Zealand ([with Jenny Bornholdt) Victoria UP, 2005)

Big Weather: Poems of Wellington, ([with Louise White], Mallinson Rendell, 2000)

An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English ([Jenny Bornholdt; Gregory O’Brien; Mark Williams, eds], Oxford UP, 1997)

'...we were there as faith-based writers, as believers in the mana of Oceania...' - David Eggleton

Read more