Nina Mingya Powles

ANZL Member

Nina Mingya Powles is a poet, essayist, zinemaker and editor from Wellington. In 2019 she won the Landfall Essay Competition and the Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing. Her first full-length poetry collection, Magnolia 木蘭 (Seraph Press) was shortlisted for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best First Book of Poetry and the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Nina has won the Women Poets Prize (2018), Jane Martin Prize for Poetry (2018) and the Biggs Prize for Poetry (2015). She is the author of several poetry chapbooks and zines, as well as a food memoir, Tiny Moons (The Emma Press, 2020). She is the founding editor of Bitter Melon, a small press that publishes limited-edition pamphlets by Asian poets, and is the Digital Editor of the international literary magazine Wasafiri.

Nina has participated in several festivals including in 2019 the Verb Festival (Wellington), Timber Festival (UK)  and the Wealden Literary Festival. In 2020 she was part of the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and online in the Durham Book Festival and Manchester Lit Festival.

Her debut collection of essays, Small Bodies of Water (Canongate/Allen & Unwin, 2021) explores the bodies of water that separate and connect us, as well as everything from migration, food, family, earthquakes, and the ancient lunisolar calendar to butterflies. In lyrical, powerful prose, Small Bodies of Water weaves together personal memories, dreams and nature writing. It reflects on a girlhood spent growing up between two cultures, and explores what it means to belong.



Nina’s website

The Guardian ‘Review Roundup’ announces the collections up for the Forward poetry prizes (July, 2020)

London Review poem of the week ‘Faraway Love’ (June, 2020)

Pantograph Punch review of Tiny Moons (April, 2020)

The Guardian announcement of the inaugaral Women Poets’ Prize (Oct, 2018)

New releases by Nina Mingya Powles

Small Bodies of Water (essays)

Published by Canongate/Allen & Unwin on August 5, 2021

Bibliography: Nina Mingya Powles



Small Bodies of Water (Canongate/Allen & Unwin, 2021)

Magnolia 木蘭 (Seraph Press, 2020)

Luminescent (Seraph Press, 2017)

Girls of the Drift (poetry chapbook: Seraph Press, 2014)


Creative Non fiction

Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai  (The Emma Press, 2020)

'Character to some extent is much a construction of the reader as it is of the writer.' - Lloyd Jones

Read more