Paul Ewen

ANZL Member

© Nik Strangelove

Novelist Paul Ewen was born in Blenheim, New Zealand, and spent his formative years in Canterbury, primarily in Ashburton. His first book, London Pub Reviews (Shoes With Rockets, 2007), was called ‘a cross between Blade Runner and Coronation Street’ (Waterstones). His first novel, Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author (Galley Beggar Press, 2014) was a Book of the Year in the NZ Listener, the Irish Times, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Big Issue and has been published in the UK, Australia, Germany and Serbia. The Sunday Times described it as: ‘Inspired. A brilliant, deranged new comic creation’, and the New Statesman called it ‘a modern comic masterpiece.’

This was followed up in 2018 with Francis Plug: Writer in Residence (Galley Beggar Press), which the Spectator called “…the saviour of comic fiction.” Writing in the Guardian, author Nina Stibbe wrote: “Like its predecessor, this book is pure delight…hilarious and absurd but always compassionate.” And British comedian Stewart Lee called Francis Plug “the only writer that matters”.

After graduating from the University of Canterbury, Paul spent six years in south-east Asia, including four years working in Vietnam, before moving to the UK in 2002. His writing has featured in the NZ Listener, Sport, Dazed & Confused, Five Dials, the Times Higher Education Supplement, and the Guardian. He has been a contributor to anthologies in the UK and New Zealand such as New Writing 13 (Picador, 2005), and Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction (Auckland UP, 2015). Paul was runner-up in the UK Society of Authors McKitterick Prize in 2015, and was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize in the same year. He has participated in various international festivals as speaker and chair, and until recently was Writer-in-Residence at the University of Greenwich, London.

Paul’s book Francis Plug: Writer in Residence was shortlisted for the 2019 Bollinger Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.



New Zealand issue of Five Dials

The Spectator review of Francis Plug: Writer In Residence (2018)

Guardian review of Francis Plug: Writer in Residence (2018)

New Statesman review of Francis Plug (2014)

Guardian review of Francis Plug (2014)

The Sunday Times review of Francis Plug (2014)

Bibliography: Paul Ewen



Francis Plug: Writer in Residence (Galley Beggar Press, UK 2018)

Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author (Galley Press, London, 2014, reprinted in paperback edition 2015; Text Publishing, Australia, 2014; Goldmann, Germany, 2016)

London Pub Reviews (Short stories: Shoes With Rockets, London, 2007; reprinted 2008)



Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction (Auckland UP, 2015)

New Writing 13 (British Council anthology edited by Ali Smith & Toby Litt, 2005)

Various UK anthologies







Five Dials

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

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