Emma Neale

Emma Neale is a writer, editor, creative writing tutor and the mother of two sons. Her latest novel Billy Bird was shortlisted for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize in the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

She has held the Todd/Creative New Zealand New Writer’s Bursary and received the inaugural Janet Frame/NZSA Memorial Prize for Literature. Her novel Fosterling was short-listed for the youth category of the Sir Julius Vogel Award.

Her poetry collection The Truth Garden won the Kathleen Grattan Award in 2011. 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 long-listed in the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. 

Emma lives in Dunedin with her husband and their two young children.

For more info, read Emma's bio on the New Zealand Book Council website.


Photo credit: Graham Warman

Festival sessions held

Billy Bird

Emma Neale in conversation with Nikki Macdonald

Charming, poignant and funny, Emma Neale’s 2017 Ockham short-listed Billy Bird is the story of a family struggling with a tragic loss.  At the heart of the novel is Billy; a quirky, intelligent young boy whose own reaction to the grief surrounding him is to escape into a fantasy world in which he believes he’s a bird. 


Well Versed - a Poetry Panel

Poets Emma Neale, Brian Turner and CK Stead in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn

Three highly acclaimed New Zealand poets - CK Stead, Emma Neale and Brian Turner - read their work and tell us what poetry is to them.


At Home in Both Poetry and Prose 

Emma Neale in conversation with Nikki Macdonald

Emma mines gems from daily life and brings them to life on the page. Her latest novel, the 2017 Ockham-shortlisted Billy Bird, is a moving, insightful and lyrical exploration of family life. Her latest collection of poetry, Tender Machines, was longlisted for the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Emma discusses the cross over from poetry to prose, the wonderful Billy Bird and her own story so far.