Fiona Farrell is one of New Zealand’s leading writers. Born in Oamaru and educated at the universities of Otago and Toronto, she has published volumes of poetry, collections of short stories, non-fiction works, and many novels. Her first novel, The Skinny Louie Book, won the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for fiction. Other novels, poetry and non-fiction books have been shortlisted for the Montana and New Zealand Post Book Awards with four novels also nominated for the International Dublin IMPAC Award. In 2007 she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction, and in 2012 was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.
The Broken Book, a book of essays relating to the Christchurch earthquakes, was shortlisted for the non-fiction award in the 2012 Book Awards and critically greeted as the ‘first major artwork’ to emerge from the event. The Villa at the Edge of the Empire was also shortlisted for this award in 2016. Her work, which the NZHerald has praised for its ‘richness — of both theme and language’, has been published around the world, including in the US, France and the UK. Beryl Fletcher praised Farrell for having ‘. . . the rare ability of turning the mundane events of domestic life into profound human experiences. Her writing is poetic, moving and literary.’