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About Me

I’m an Aotearoa/New Zealand writer – mainly of poetry and children’s fiction – an editor and educator.


I was born on the West Coast (Kaiata, near Greymouth) but we moved to Christchurch not long after I started school. We lived first on Mt Pleasant and then at Riccarton.


I taught secondary English for many years until I took up a position in Foundation Studies at Lincoln University. Since leaving Lincoln I’ve concentrated on writing, editing, creative writing programmes for young people and mentoring.

I’m married to Joan Melvyn and we have two grown up children, Tom and Elisabeth and we have three little grandsons.


In the late eighties we spent a couple of years in China where Joan and I taught at Nankai University, Tianjin, and in the late nineties we taught for three years in Brunei Darussalam  on the island of Borneo. We currently live in Church Bay near Diamond Harbour.

In my writing life to date, I’ve  published a collection of short stories, eleven collections of poetry, most recently  Dark Days at the Oxygen Café (VUP), Deadpan (Otago UP) and Letter to 'Oumuamua (Otago UP). My adult novel The Frog Prince from Random Penguins was released in 2022.


My first poetry book (The Sportsman Hard Echo Press) came out in 1987 while we were in China, so I missed the launch.


I’ve  written a dozen or so award-winning novels for young people including the awarding-winning  The Loblolly Boy  series (Penguin Random).  My first novel for kids was Under the Rotunda (Hazard Press).  It was launched by the wonderful Margaret Mahy in 1992. I definitely made that launch. My most recent novels for young people include Mallory, Mallory: Trick or Treat (Puffin) 2021 and The Crate (Quentin Wilson Publishing) 2022


I’ve been the fortunate recipient of a number of writing fellowships both in NZ and overseas including the Burns Fellowship, the IWP / Iowa Residency in the United States, and residencies in Hobart, Massey University, Otago University College of Education and the Randell Cottage Residency in Wellington. My poetry features in journals local and international and I regularly read at festivals and occasions throughout NZ and overseas: Australia, the US, Canada, Colombia and the UK.

In 2022, I was awarded the NZ Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry.

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