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His first novel, The Mannequin Makers, was published in 2013. According to Sam Finnimore in The New Zealand Listener, "The Mannequin Makers lives up to its cover blurb billing Cliff as a talent to watch – it’s tremendous, darkly entertaining and original from start to finish."
Cliff graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with an MA in Creative Writing. His column appears in the The Dominion Post. He participated in the University of Iowa's International Writing Program in 2013.