Fiona Farrell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fiona Farrell
Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Otago, University of Toronto
Genrefiction, poetry

Fiona Farrell ONZM (born 1947) is a New Zealand poet, fiction writer and playwright.

Early years and education[edit]

Fiona Farrell was raised on a farm in Oamaru, in the South Island of New Zealand. Her father was Irish Catholic and her mother was a Scottish Presbyterian. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Otago in 1968.[1] Farrell moved to Oxford in the United Kingdom with her husband after graduating and was enrolled at the University of London in Art History. She and her husband then moved to Canada where Farrell completed Masters of Philosophy in Drama at Toronto University.[1][2][3] She worked as a drama lecturer at the Palmerston North Teachers' College and lived in Palmerston North from 1976 to 1991 and her first written works were plays.[4]


Farrell has held numerous residencies and been recognised for her writing in many ways including at the New Zealand Book Awards where she has been a finalist in all three categories, for fiction, non-fiction and poetry.[5] Her latest novel, Decline and Fall on Savage Street, was published in May 2017.[6] The Broken Book, (essays and poetry) was published by Auckland University Press 2011.[7] She used to live and write at Otanerito on Banks Peninsula with her partner Doug Hood, and until April 2017, their Otanerito Beach House was a stop over point at the Banks Peninsula Track. Farrell is now based in Dunedin.[8][9][10]

Awards and honours[edit]

She has won several awards for short fiction, including the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award and the American Express Award.

  • 1983 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award[11]
  • 1990 The Perils of Pauline Smith' (1990) won the Mobil Award for Best Radio Drama
  • 1991–1992 Canterbury University Writer in Residence
  • 'Chook Chook' (1992) remains one of Playmarket's most frequently requested scripts
  • 1993 The Skinny Louie Book (Penguin, 1992) won the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for Fiction[12]
  • 1995 recipient of the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship[13]
  • 2003, 2005 The Hopeful Traveller (Random House, 2002) and Book Book (Random House, 2004) were runners-up at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2003 and 2005 respectively, and were also nominated for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards 2003 and 2005.[14]
  • 2006 inaugural Rathcoola Residency in Donoughmore, Ireland
  • 2007 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement[15] worth $60,000.[16]
  • 2008 The Pop-Up Book of Invasions (Auckland University Press, 2007) was runner-up in the poetry category at the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.[17]
  • 2009 Mr Allbones' Ferrets (Random House, 2007) was nominated for the 2009 Dublin IMPAC Award
  • 2010 Finalist in the 2010 New Zealand Book Awards in the Fiction category for her novel, Limestone (Random House, 2009)[18]
  • 2011 Robert Burns Fellow[19]
  • 2012 Appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to literature, in the 2012 Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours[20]
  • 2013 Awarded the $100,000 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer's Fellowship to research and write twin books, one fiction and one non-fiction, inspired by her experiences of the Christchurch earthquakes
  • 2015 non-fiction book The Village at the End of the Empire: 100 Ways to Read a City was a finalist for the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
  • 2016 The Villa at the Edge of the Empire: One Hundred Ways to Read a City was a finalist for the Non-Fiction section of the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.[21]



  • The Skinny Louie Book (Penguin, 1992)
  • Six Clever Girls Who Became Famous Women (1996)
  • The Hopeful Traveller (Vintage, 2002)
  • Book Book (Vintage, 2004)
  • Mr Allbones' Ferrets (Vintage, 2007; Thomas Dunne Books, 2009)
  • Limestone (Vintage, 2009)
  • Decline and Fall on Savage Street (Penguin Random House, 2017)


  • Cutting Out (Auckland University Press, 1987)
  • The Inhabited Initial (Auckland University Press, 1999)
  • The Pop-Up Book of Invasions (Auckland University Press, 2007)

Short Stories:

  • The Rock Garden (Auckland University Press, 1989)
  • Light Readings (Vintage, 2001)


  • The Quake Year (with photographer Juliet Nicholas; Canterbury University Press, 2012)
    Image of Amy Bock on whose life Farrell based a play
  • The Villa at the Edge of the Empire (Vintage, 2015)

Essays and poetry:

  • The Broken Book (Auckland University Press, 2011)

Plays include:

  • Chook Chook (Playmarket)
  • In Confidence: Dialogues with Amy Bock (Playmarket). Devised for the WSA Conference at Massey University, 1982. Premiered at BATS Theatre.[22]
  • Waihi, 1912 (Playmarket)
  • Snap! Adapted from Dame Ngaio Marsh’s novel Photo Finish.


  1. ^ a b Tansley, Rebecca (October 2012). "A writer in her residence". The University of Otago. ISSN 1175-8147. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  2. ^ Sage, Lorna (1999). The Cambridge guide to women's writing in English. Greer, Germaine, Showalter, Elaine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-521-49525-3. OCLC 40298523.
  3. ^ "Farrell, Fiona". Read NZ Te Pou Muramura. January 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Fiona Farrell". Creative Giants of Palmerston North. Palmerston North City Council. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Fiona Farrell". Arts Foundation. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Penguin Books". Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Fiona Farrell interview – New Zealand Listener". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  8. ^ Newth, Kim (27 April 2018). "New beginnings for writer Fiona Farrell". Stuff. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Fiona Farrell". Auckland University Press. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  10. ^ Hayward, Michael (5 November 2016). "Banks Peninsula Track loses a day". The Press. p. A16. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  11. ^ Edmond, Murray (6 October 2014). "Plays and playwrights – Theatre into the 2000s". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Past Winners | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Katherine Mansfield – Menton Fellowship – List of Fellows". Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Past Winners | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Previous winners". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Prime Minister's Awards for literary achievement". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Past Winners | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Past Winners | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  19. ^ Zealand, Otago Fellows, University of Otago, New. "The Robert Burns Fellowship, Otago Fellows, University of Otago, New Zealand". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee honours list 2012". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  21. ^ "2016 Awards Shortlist | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Playscripts". National Library of New Zealand. 1 January 1982. Retrieved 19 September 2020.

External links[edit]