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Laurence Fearnley

Laurence Fearnley, 2019 Arts Foundation Laureate receiving the award for literature

Laurence Fearnley’s Biography

Last Updated:
26/01/2021, 2:52 pm
Novelist - Writer
Arts Foundation Laureate 2019
Arts Foundation Laureate receiving the award for literature

Laurence Fearnley is an award-winning novelist, short story and non-fiction writer who lives in Dunedin. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. Her novels, including her trilogy Butler's Ringlet, Edwin and Matilda and Mother's Day, have a strong sense of landscape and are often set in small South Island towns. Her short stories have been broadcast on Radio New Zealand and published in anthologies and in literary journals, including Sport and Landfall.

Her novel The Hut Builder won the fiction category of the 2011 NZ Post Book Awards and was shortlisted for the international 2010 Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain writing and the Booksellers New Zealand Bestseller of the Decade. Her 2014 novel, Reach, was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Edwin and Matilda was runner-up in the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and her second novel, Room, was shortlisted for the 2001 Montana Book Awards.

In 2004 Fearnley was awarded the Artists to Antarctica Fellowship and in 2007 the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. In 2016 she received the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award, the NZSA / Auckland Museum Research Grant and the Friends of the Hocken Collections Award. She was the joint winner of the 2017 Landfall Essay Competition for her essay Perfume Counter.

In 2015, Fearnley worked alongside mountaineer Lydia Bradey to write Going Up is Easy, a climbing memoir that was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Literature Award. To the Mountains: a collection of New Zealand alpine writing, which she edited with Paul Hersey, won The New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival Book Awards’ 2018 Non-Fiction prize.

Bio courtesy The Book Council of NZ.