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Owen Leeming

Owen Leeming, 1982, in his Provençal village house, working on his second novel in French.

Owen Leeming’s Biography

Last Updated:
25/05/2020, 11:23 am
Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship 1970

Christchurch-born Owen Leeming, then a radio announcer, was granted a government bursary to further his musical composition studies in Paris. A year later, realising that he could not make the grade in music, he moved to London and, after a tough year of odd jobs, with his energies now turned to writing, was appointed talks producer at the BBC.

His early poems and stories were published in various English journals, including The London Magazine and The Guinness Book of Poetry. Caxton printed his collection of poems Venus is Setting in 1973. After a first return to New Zealand he was named a Unesco consultant in Africa. He then settled in Provence, writing poetry, short stories and radio plays (a dying breed unfortunately) and was the first to receive the Katherine Mansfield Menton fellowship.

A second Unesco assignment took him to Malaysia as TV counsellor and family planning expert. He then acquired a village house in the South of France and returned to writing, this time in both French and English. Dwindling finances led him to accept a job with the Club Med where, in Spain, he met his French future wife. Fortune smiled again when the OECD in Paris offered him a post as translator. He later travelled back to New Zealand with his wife, an experience which generated the poems published in 2018 by Cold Hub Press under the title Through Your Eyes. He currently lives in Paris.