My History with Horror


I will begin with withered leaves blowing through an empty fairground, tent canvas gulping and gulping, and the seats on the dark Ferris wheel creaking, rocked by ghostly fairgoers. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.


My first encounter with horror was a book of ghost stories I sneaked . . . → Read More: My History with Horror

Where Wake Came From


As a blogger’s introduction to Wake I’ve decided to transcribe what I wrote in my journal some months into my writing the novel. I had returned to it after a break, finally seeing what it was doing and what it might be for.

I have used letters or a long dash to replace . . . → Read More: Where Wake Came From

Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries

This is my speech for the launch of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries at Unity Books in Wellington, 3 August 2013. ‘Fergus’ is Fergus Barrowman, my husband, and Ellie’s New Zealand Publisher. I was honoured that Ellie asked me to launch her novel.

I have a habit from my student days of writing page references . . . → Read More: Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries

My Interview for YALSA

This is an interview I did for The Hub website. Julie Bartel provided the questions. It is mostly about my teenaged self.

One Thing Leads to Another: An Interview with Elizabeth Knox

Letting in the Ghosts: Why certain things are in Mortal Fire

Southland, showing main cities, rivers and mountain ranges. A detailed map of the Zarene Valley and environs with be added in later post.

I keep producing blogs that are highly finished pieces of writing, like essays. Which isn’t to say I labour over them, more that I keep feeling each has to be a . . . → Read More: Letting in the Ghosts: Why certain things are in Mortal Fire

My Workspace

My Workspace (without the customary cats)

I guess this piece could be titled ‘How I came to change the way in which I do everything’. It could go two ways—and I’ve decided it’s better to resist neither, to do both, even if one is personal and might seem beside the point of workspaces, and . . . → Read More: My Workspace

Next Big Thing

Margo Lanagan tagged me for this chain interview—her responses to the questions are here Margo’s Next Big Thing is her magnificent novel, Sea Hearts.

I’m tagging Dylan Horrocks. His answers should be up a week after mine. Dylan is in the home straight of his graphic novel Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. Yay!

Here . . . → Read More: Next Big Thing

Margaret Mahy’s The Other Side of Silence

Margaret Mahy’s The Other Side of Silence is my favourite among her novels. It is a book that conducts an argument about nature and nurture, the effect of fame on families; that explores the power of speech and silence, of belief and skepticism; and that argues, explores, and demonstrates the shape-shifting nature of story. Actually, . . . → Read More: Margaret Mahy’s The Other Side of Silence


Ray Knox

Between 1954 and 56 my father was a guide at the Hermitage, in the Southern Alps. I was brought up with Sefton and Sebastopol, shale and serracs. And with dad’s ice axe, which hung in the garden shed in Pomare, then the basement workshop in Wadestown, and finally in the garage in . . . → Read More: Hermitage

The Invisible Rider by Kirsten McDougall

The cover and illustrations are by Gerard Crewdson

I was pleased and privileged yesterday to launch this book at the Thistle Hall in Wellington. This is my launch speech.

I was fortunate to be present at the birth of Philip Fetch. It was during a workshop on world-building that my sister Sara and I . . . → Read More: The Invisible Rider by Kirsten McDougall