I teach literature for the School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji (currently working remotely, due to Covid). Previously, I was based at the University of Colorado Boulder as the 2020-2021 Environmental Futures Postdoctoral Fellow. From 2018 to 2020 I was a Presidential Fellow at Northwestern University, where I defended my PhD dissertation in May 2020. My academic research focuses on contemporary protest narratives, poetry, and art created by Indigenous authors from Oceania. My dissertation won the AAPS's 2021 Tracey Banivanua Mar PhD Prize and the 2020 Hagstrum Prize at Northwestern.
I was born in Nelson, New Zealand, but spent most of my childhood in West Papua. My first novel, The Earth Cries Out (Vintage NZ, 2017) grew from these experiences. The Earth Cries Out was shortlisted for the 2018 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and long-listed for the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards.
I received my BA(Hons) in English and Master of Creative Writing (Fiction) from Massey University. I was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2016, and have had poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction published in literary magazines and anthologies in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Malaysia. I was shortlisted for the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award in 2013, and named AA Directions’ New Travel Writer of the Year in 2011.
My work has been supported by the "Deep Horizons" Mellon Sawyer Seminar at CU Boulder, Northwestern University's Presidential Society of Fellows, the Buffett Institute of Global Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Cluster at Northwestern.