Helen Lowe is a fiction writer, poet and broadcaster. Her writing has appeared in journals, magazines and in print and online anthologies. She has won awards for her fiction and poetry and her first novel Thornspell (2008) garnered significant recognition in New Zealand and in the USA. Thornspell was selected as a Storylines New Zealand Children's Literature Trust Notable Book (2008), and won the Sir Julius Vogel Award (2009) for Best Novel, Young Adult. Helen herself won the Sir Julius Vogel award for Best New Talent, also in 2009.
Place of residence: Christchurch
Lowe, Helen (1961 – ) writes speculative fiction novels, poetry, and both speculative and literary short fiction. She was born in Wellington and attended schools in New Zealand and Singapore. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Geography from the University of Waikato. In 1982, Lowe was awarded the KM Bell Memorial Prize (Geography). She continued her education at the University of Stockholm and in 1984 earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Science.
Helen Lowe has worked professionally as a planner, environmental manager, and a writer. Her poetry won the Previously Unpublished Category of the Robbie Burns Poetry Competition in 2003, and the A20 Poetry Competition (Australia) in 2007. She has had fiction and poetry published in journals and magazines, including the NZ Listener, Takahe, nzepc, Blackmail Press, Poetry NZ, JAAM, and Bravado. Her writing has also been anthologized in print and online.
Her first book, Thornspell, was published in 2008 by Knopf (Random House Children’s Books) in the USA. Thornspell has garnered significant recognition and was on the 2009 Storylines Notable Book List, as well as winning Best Novel, Young Adult at the 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Lowe was also voted Best New Talent at the same awards.
About Thornspell, a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews writes, ‘A narrative that begins as an exploration of fairy-tale archetypes…moves into a very human and nevertheless magical drama. Thoughtful and understated.’ In Canvas magazine Frances Grant writes, ‘The winner of a Robbie Burns poetry award brings her lyrical skills to this reinvention of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale… Lowe gives what might have been yet another fantasy quest story a darkly imaginative and sensual dimension as her hero fights his way between his world and the strange faerie realm.’
Lowe’s upcoming work, The Wall of Night (2010) is the first in a 4-book epic fantasy that is to be published by Eos (Harper Collins USA) in late 2010.
Helen Lowe was awarded the 2012 Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing.
writers in schools information
Helen Lowe is available to participate in school visits as part of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme. She is able to speak to students 7 years and above, and can talk about being a writer, poet, novelist and fiction writer, as well as a teen fiction writer. Helen Lowe is able to travel to schools outside of her region given sufficient notice.
- Helen Lowe’s website
- Thornspell website
- Review of Thornspell on National Library Blog
- Thornspell review on The Well Read Child blog
- Thornspell review on the Book Loons site
- Thornspell review on The Celebrity Café website
- Tim Jones interview with Helen Lowe
- Graham Beattie interviews Helen Lowe on Beatties Bookblog