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Alterio, Maxine


Maxine Alterio is a fiction and non-fiction writer. Her first book was the well received higher learning volume, Learning through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning (2003), also published in the USA and UK. Her fiction has been broadcast on radio and anthologised, and she has also won or been shortlisted for national and international prizes. Her book-length fiction includes Live News and Other Stories (2005), and the novel, Ribbons of Grace (2007).


Place of residence: Dunedin, New Zealand
Primary publisher: Penguin Group (NZ), PO Box 102962, North Shore, North Shore City 0745
Rights enquiries: As above
Publicity enquiries: As above


Alterio, Maxine (1949 – ) writes fiction and non-fiction.

Maxine Alterio grew up in Invercargill, surrounded by books from an early age. As a child, she enjoyed telling stories and also wrote fictional fragments in notebooks, blissfully unaware that she was embarking on a writer’s life.

Alterio has a Master of Arts in Education and teaches at the Otago Polytechnic. In 1995, she attended a Creative Writing Summer School at the University of Otago, where she wrote a short story that was accepted for publication in a literary magazine.

In 2003, Learning through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning was published by Dunmore Press and acquired the following year by RoutledgeFalmer (UK and USA). Questia Librarians has rated this book as one of the 16 most influential books in higher education.

Alterio’s first fictional work, Live News and Other Stories, was published by Steele Roberts in 2005. Reviewing this collection in the Sunday Star-Times,Sheridan Keith wrote: ‘ … a confident, accomplished writer of considerable verve and range. Her stories can be tragic, wistful, quirky, profound.’

Her short fiction has been broadcast on radio and anthologised. She has also won, or been shortlisted for, national and international prizes.

Ribbons of Grace, published in 2007, was inspired by a conversation the writer overhead as a teenager: ‘When they laid out that Chinese miner they discovered he was a she.’ Set in the late nineteenth century, the novel begins in China and ends in New Zealand. Although the themes of love, loss, identity and alienation underpin Ribbons of Grace, it is also about the healing potential of friendship and the redemptive power of storytelling.

Alterio is working on Let your Heart Be, to be published by Penguin (NZ), which recounts the experiences of two New Zealand nursing sisters serving overseas during the Great War.

Alterio was vice-president of the New Zealand Society of Authors’ National Council from May 2003 to May 2006. She also represented the society’s local branch on the University of Otago Burns Literary Fellowship selection panel during the same period. In 2006, she appeared at the inaugural Leeds Metropolitan University Literary Festival. Alterio was accepted into the PhD in Creative Writing programme at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in 2009.

Maxine Alterio's novel Lives we Leave Behind was published by Penguin (NZ) in 2012.

Alterio was the recipient of the 2013 Seresin Landfall Residency.

Maxine Alterio lives in Dunedin.

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