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Fearnley, Laurence


Laurence Fearnley is a short story writer, novelist and curator. Her short stories have featured in journals and have been broadcast on radio, and she has also curated and written about artists working in the area of craft. In 2003 she was selected as an Antarctic Arts Fellow through the Artists to Antarctica programme, and she has received numerous other awards and grants for her writing. She was the Robert Burns Fellow in 2007.


Place of residence: Dunedin
Primary publisher: Penguin
Rights enquiries: Penguin c/- Geoff Walker, Private Bag 102902, NSMC, North Shore City 0745, New Zealand. Phone 09 442 7400 or Fax 09 442 7401
Publicity enquiries: As above


Fearnley, Laurence (Jura Laurence Fearnley) (1963 - ) is a fiction writer and curator who has written extensively on New Zealand craft artists. She graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 1997 with an MA awarded with distinction in Creative Writing.

Her first novel, The Sound of Her Body was published in 1998. 'Extraordinarily powerful...' writes Fiona Kidman. 'Exquisitely realised... exact, sparing, lovely.' In 2000, Fearnley received a New Work grant from Creative New Zealand and published a second novel, Room (2000), which was shortlisted for the 2001 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Delphines Run (2003) was written in response to Breton separatist activity whilst Fearnley was living in Europe. Delphine, in her early twenties, works as the food trolley girl on the Brest-Paris train. She becomes an unlikely collaborator, or, an innocent player in a series of shocking events.

Butler's Ringlet (Penguin Books, 2004) presents a realistic and often touching portrait of a provincial male world, seldom covered in recent New Zealand fiction. Black and white photos taken by the author appear throughout the book, painting a vivid picture of rural New Zealand life.

Laurence Fearnley was selected as an Antarctic Arts Fellow in the 2003 round of the Artists to Antarctica programme jointly sponsored by Antarctica New Zealand and Creative New Zealand. Degrees of Separation (2006), was written following her Antarctic Fellowship. This novel focuses on themes of love and memory as three travellers return from a summer on the ice.

Edwin + Matilda (2007), the second in Fearnley's southern trilogy, is set in Central Otago and details the relationship between 62 year-old Edwin and 22 year-old Matilda, as Edwin uncovers the story of his mother's death 50 years ago. The book was runner-up in the fiction category of the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. It also featured on 'best book' lists in the NZ Listener and Sunday Star Times. Film rights to the novel have also been sold.

Fearnley's short stories have been published in a range of literary journals, including Sport and Landfall, as well as several anthologies.

Fearnley was the 2007 Robert Burns Fellow. She used her tenure to complete the final book in her trilogy of novels, set in Southland and Central Otago. The book, titled Mother's Day, was published by Penguin New Zealand in 2009.

Her novel The Hut Builder was published in 2010 by Penguin NZ. The book won the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction.

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