Emily Perkins is a writer of contemporary fiction, and the success of her first collection of stories, Not Her Real Name and Other Stories, established her early on as an important writer of her generation. Perkins has written novels, as well as short fiction, and her writing has won and been shortlisted for a number of significant awards and prizes. She was the 2006 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow, and she used the fellowship to work on her book, Novel About My Wife, published in 2008. She is an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award winner (2011) and her acclaimed novel The Forrests was released in 2012.
Emily Perkins' novel Not Her Real Name won the Best First Book Award for Fiction at the 1996 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
In 1999, Victoria University Press published The Picnic Virgin, a selection of writing from the most exciting contemporary writers, chosen by Emily Perkins. It offers some surprising perspectives on the New Zealand experience, seen from both home and elsewhere.
Perkins' novels include Leave Before You Go (Picador, 1998), The New Girl (Picador, 2001), and Novel About My Wife (Bloomsbury 2008).
The New Girl was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.
Emily Perkins was the 2006 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. She used the fellowship to work on Novel About My Wife, which later went on to win the Montana Medal for Fiction at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
Emily Perkins was the recipient of one of five Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Awards presented in 2011.
Emily Perkins novel The Forrests (Bloomsbury, 2012) charts family relationships, the nuances of growing up and aging, and the charged sensory thrill of daily life as seen through the eyes of Dorothy Forrest. The Hay Festival stated that 'The Forrests is our tip for this year's Man Booker', while Arifa Akba reviewed it in the Independent, writing: 'Extraordinary ... It is so sensitively rendered that you feel every detail, down to the blades of grass that grazes the children's knees ... It seems, in these pages, as if Perkins has a special gift for capturing a child's inner universe, but the talent extends itself as the novel progresses to the incandescent joys and devastations of teenage love, the compromises of mid-life and the tragedy of old age ... a magnificent novel'.
In 2012 Perkins appeared at the Sydney Writers' Festival and the Hay-on-Wye Festival through the Book Council's International Travel Fund. You can read an account of her time at these festivals by scrolling down to the Links and Media Clips section below.
Emily Perkins took up a teaching position at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters in February 2013.
Perkins' novel The Forrests was a finalist in the Fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.