Laws, Michael

Laws, Michael

In Brief

Michael Laws is a writer and politician. He was a Member of Parliament, first with the National Party and then with New Zealand First, and in 2004 he was elected Mayor of Wanganui. His colourful political career is the subject of his political memoir, The Demon Profession (1998). Laws is also the author of the bestselling rugby biography, Gladiator: the Norm Hewitt Story (2001). He has had short fiction published in a range of journals, and his writing has been included in literary anthologies. He has also worked as a newspaper columnist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laws, Michael (1957 - ) came to prominence as a Member of Parliament, first with the National Party and then with New Zealand First. In 2004 he was elected Mayor of Wanganui. His colourful political career is the subject of his political memoir The Demon Profession (1998).

Often the subject of controversy, Laws resigned as an MP after a contretemps described in The Demon Profession as The Antoinette Beck Affair. The book itself was subject to two seperate rounds of litigation.

'[A] must-read for political junkies,' writes The Evening Post. 'He lays bare the vanity, ambition, jealousy, sycophancy and pettiness that swirl around Parliament and the Beehive... Laws is a clever writer who would have made a devastating gossip columnist.'

Laws described his second book, Dancing with Beelzebub (1999) as 'perhaps the only way to escape the restrictive nature of this country's defamation laws.' The implication is that the novel and the memoir are closely connected. There are certainly similarities between the novels protagonist and author, and many have noted the devilish theme connecting the two titles.

When the novel's protagonist, Regan Paul, returns from America to his - and Laws' - hometown of Wanganui, he is hoping to become the city's National Party candidate. Instead he becomes embroiled in a rather lurid mystery involving the deaths of two young children.

'[A] crackingly good yarn...' writes Warwick Roger in The Evening Post. 'Is this book Michael Laws’ revenge?' Michael Wall describes Laws as 'a natural thriller writer who instinctively understands the demands of the genre...'

Laws has published short fiction in One Hundred New Zealand short short stories: volume 4 and is at work on a second novel. He is a columnist for the Sunday Star Times.

A selection of Michael Laws’ short stories were included in Spectacular Babies (2001), an anthology of writing by students on Bill Manhire’s Master of Arts in creative writing program.

Laws’ pieces in the anthology were described by North & South as 'engaging', with one about lust in an old folk’s home being 'particularly slick', according to the Dominion.

In 2001 Michael Laws wrote a bestselling rugby biography Gladiator: the Norm Hewitt Story (2001).

'Remarkably readable, sometimes controversial and frank...' writes the Dominion. 'Hewitt’s refreshing honesty will appeal to a wide cross-section of New Zealanders. It will also be hard to beat as the New Zealand sports book of the year.

North & South writes: 'This sex and drugs and ruck’n’roll expose shows the dark side of our national sport with a rare, brutal honesty - and an almost exploitative relish.'

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated January 2017.