Orr, Sue

Orr, Sue

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Primary publisher
Random House, NZ
Publicity enquiries
as above

In Brief

Sue Orr is a fiction writer. She has a background in journalism and speechwriting and her first collection of stories, Etiquette for a Dinner Party, was published in 2008. Nicky Pellegrino wrote in the Herald on Sunday, ‘If you only have time for one new local writer in your life then make sure it is Sue Orr. Her debut collection of short stories, Etiquette for a Dinner Party, deserves to be a best-seller.’ Orr’s writing has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, and magazines.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Orr, Sue (1962 – ) is a fiction writer. She was born in Thames and grew up on a dairy farm on the Hauraki Plains. She attended Waikato University between 1980 and 1983, and completed a BA double major in History and French. She then attended Auckland Technical Institute in 1983 and studied for a Diploma in Journalism. In 2006 she completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Victoria University.

Orr worked as a journalist in Tokoroa, Tauranga, Wellington, London and Paris. In 1996 she returned from France to work as a contract writer and speechwriter in Wellington. She continued in this field until 2006 when she completed her MA in Creative Writing. She has been writing fiction full-time since then.

Her first book, Etiquette for a Dinner Party: Short Stories, was published in 2008. V.R. McBeth wrote in The Otago Daily Times, ‘Etiquette for a Dinner Party is a wonderfully diverse, yet believable collection of characters and maladies stretching across a classic New Zealand landscape.’ Caren Wilton, in the NZ Listener, wrote, ‘These stories are intriguing, sharp-eyed exploration of gaps and misunderstandings between people, and gaps between hopes or expectations and reality, with some nicely black twists and turns thrown in.’

Nicky Pellegrino in the Herald on Sunday says : ‘If you only have time for one new local writer in your life then make sure it is Sue Orr. Her debut collection of short stories, Etiquette for a Dinner Party, deserves to be a best-seller. The 17 diverse stories are poignant, wry and observant, there’s a real freshness about them and a strong seam of Kiwi-ness running through the middle. It’s hardly surprising that Orr made the long-list of this year’s Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.’

In addition to being long-listed for the Frank O’Connor award, Etiquette for a Dinner Party: Short Stories, also won the 2007 Lilian Ida Smith Award and was listed in the NZ Listener’s Top 100 Books of 2008.

Orr's second book, From Under the Overcoat, was published in 2011. It was a fnalist in the NZ Post Book Awards for that year, and won the NZ Post People's Choice Award. The judges described the stories as demonstrating 'a quickslivery virtuousity of response to classic short stoies drawn from the established canon of world literature. Her approach is conceptually clever, and an accomplished bravura exercise; but what really counts is her ability to make her tales in From Under the Overcoat her own with energetic inventions and skilful elaborations that pick you up and carry you along.'

Orr’s writing has appeared in the anthology, Best New Zealand Fiction 4, Lost in Translation and The Penguin Book of Contemporary Short Stories as well as Sport 35 and the online journal Turbine. Her short story,‘The Stories of Frank Sargeson’, was published in the NZ Listener in 2007.

Sue Orr lives on the North Shore and also teaches creative writing at Manukau Institute of Technology.

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Updated January 2017.