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James Norcliffe

James Norcliffe was born in Greymouth. His family moved to Christchurch when he was young, and apart from periods spent in China in the late 1980s and Borneo in the 1990s, he has always lived in or near Christchurch. While James has always been a teacher, he has also been a writer and editor for many years. He has published a collection of short stories called The Chinese Interpreter, ten collections of poetry, and ten novels for young adults, including the award-winning The Assassin of Gleam and The Loblolly Boy.
James has been involved with Takahe magazine and has had a long and continuing involvement with the Christchurch School for Young Writers. Currently he is an editor for the on-line journal Flash Frontier.

He has edited anthologies of poetry, flash fiction and, with Alan Bunn and more recently with Tessa Duder, the annual Re-Draft anthologies of writing by young people. He was for many years poetry editor for the Christchurch Press. Since leaving Lincoln University, he has been heavily involved in writing and tutoring creative writing, mainly for young people. A new children’s novel Malory, Malory or the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy will be published by Puffin this year and his first adult novel will come out from Penguin Random House next year.

James has been awarded a number of writing fellowships and residencies including, among others, the Burns Fellowship, the Iowa International Writing programme, The University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence, and the Randell Cottage Writer in Residence.


Beyond reading and writing – and family of course – James’s great love is gardening and the environment. He lives with his wife Joan Melvyn at Church Bay, Lyttelton Harbour.

Selected bibliography:
  • Under the Rotunda (Hazard Press 1992).
  • Penguin Bay (Hazard Press 1993).
  • The Emerald Encyclopedia (Hazard Press 1994).
  • The Carousel Experiment (Hazard Press 1995).
  • Re-Draft 2 edited with Alan Bunn (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2002).
  • Re-Draft 3 edited with Alan Bunn (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2003).
  • The Fun House Mirror with Alan Bunn and Marissa Johnpillai (Clerestory Press 2003).
  • Re-Draft 4 edited with Alan Bunn (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2004).
  • The Assassin of Gleam (Hazard Press 2005).
  • Cupid on a Friday Night – Re-Draft 5 edited with Alan Bunn (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2005).
  • Tennis with Raw Eggs – Re-Draft 6 edited with Alan Bunn (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2006).
  • The Polar Bear Ward – Re-Draft 7 edited with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2007).
  • D.I.Y Graffiti – Re-Draft 8 edited with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press/School for Young Writers 2008).
  • Fishing for Birds – Re-Draft 9 edited with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press/ School for Young Writers 2009).
  • The Loblolly Boy (Longacre Press 2009).
  • The Steepest Street in the World – Re-Draft 10 edited with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press/School For Young Writers 2010).
  • The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer (Longacre Press/Random House 2011)
  • The Temptation of Sunlight – Redraft 11 (editor with Tessa Duder) (Clerestory Press 2011)
  • The Enchanted Flute (Longacre Press/Random House 2012).
  • Walking a Tightrope in Bare Feet – Redraft 12, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2012
  • Packing a Bag for Mars (Clerestory Press) 2012 (Selected poems for young people)
  • Mad Honey – Redraft 13, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2013)
  • Felix and the Red Rats (Longacre / Random House, 2013)
  • Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page, editor with Harry Ricketts and Siobhan Harvey (Random House / Godwit 2014)
  • The Word is Out – Redraft 14, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2014)
  • The Pirates and the Night Maker (Longacre Press / Random House, 2015)
  • They Call Me Ink - Redraft 15, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2015)
  • Leaving the Red Zone – poems from the Canterbury Earthquakes, editor with Joanna Preston (Clerestory Press 2016)
  • The Dog Upstairs - Redraft 16, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2016)
  • Dark Days at the Oxygen Café (Victoria University Press, 2016)
  • Twice Upon a Time: A very Good Very Bad Story (Puffin 2017)
  • Molten Mouth - Redraft 17, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2017)
  • Service Stations and Other Liminal Spaces - Redraft 18, editor with Tessa Duder (Clerestory Press 2018)
  • Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, editor with Michelle Elvy and Frankie McMillan (Canterbury University Press, 2018)
  • Hypnopompia - Redraft 19, editor with Glyn Strange (Clerestory Press 2019)
  • Deadpan (Otago University Press, 2019)
  • Mallory, Mallory: The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy (forthcoming Puffin, 2020)
Awards:
  • New Zealand Children's Writers' Bursary 1990.
  • Aim Children’s Book Awards Honour Award for The Emerald Encyclopedia 1995.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Major Children's Writing Bursary 1992.
  • Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago 1999.
  • Christchurch Press Literary Liaisons Honour Award 2003.
  • Residency Award, Island of Residencies Program, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre 2005.
  • Creative New Zealand Iowa Fellowship, University of Iowa, USA 2006.
  • Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2007 Best Novel Winner for The Assassin of Gleam.
  • Visiting Artist at Massey University, Turitea Campus 2008.
  • New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2010 Junior Fiction Winner for The Loblolly Boy.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2010 Junior Fiction List for The Loblolly Boy.
  • Ester Glen Award 2010 Shortlist for The Loblolly Boy.
  • Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2010 Shortlist for The Loblolly Boy.
  • USBBY Outstanding International Book List 2011 for The Boy Who Could Fly (The Loblolly Boy).
  • Otago University Teachers’ College Children’s Writer’s Fellowship 2012.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2012 Junior Fiction List for The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer.
  • New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2012 Junior Fiction List for The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer.
  • Storylines Notable Book Junior Fiction 2014 for Felix and the Red Rats
  • New Zealand Post Junior Fiction Book finalist, 2014 for Felix and the Red Rats.
  • Nominated for the 2015 Sakura Medal (Japan) Chapter Book Category for Felix and the Red Rats
  • Shortlisted for LIANZA Esther Glen Medal 2014 for Felix and the Red Rats.
  • New Zealand Book Awards for  Children and Young Adults Junior Fiction Book finalist, 2015 for The Pirates and the Night Maker
  • Storylines Notable Book Award 2016 (Junior Fiction) for The Pirates and the Night Maker
  • Randell Cottage Writer in Residence, 2018
Other resources:
 

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