Author James Norcliffe was born in Greymouth in 1946. His family moved to Christchurch when he was young, and was largely educated in Christchurch at Mt Pleasant School, Christchurch Boys’ High School and the University of Canterbury.
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 many 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, Tessa Duder and more recently with Michelle Elvy and Glyn Strange, 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. His latest novels for young people are Mallory, Mallory or the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy (2020) and its successor Mallory, Mallory: Trick or Treat published 2021, both with illustrations by Emily Walker. A novel for older readers The Crate and his first adult novel The Frog Prince come out in 2022.
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.