Pip Adam is a writer, novelist and creative writing teacher living in Wellington. Pip has published three books: Everything We Hoped For (2010), I am Working on a Building (2013) and The New Animals (2017). The New Animals won the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the 2018 Ockham Book Awards. Her work has appeared widely in publications in Aotearoa and overseas including Sport, Turbine, Hue & Cry, Landfall, Metro, JAAM, Pantograph Punch, Five Dials and Van voor af aan. She has written for publications produced in conjunction with exhibitions at Wellington City Gallery and her reviews have appeared in the New Zealand Listener, New Zealand Books and on Radio New Zealand.
Pip Adam was born in Christchurch and raised in Auckland . She left school at 16 and worked as a hairdresser for 15 years between studying and writing. At 23 she Pip studied at the New Zealand Film and Television School. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Otago University in 2000. In 2001 Pip moved to Wellington to complete a Master of Library and Information Studies at Victoria University. She completed a second MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2007. In 2012 Pip completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her thesis asked in what ways the language of structural engineering can inform, alter and enlarge fiction.
Pip’s first book of short stories, Everything We Hoped For was published by Victoria University Press in 2010. In a review for The New Zealand Herald, Paula Green compared these stories to a ‘reduced stock’ combining ‘time’ and ‘a handful of carefully selected ingredients.’ She explains, ‘by sticking to the heart of the story and a piercing emotional core,’ Pip produces ‘intensity of flavour.’ Everything We Hoped For was awarded the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction at the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
Pip’s next book and debut novel, I’m Working on a Building, was published by Victoria University Press in 2013. The novel was born out of the creative component of her PhD. The story revolves around Catherine, a structural engineer. The chronology of the story is told in reverse. Carl Shuker writes that for those paying attention every chapter provides context for the earlier episodes. ‘A collapse becomes a crack. We assemble the novel; we assemble the story and do so on every reread. You have to do this work to get this thrill.’ I’m Working on a Building has been described as complicated, clever, and challenging.
Pip’s third and most recent book, The New Animals, was published by Victoria University Press in 2017. The New Animals won the Acorn Foundation Prize for fiction at the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, New Zealand’s biggest award for fiction. The New Animals was praised by the category judges as a ‘confrontational, revelatory novel that holds a mirror up to contemporary New Zealand culture.’ They said that the book was ‘so vivid in imagery and imagination that the judges haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It’s the book with the most blood on the page. It will give you an electric shock.’
Pip co-convened the MA in Creative Writing at the IIML with Chris Price in the first half of 2016. She has taught the short fiction workshop at the IIML alongside William Brandt. She has also taught fiction and creative non-fiction at Massey University. She has served as an external examiner for Auckland University and Victoria University, and also acted as a mentor for the Whitireia Diploma in Creative Writing.
Alongside William Brandt and Gigi Fenster, Pip is a part of the Write Where You Are Collective, teachers of creative writing at Arohata and Rimutaka Prisons. The Collective members received Corrections Volunteer Awards in 2016 and a Highly Commended Citation in the 2017 Arts Access Corrections Community Awards.
Pip was the recipient of the 2012 Art Foundation New Generation award.
Pip created and produces the Better Off Read podcast where she talks with authors about writing and reading.
Updated July 2018.