Linda Burgess is a short story writer, script and television writer, novelist and reviewer whose stories take an ironic but tender view of the human condition. She was shortlisted for the Best First Book of Fiction in the 1995 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and was Writer in Residence at Massey University in 1997.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BURGESS, Linda (1948 - ) is a short story writer, novelist and reviewer whose stories take an ironic but tender view of the human condition. Her fictions are often characterised (and sometimes patronised) as social comedy or domestic fiction, focusing as they do on the revealing details of everyday life.
Burgess was educated at Massey University, where she was Writer in Residence in 1997. In 2008, she completed an MA in Scriptwriting at the IIML at Victoria University in Wellington. She has published collections of short stories, novels, non-fiction and reviews and has also written for television. Her works include Between Friends (1994), Remember Me (1997), On the Grapevine (1996), Safe Sex: An Email Romance (with Stephen Stratford, 1997), Writing and Presenting (1997), Small Packages: New Zealand Short Stories for Secondary Schools (1999), Allons Enfants (2000), Historic Houses: A visitor's guide to 65 New Zealand Houses (2007), and episodes for television shows Duggan and The Strip.
Between Friends was shortlisted for the Best First Book of Fiction section of the 1995 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Reviewing this popular novel in the Dominion, Ruth Nichol described Burgess as '[o]ur very own Joanna Trollope... Burgess writes with a gently ironic eye and she captures perfectly the moods and changes of the past three decades.'
Burgess' short fiction has appeared in journals including the NZ Listener. She was runner-up in the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Memorial Short Story Competition in 1997 and the Sunday Star Times Short Story Award in 2000. Of her short fiction, Nicholas Birns writes in Antipodes: '[t]he stories, luminous and memory-filled, are a distinctive contribution to the short story form.' Anne French notes in New Zealand Books that Burgess 'records what she sees sharply, vividly, and with great wit.'
A secondary school English teacher before turning to full-time writing in 1997, Burgess has also published books for students: Writing and Presenting (1997), Small Packages: New Zealand Short Stories for Secondary Schools (1999), Dont Look At Me, and A Passion for Fashion. She was previously featured regularly as a book reviewer on National Radio and currently reviews books for New Zealand Books. Burgess also reviews film and television for the Dominion Post and the NZ Listener and writes for The Spinoff.
Linda Burgess teamed up with Stephen Stratford to write Safe Sex: An Email Romance (1997), an epistolary love story which, as the title suggests, takes place via email. Her book Allons Enfants (2000) is the entertaining true story of her family's time living in France.
In 2006 she was on the judging panel for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards as well as the novice section of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award.
Her most recent work Someone’s Wife: a memoir of sorts (Allen & Unwin, 2019) is a collection of very personal essays exploring her childhood, marriage, life as an All Black wife, and a poignant and strikingly honest reflection on the death of her first born, Toby. Landfall describes Someone’s Wife as ‘hilarious and devastating, a sliver of New Zealand culture and history told through a single vibrant life and its entanglements with others’.
Linda Burgess for The Spinoff
Someone's Wife read by Linda Burgess on RNZ
Updated June 2022.