Jenny Robin Jones writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her short stories have been produced on Radio New Zealand, and have appeared in literary journals and in anthologies. Two of her books are works of New Zealand history. Writers in Residence: a journey with pioneer New Zealand writers was published by Auckland University Press in 2004. Her second book No Simple Passage: the journey of the ‘London’ to New Zealand, 1842 - a ship of hope, was published by Random House in 2011. Her latest book, Not For Ourselves Alone: Belonging in an age of loneliness, was published by Saddleback in 2018.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jones, Jenny Robin writes both fiction and non-fiction. She was exported to England with her parents at age three and spent her formative years there. Studying for a degree in sociology gave her a lifelong interest in how societies work and whether they work well for their members.
Returning to New Zealand at twenty-two she began her working life as a teacher. She was also Executive Director of the New Zealand Society of Authors 1988-2001, and the Editor of Education Today 2002-2004. From 1977-1990 she published under her married name, Jenny Moiser, and since then has published as Jenny Robin Jones.
Her short stories have been produced on Radio New Zealand and have appeared in literary journals such as Landfall and Takahē. Her writing has also been included in the following anthologies, Another 100 NZ Short Short Stories (Tandem, 1998), NZ Short Short stories (Tandem, 1999), and It Looks Better on You: New Zealand Women Writers on Their Friendships, edited by Jane Westaway and Tessa Copland (Longacre Press, 2003).
Her first book, Writers in Residence: a Journey with Pioneer New Zealand Writers was published by Auckland University Press in 2004. A review by Mark Williams in the Sunday Star-Times stated, ‘Jenny Jones, in a readable and refreshingly non-judgmental study, gives vivid life to some of the intellectual shapers of colonial New Zealand… Jones’ pioneers are the writers who come at the beginning of literary activity in this country’. Margie Thomson in the New Zealand Herald wrote, ‘Jones is an exhaustive researcher, but her light touch, obvious enjoyment of her subject, and eye for amusing detail lift these figures off the page and into our imaginations.’
Her second book, No Simple Passage: the Journey of the 'London' to New Zealand, 1842 - a Ship of Hope, was published by Random House in 2011. A review by Nicholas Birns in Antipodes said, ‘Far from just a documentary account of a single voyage, No Simple Passage is an engrossing read that can give a general audience a real sense of why people went to New Zealand in the nineteenth century and what life was like there. It is, though, even more compellingly, a venturesome exercise in a new genre of animated history.’ Tom Brooking wrote in The Landfall Review Online, ‘This book is very different from historical “faction”…., let alone orthodox history books. The novelty is appealing because it provides a fresh approach on the early settlement of Wellington… For her imagination, bravery and hard work she deserves plaudits…’
Her third book, Not For Ourselves Alone: Belonging in an age of loneliness, was published by Saddleback in 2018. It traces belonging in its broadest context. Jones uses her own experience to track how, in the modern world, we develop a sense of belonging via our individual self. In conversation with friends and family members, she records how others are finding their own ways of belonging in spite of difficult circumstances.
In 2020, she published Love America: On the Trail of Writers and Artists in New Mexico (Calico Publishing). Fiona Farrell writes:
"Jenny Robin Jones turns her sharp perceptive eye to the dramatic landscapes of New Mexico and the writers, artists, designers and photographers who found inspiration there. Travelling with a companion known only as ‘the old man’, she sets out on the trail of Cather, Lawrence, Adams, O’Keefe, Waters and the men and women who were their lovers, friends, enemies, hostesses, patrons, and supporters. Written with energy and directness, Love America blends the curiosities, frustrations and pleasures of travel with literary pilgrimage, social history, artistic critique and the sheer delight of discovery. Above all, Jones’s book is a touching testimony to the joy of a journey in the company of a good friend."
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Jenny Robin Jones' website
- Jenny Robin Jones on Calico Publishing
- A Kiwi’s Love Letter to the US: Interview on RNZ's Standing Room Only
Updated January 2017.