Morey, Kelly Ana

Morey, Kelly Ana



In Brief

Kelly Ana Morey is a novelist of Pākehā and Ngāti Kuri descent. Her first award-winning novel, Bloom, was published in 2003, with Liz Frazer describing it as consisting of ‘a wonderful combination of quirky one-liners and atmospheric prose.’ Morey’s second novel, Grace is Gone, was published in 2004. On an Island, With Consequences Dire was released in 2007. She received the Todd New Writers’ Bursary in 2003, the inaugural Janet Frame Literary Award in 2005, and the Māori Writer’s Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2014.


Morey, Kelly Ana (1968 - ) is a novelist, short story writer and non-fiction writer.

Morey is of Pākehā and Ngāti Kuri descent, and spent her early childhood in Papua New Guinea and later attended boarding school in Taranaki.

She holds a B.A. in English literature, an M.A. specialising in contemporary Māori art, and an M.A. Lit.

Her early career is filled with successful short stories. ‘Māori Bread’ features in two collections of New Zealand short short stories (100 NZ short short stories, Tandem, 1997; New Zealand short short stories: The Collection, Hinemoa, 2000). ‘Gardenia tree’ featured in the 2000 edition of Tandem’s One Hundred Short Short Stories. In 1997 her story ‘Tangiweto’ was published in the Huia Anthology of Māori Writing, and was a finalist for the Huia Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writing. Another one of her stories, ‘Cartography’, was published in the 2001 edition.

In 2003 Morey received the Todd New Writers Bursary. The award allows a promising published writer to work on an approved project at an early stage of their career.

That year Morey released her first novel Bloom, published by Penguin. In a review in the Waikato Times, Beryl Fletcher writes, ‘I have no doubt that she [Morey] will become a powerful new voice in the current crop of young New Zealand writers.’

Bloom received the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, now known as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. The judging panel said it was "a wonderfully accomplished first novel that reads like the work of a veteran writer rather than a first book author".

Morey’s second novel Grace is Gone was published by Penguin Books in 2004. Andrew Mcnulty wrote 'Grace Is Gone is a female larrikin novel written with a populist touch, and it confirms that Morey has found a winning formula' (The Listener, September 2004)

Grace is Gone was one of five fiction finalists in the 2005 Kiriyama Prize, an annual award celebrating books from and about the Pacific Rim.

In 2005, Kelly Ana Morey was one of two recipients of the inaugural Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards, worth $10,000 each.

The same year, Morey produced How to Read a Book as a part of the Awa Press Ginger series, ‘where aficionados share their passions.’ Author Witi Ihimara said ‘Funny, scintillating, wicked and thought-provoking, this is Kelly Ana Morey's turn as a literary Holly Golightly, hauling her arse through her life, her career as a New Zealand novelist, post-modern literature and God knows what else - all the while, offering personal advice to the booklorn on how to write and, in particular, how to read. Heaps of fun.'

On an Island, With Consequences Dire (Penguin NZ, 2007) is Morey's fourth book, a story of three friends and what happens when relationships turn sour. Debra Youthey reviewed the book and wrote 'There are a multitude of themes and time frames running through On an Island, With Consequences Dire that it could easily become a muddled and confusing mess, but Kelly Ana Morey isn’t an award winning writer for nothing, and she manages to rein in the undercurrents of potentially overwhelming imagery in the nick of time...Morey is a craftswoman, a spinner of tales, and a weaver of secrets that creates a uniquely Kiwi Gothic coming of age novel in which, ironically, no one ever really grows up' (Massive Magazine, July 2016).

Morey spent a period working as an oral historian at the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum. From this she produced the non-fiction work Service from the Sea (Penguin, 2008), a New Zealand naval history told through the collections of the Royal NZ Navy Museum.

Quinine was published by Huia in 2010. In her review for the Sunday Star Times Rachael Wallis said of the book, ‘...most dazzling is the storytelling itself. As a narrator, Morey hops deftly between character, time and place to pen a tale with superb twists and gender-bending turns...this is a sensational book, perhaps the best New Zealand novel I've read in years.’

In 2013, she wrote a centennial history for St Cuthbert’s College. St Cuthberts College 100 Years was written in collaboration with one of the school’s Old Girls, Nicole Stock.

Kelly Ana Morey was awarded the 2014 Māori Writer’s Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre.

In the residency she worked on the novel Daylight Second (Harper Collins) which was published in 2016. Morey believes this to be the first New Zealand literary novel about the race horse Phar Lap. In her review on The Reader, Kathy Watson wrote ‘Morey has created a tale which brings together all these elements with a very human touch: the love that Tommy the strapper has for Bobbie, the struggle of Harry’s wife, Vi, to feed her family on a sporadic income and finally the public interest in the success of this unlikely champion. It is the padding out of the facts with a human interest touch which makes the book enjoyable.’

Kelly Ana Morey currently lives in South Kaipara.


  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Penguin site
  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Academy of New Zealand Literature site
  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Huia site
  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Michael King Writers in Residence site
  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Te Ara
  • Kelly Ana Morey's profile on Awa Press site
  • New Zealand Herald review of Bloom
  • The Listener interview with Kelly Ana Morey
  • article on Kelly Ana Morey and writing Daylight Second
  • The Spinoff review of Daylight Second
  • Qutoe Unquote post on Kelly Ana Morey
  • Article Magazine article 'My literary inspiration: Kelly Ana Morey'
  • Kelly Ana Morey's short story 'Winter Fruit'

Updated February 2017.