Rainey-Smith, Maggie

Rainey-Smith, Maggie



In Brief

Maggie Rainey-Smith is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. She approaches her subject matter with fresh insight, extending the genre of women’s fiction in particular. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature as well as several other writing-based qualifications. Her first novel About Turns is set in Wellington and explores issues of class and relationships. Her second novel Turbulence is also published by Random House. Her third novel Daughters of Messene is published by Mākaro Press.


Rainey-Smith, Maggie (1950- ) was born in Richmond, Nelson and now lives in Wellington with her husband. She has two adult sons.

Rainey-Smith grew up in Richmond and travelled and lived in the United Kingdom and Norway in the early 1970s. She returned to Wellington, where she established a successful recruitment consultancy.

She has completed two undergraduate writing workshops at Victoria University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature as well as completing Owen Marshall’s Aoraki Writing Course in 2001 and the Whitirea Advanced Diploma in Writing in 2003.

Her first novel, About Turns, published by Random House in 2005, was a bestseller and the first New Zealand novel to be chosen by Whitcoulls as a Guaranteed Great Read. It explores class distinctions in New Zealand through the central character, Irene, who grew up in Petone but has married into the middle classes and is now a resident of affluent Karori. The plot revolves around Irene facing up to the members of her new book group about her past as a marching girl in Petone and the different responses she receives from her fellow members and friends from her past.

'Rainey-Smith frees herself from the constraints of a great deal of women’s fiction by steering away from romantic love. Instead, she explores themes of friendship, infidelity, literature and class in New Zealand.' (Kimberly Bartlett, Herald on Sunday)

Rainey-Smith has also had essays shortlisted in the Landfall Essay Competition 2004, and the Cultural Studies Essay Competition Takake 2004. She has had short stories and poems published by HarperCollins and Exisle Publishing and in Sport, Takahe and The Listener.

Rainey-Smith's second novel is Turbulence (Random House, 2007).

She co-edited Eastbourne – an anthology (Mākaro Press, 2013).

In 2014 she was joint runner up for the Landfall essay prize. She is also a member of three bookclubs. While researching Daughters of Messene, Maggie travelled to Greece, and ended up at the Mani home of travel writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, celebrating his Name Day with the locals – an unexpected blessing upon this story.

Rainey-Smith's third novel Daughters of Messene was published by Makaro Press in 2015.


Updated January 2017.