Wareham Leonard, Louise

Wareham Leonard, Louise

Information

residence
Otago

In Brief

Louise Wareham Leonard is a fiction writer. She has also published poetry and short fiction in literary journals. Her first novel Since You Ask was released in 2004, and was published in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. It received the 1999 James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award for a novel in progress. Wareham Leonard has also been shortlisted for the Prize in Modern Letters. Her second novel, Miss Me A Lot Of, was published in 2007.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wareham Leonard, Louise (1965 – ) was born in Wellington and lived and studied in New York and in New Zealand, where she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2003. She has worked as an editor, journalist, book reviewer and librarian. She has formerly published as Louise Wareham.

Leonard's first novel, Since You Ask (Akashic Books, 2004) , was published in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. It received the 1999 James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award for a novel in progress. She has also published poetry and short fiction in literary journals Hotel Amerika, Quarter After Eight and Poetry. An excerpt from her novel in progress, Miss Me a Lot Of, was selected for The Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 1, in 2004.

Told in fragments, Since You Ask, is the story of Betsy Scott, a privileged young woman in her twenties, now living in a Connecticut asylum. The prose style is spare and cool in its delivery of a discomforting narrative.

Writing in The Listener, 19 March 2005, Jolisa Gracewood commented that ‘Wareham has managed a perfect marriage of style and substance. The prose is like Betsy herself – numb, bereft and seductively blank, both inviting and warding off our curiosity’.

Lori O’Dea reviewing Since You Ask in American Book Review, September/October 2004, writes that ‘Wareham’s great achievement here is her plotting, her control, the deliberate order and pace with which she reveals Betsy’s story, her skilful withholding’.

Louise Wareham Leonard was short listed for the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters.

Her second novel, Miss Me A Lot Of (Victoria University Press, 2007) tells the story of Holly, the daughter of a powerful and charismatic father and socially anxious, New Zealand-born mother. Hers is a story about the fate of beauty and attractiveness, and the tribute we pay to eros (description taken from the publisher). It has received much critical favour, with Louise OBrien in The Dominion Post (7 July, 2007) commenting that: ' ... my pages are dog-eared, each turned-over corner marking an image, an idea, a turn of phrase that is extraordinary in some way. Description seems redundant; the novel speaks so eloquently for itself.'

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated January 2017.