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Allan, Rosetta
Writer's File

Rosetta Allan

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Allan, Rosetta
In brief
Rosetta Allan is a poet, novelist, and short fiction writer. She has released two collections of poetry (Little Rock, 2007 and Over Lunch, 2010) as well as a historical novel (Purgatory, Penguin Books New Zealand, 2014). Allan lives in Auckland and works as Creative Director and Writer for Creative Exchange NZ. She was the recipient of a Michael King Writers Centre Summer Residency for 2018.
  • Primary publisher
    Penguin Random House

Allan, Rosetta is a novelist, poet, and short fiction writer. Born in Putaruru, Allan studied at the University of Auckland, obtaining her Masters of Creative Writing in 2017.

Allan released her first volume of poetry, Little Rock, in 2007. This was followed by a second, Over Lunch, in 2010. She was awarded Kathleen Grattan Award for best series of poetry 2010, and a Metonymy Award for best poem in 2010. In 2011, she was awarded a South Pacific Writer’s Lab Internship.

In 2014, Allan published her first novel, a re-imagining of the 1865 Otahuhu murders, called Purgatory. Reviewer John McCrystal noted her talent for characterisation, 'accomplished with a talent for capturing quirks of human behaviour, movement and appearance, along with an acute ear for dialogue, effort that isn't spared even for minor characters.' (NZ Herald).

Purgatory remained on the Nielsen Weekly Bestsellers list for two months, and was selected as an Apple ibook ‘Top Ten Best Reads of 2014’.

In 2016, Allan was the first New Zealander to take up the St Petersburg Art Residency, located within the Museum of Nonconformist Art in Russia, where she spent time researching her second novel The Unreliable People.

In 2017, she completed her Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland (First Class Honours), and was awarded a Sir James Wallace Masters of Creative Writing Scholarship.

In 2018, Allan was the recipient of the Michael King Writers Centre Summer Residency.

In February 2019, she took up the position of Creative NZ/University of Waikato Writer in Residence in Hamilton for the year.

Allan's second novel The Unreliable People, set in Kazakhstan and Russia, was published by Penguin Random House in 2019. Reviewing for the NZ Herald, Dionne Christian writes, 'she explores a complex mix of history, art and culture, family, contemporary life and what a beautifully difficult melange this can be. So, the story becomes more of a coming-of-age tale but a multi-layered and sophisticated one where the contemporary intersects with the historical.'

Allan was the University of Waikato Writer in Residence in 2019.

A third novel, Crazy Love, was published by Penguin Random House in 2021. Reviewing the work in Kete, David Hill writes: 'the profusion of detail – though this is a book where the spirit is very much in the specifics – does start to apply brakes to the momentum but mostly, the blend of forms builds into an engrossing, increasingly affecting narrative.'

Longstanding patrons of the arts, Allan and husband James launched their cultural philanthropy organisation the Crystal Arts Trust in 2021. Among other philanthropic activities, the Trust has assumed the sponsorship of the Best First Book awards at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.