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Cole, Gina
Author photo: Vicky Leopold
Writer's File

Gina Cole

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Cole, Gina
Author photo: Vicky Leopold
In brief
Dr Gina Cole (MNZM) is a writer of Fijian and Pakehā descent living in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Massey University and is an Honorary Fellow of Writing at the University of Iowa. Gina has published two books, along with along with numerous works of short fiction, poetry, essays and reviews. Her debut short story collection, Black Ice Matter (Huia, 2016), won the Hubert Church Prize for Best First Book Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in 2017.
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Cole, Gina (1960 - ) is a Fijian Pākehā writer, born and living in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She originally trained as a barrister and solicitor, was admitted to the bar in 1991, and worked in this field until making the switch to freelance writing in 2018.

Gina holds a Masters of Creative writing from the University of Auckland (2014) and a PhD in Creative Writing from Massey University in 2021. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Wayfinding Pasifikafuturism: An Indigenous Science Fiction Vision of the Ocean in Space, conceives ‘Pasifikafuturism’ as a descriptor for science fiction written by Pacific writers, set in the Pacific Ocean, and featuring Pacific characters, culture, principles and values. It is aimed at a Pacific audience and anyone else interested in science fiction written from a Pacific Ocean point of view. It also enables examination of the impacts of colonialism.

Cole has published two books, Black Ice Matter (2016) and Na Viro (2022), both with Huia Publishers. Black Ice Matter, a collection of thirteen short stories, won the Hubert Church Prize for Best First Book Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in 2017. Na Viro, Cole’s first novel, was described in Landfall as an “important and enjoyable pioneering story” and an “extra-terrestrial gallop”.

Gina has also published numerous works of short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and essays in journals, collections and anthologies. Her writing appears in The Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms (Routledge, 2023), Pacific Arts Aotearoa (Penguin, 2023), First Peoples Shared Stories (Flametree, 2022), A Kind of Shelter Whakaruru-Taha (Massey University Press, 2023), Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa (AUP, 2021), Vā, Stories by Women of the Moana (Tatou, 2021), Black Marks on the White Page (Vintage, 2017), and many others. She also reviews for Landfall.

Cole identifies as vaka sa lewalewa and has featured in the 2017, 2018, and 2020 Same Same But Different literary festival programmes. In 2022 she delivered the Peter Wells Lecture at the festival, discussing the legacy of LGBTQI+ writing, the role it has to play in queer liberation, and who gets to write the narrative. She also won the Auckland Pride Festival ‘Alternative Bindings’ creative writing competition in 2014 for her poem ‘Airport Aubade’.

Cole is passionate about representation in science fiction literature, and says that “the current reality is that science fiction is dominated by a middle class, white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male point of view. It is important to counter that, and offer alternative futures where we, as queer Pasifika people, exist and are thriving…Science fiction can be used as a tool to write about culture and queer identity, especially in the afterlife of imperialism and colonialism in the Pacific.”

In 2018 Gina attended the International Writers Programme at Iowa University, Iowa, USA. In

2021, she was a writer-in-residence at the Michael King Writers Centre and the inaugural Pasifika curator at the Auckland Writers Festival. In 2022, she followed this with the inaugural Varuna International Residency Program: New Zealand, in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia, a partnership between the Michael King Writers Centre and Varuna Writers' House.

Cole was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature in the 2023 New Year Honours. Also in 2023, Gina was awarded the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency, allowing her three months at the Centre For Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa to work on the second novel in her Turukawa Trilogy.

November 2023
November 2023