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Harvey, Siobhan
Writer's File

Siobhan Harvey

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Harvey, Siobhan
In brief
Siobhan Harvey is a poet, prose writer, editor, reviewer, and teacher. Her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications and anthologies and has been broadcast on RNZ. She has edited and co-edited several anthologies, including Words Chosen Carefully and Essential New Zealand Poems. Her first collection of poetry Lost Relatives was released in 2011. Harvey won the 2013 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award and her winning manuscript was published the following year as Cloudboy. She is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme, and can lead Professional Development sessions for teachers on any aspect of creative writing.


Harvey, Siobhan is a poet, prose writer, editor, reviewer, and teacher. She has worked as a creative writing teacher in Manchester (UK), and Auckland (NZ) at The University of Auckland. She is an NZSA mentor, the poetry editor of tākahē magazine, consulting editor for International Literary Quarterly and she has been the National Coordinator of National Poetry Day since 2009.

Her writing has appeared in a wide range of national and international publications, including Landfall, International Literary Quarterly, NZ Listener, The Press, and Meanjin. Her writing also features in several anthologies, including Swings and Roundabouts: Poems about Parenting (Godwit, 2008), and A Good Handful: Poems about Sex (AUP, 2008). Her work has been broadcast on Radio New Zealand. In 2009 she was Auckland Regional Council Writer in Residence at Awhitu Reserve, and in 2008 she was runner-up in the inaugural Bernard Gadd Memorial Poetry Prize, and runner-up again in 2009.

Siobhan Harvey was the editor of Our Own Kind: 100 New Zealand Poems about Animals (Random House, 2009). Paula Green reviewed the anthology in NZ Herald’s Canvas magazine, ‘Harvey’s anthology defies the pessimist’s claim that the market is flooded with poetry anthologies. Quite the contrary. A good anthology has the power to show off, both quietly and noisily, what poetry can do whether formally, technically, musically or in the light of the subject matter. It can send you greedily on the trail of the new voices, or wind you momentarily as you witness a familiar voice in a new light.’

Harvey also edited the anthology, Words Chosen Carefully: New Zealand Writers in Discussion (Cape Catley Ltd, 2010), in which 15 New Zealand writers and 15 literary critics engage in discussions about each author's work, the nature of writing and the place of land, culture, belonging, society, family and art in their work. Michael Larsen reviewed the anthology for NZ Herald’s Canvas magazine, ‘Words Chosen Carefully is yet another reminder that the breadth and depth of literary talent in this country by far exceeds what you’d expect from such a small nation.’

In 2011 her first book-length collection of poetry, Lost Relatives, was published by Steele Roberts. Nicholas Reid reviewed the volume in Poetry New Zealand, 'The problems of identity and artistic representation are presented. There is no pretense that they are solved or that a definitive statement can be made about them. That is why these poems live.' Cy Mathews reviewed the book in The Landfall Review Online, 'Harvey walks a fine line between meditation and fantasy and seems well in control of her poetry. Of the three books under review, hers is the one with the most satisfying sense of overall shape: an arc of poems in flight, cohesive, yet with a touch deft enough to remain also elusive.'

In 2011 she was a guest at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Indonesia. She was also runner-up in the Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems and runner-up in the 2011 Landfall Essay competition.

Harvey was shortlisted in 2012 for the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award, and she was runner-up for both the 2012 Kevin Ireland Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize (Australia). She was also featured in Best New Zealand Poems 2012.

She attended the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival and her essay 'A Boy Called Cloud' was Highly Commended in the 2013 Landfall Essay Competition. Siobhan Harvey won the 2013 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award, judged by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman.

Her second book of poems, Cloudboy, was published by Otago University Press in 2014. James Norcliffe wrote of the collection in Landfall Review Online, 'Cloudboy is a sustained and passionate account of the stresses, frustrations and more occasionally rewards of an autistic child’s developing interaction with the world... an admirable achievement... Cloudboy is a book that takes great risks but confronts those risks with courage and unflinching honesty.'

Patricia Prime reviewed the book in tākahē, writing ‘Harvey is a prodigiously talented poet and the poignant poems in this collection give readers a tender and detailed description of her child's imaginative potential and is a book that will be valuable to parents and teachers of children with autism.’

Harvey's creative non-fiction has been published in several American journals including Segue (Miami University) and Pilgrimage (Colorado State University).

She co-edited Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Random House New Zealand, 2014) with Harry Ricketts and James Norcliffe. Jane Orchard reviewed the anthology in tākahē, 'You can plunge in at any page and surface with a tiny gem... this is a valuable addition to anyone's poetry shelf.'

Essential New Zealand Poems appeared in the Nielsen Top 10 bestsellers list for a considerable period of time after launch and it was the New Zealand Herald's top book pick for its summer 'What We're Reading' spot.

Siobhan Harvey's poem 'The Evicted' was runner-up in the 2014 New Zealand Poetry Society International poetry competition, judged by Tim Jones. Her essay 'We the Evicted' was a finalist in the 2014 Landfall Essay Prize.

In 2014 and 2016, Harvey was shortlisted for the Janet Frame Memorial Award. In 2015, Harvey was again runner-up in the New Zealand Poetry Society International poetry competition for the poem ‘The Empty House Considered as a Ghost’ judged by Harvey Molloy.

In 2016, her long fiction ‘Black Origami Cranes’, originally published in Griffith Review 49: Asia Now and Asian Literary Review 28, won the 2016 Write Well Award (US). She was shortlisted for the 2016 D’Arcy Writers Residency on Waiheke Island.

A creative nonfiction essay, ‘Empty House’ featured in Griffith Review 52: Imagined Futures published in 2016.

In 2019, Harvey’s poem ‘Building Memories’ was longlisted for the Australian Book Review Peter Porter prize. In 2019 she won the Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems for the poem cycle, Ghosts. Also in 2019, she won UNESCO Dunedin City of Literature Robert Burns Poetry Prize for ‘The Dead – A Migrant Journey in Two Parts’.

A creative nonfiction essay, ‘When My Best Friend Came to Stay’ was published in the US anthology, Feminine Divine: Voices of Power and Invisibility (Cyren 2019) edited by Lara Lillibridge and Andrea Fakete.

Her creative nonfiction essay, ‘Living in the Haunted House of the Past’ was announced as 3rd in 2020 Landfall Essay Prize. Another creative nonfiction piece ‘Order, Not Chaos’ was commissioned by Griffith Review and appeared in Griffith Review 67: Matters of Trust.

The short story. ‘Ghostwriter’ was published in the anthology, Best of Auckland (Writers Café, 2020).

In 2020 Harvey was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship to complete her next book, Ghosts. Published by Otago University Press in 2021, it's a collection that explores migration, outcasts, the search for home, and the ghosts we live with, including the ones who occupy our memories, ancestries and stories. Ghosts was longlisted for the Mary & Peter Biggs Award for Poetry.


Siobhan Harvey is able to visit students aged 5 and over, anywhere in the country. She is able to speak about being a poet, a novelist and adult fiction writer, a storyteller and teen fiction writer. She can read aloud from her work, speak about her life and writing, take workshops, including gifted and talented workshops, answer questions and give a poetry performance. She also speaks French. Her preferred number of students per session is 10-12, with a maximum of 20. She is also available to lead Professional Development sessions for teachers on any aspect of creative writing.