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Jones, Tim
Author photo: Ebony Lamb
Writer's File

Tim Jones

Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Jones, Tim
Author photo: Ebony Lamb
In brief
Tim Jones is a fiction writer, poet, and editor. He is the author of two collections of short fiction and four collections of poetry, plus a chapbook, two novels, and one novella. His latest book is climate fiction novel Emergency Weather (The Cuba Press, 2023) and his most recent poetry collection is New Sea Land (Mākaro Press, 2016). Tim was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010 and NZSA’s Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship in 2022.
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Jones, Tim (1959 –) writes literary fiction, climate fiction, science fiction and poetry. He is also the editor of several significant literary anthologies.

Jones was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, UK and emigrated to Southland, New Zealand in 1962. He has a BSc from Otago University, Dunedin and a BA from Victoria University, Wellington. He has written about growing up in the flood-prone town of Mataura.

His short fiction and poetry have appeared in magazines and anthologies in New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada and Vietnam. 

Jones was editor of two anthologies, one of short fiction and another of poetry during the 1990s. The anthologies are What on Earth (1992) and Electroplasm (1993). Jones' first short fiction collection, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001. The writing in Extreme Weather Events was described by North and South as taking 'a satiric eye to the future, when the new right is old news and the environment is punch drunk. These vignettes of black humour are the work of an original talent.'

His first poetry collection, Boat People (2002) contains poems of journeys and returning, of separation and reunion. The Otago Daily Times said 'Boat People is full of tough, emotional content but there is also a purr and twinkle in Jones' poems.'

Jones' poetry has appeared in North and South, the NZ Listener and New Zealand Books. His poem 'The Translator' was selected for inclusion in Best New Zealand Poems 2004. He has been a frequent contributor to the literary journal JAAM.

A second poetry collection, All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens (HeadworX, 2007) has poems that range from Southland to Iraq. Reviewing All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens, The Otago Daily Times said 'His poems are quite compelling and infectious…. These are deliciously understated poems that offer something challenging and fresh.' And, in the New Zealand Herald, Graham Brazier said 'Each poem stands on its own merit, a polar opposite to its predecessor …. this man is surely one who should be watched with an excited eye.'

Tim Jones’ first novel, Anarya’s Secret: An Earthdawn Novel, set in the universe of the Earthdawn role-playing game, was published by RedBrick Limited in 2007.

Tim Jones' second short fiction collection, Transported, was published by Random House New Zealand (under its Vintage imprint) in June 2008. The 27 stories in Transported range from satire to science fiction, from mishaps in the mountains and at sea to an eager lover who isn't good at recognising faces. Transported was longlisted for the 2008 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. In New Zealand Books, reviewer Isa Moynihan called Transported 'dazzling and highly entertaining', and at, reviewer Mike Crowl said, 'None of the tales have that kind of super-seriousness about them that's typical of NZ short stories. Instead, they're an intriguing mix of tongue-in-cheek, subtle humour, history turned inside out, and sci-fi.'

‘The New Neighbours’, a story from Transported, was selected for inclusion in The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009) and in The Penguin New Zealand Anthology: 50 stories for 50 years in Aotearoa (2023).

In 2009, Interactive Press (Brisbane, Aus) published Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, co-edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones. Voyagers contains poems by A.R.D Fairburn, Fleur Adcock, Louis Johnson and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, together with younger poets. It showcases a long tradition in New Zealand of writing poems on science fiction themes.

Voyagers received favourable reviews. David Larsen wrote in the NZ Listener, 'The double take involved in reclassifying the likes of Marshall and Fairburn as science fiction writers is one of the least important of the many pleasures this intelligently organised, well-designed volume offers. ...The editors push the boundaries of the field out to their properly far-flung limits, which, for many readers, will be a revelation.'

Voyagers was listed as one of the NZ Listener's '100 Best Books of 2009' and won the 'Best Collected Work' award at the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. More information about Voyagers, including sample poems, is available on the publisher's website, which can be found in the Media Links and Clips section below this entry.

Tim Jones' third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained, was published by Interactive Press in September 2011. Men Briefly Explained explores all aspects of contemporary manhood, the humorous and not so humorous, where men are in relation to women and to society in general.

Commenting on the collection, author and poet Mary McCallum says: 'Tim Jones' new collection holds men up to the light with poems that are intimate and playful, smart and satirical. He focuses on the rituals and carapaces of men and the relevance of that gender in the future. Men Briefly Explained is an engaging and provocative read.'

Tim Jones co-edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (2014) with Australian poet P.S. Cottier. It anthologises Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magic realist and surrealist poetry from the 19th century to the present day. It includes poets such as Les Murray, Diane Fahey, Judith Beveridge, Samuel Wagan Watson, Peter Minter, Dorothy Porter and Dorothy Hewett, as well as many newer poets.

In 2015, Tim Jones’ novella “Landfall” was published as a stand-alone ebook and included in the Shortcuts: Track 1 anthology (Paper Road Press, 2015). Reviewing Shortcuts: Track 1 for Booksellers NZ, Angela Oliver said ‘We begin with ‘Landfall’ by Tim Jones, a chilling near-future tale. New Zealand has become a distant haven for refugees escaping a world altered by climate change. However, it is not, truly, a haven, for the beaches are patrolled, and outsiders − and those who aid them − are greeted with guns and hostility.’

Tim Jones’ fourth poetry collection, New Sea Land, was published by Mākaro Press in 2016. New Sea Land addresses the relationship between the land and the sea, and the changes in that relationship as the sea rises up to claim the land.

New Zealand Books called New Sea Land a ‘lively, assured new collection from versatile Wellington poet’, while reviewing the collection for Booksellers NZ, Elizabeth Morton said ‘The sea and the land couldn’t care less about where we’re heading. Jones writes so well, you might lose sight of the fact you’re getting cold water thrown at you. You can lick the salt off this poetry, by all means. But Tim Jones doesn’t give you halcyon coastlines or ice-lollies on the beach. This is poetry that knows what’s coming, and insists you ‘keep your life raft close at hand’.

In Landfall Review Online, reviewer Kay MacKenzie Cooke said ‘Jones has lightened the load of concern and care that the subject of ecological disaster engenders, with welcomed measures of humour and well-constructed, imagined worlds, both past and future. Poetry with an obvious agenda can erode originality and freshness, but not in this case: master strokes by a poet who knows what he is doing has removed this work many degrees away from the soap-box.’

In 2017, Tim Jones was the guest poet in takahē 89, with a selection of poems about music and musicians that focused on the lives of working musicians. Tim Jones’ poetry chapbook Big Hair was Everywhere: Music Poems (ESAW, 2019) includes these and other poems about music.

In 2019, The Cuba Press published Where We Land, a revised print edition of Tim Jones’ 2015 novella “Landfall”, featuring an Afterword by the author. Reviewing “Where We Land” for SpecFicNZ, Tabatha Wood said ‘Jones talks in depth about human resilience and the determination to survive. The ability to keep going even when all seems lost. He examines our humanity; how we respond to threats and challenges, but ultimately how we, as a global species, behave to one another. The tension is high, the characters relatable, and Jones deftly manoeuvres you into bearing witness to the unfolding plot. He places you squarely in both Nasimul and Donna’s shoes. What would you do if…? he asks.’

Find teaching resources for Where We Land here.

Tim’s poem “Restraints”, first published in takahē, was included in Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems 2022.

In 2023, The Cuba Press published Emergency Weather, a new climate fiction novel by Tim Jones. In Emergency Weather, three very different people find themselves in Wellington as the climate crisis crashes into their lives.

Reviewing Emergency Weather for Kete, Greg Fleming says:

“On the day I received Emergency Weather, the first thriller from climate change activist Tim Jones, Queenstown was under a state of emergency after experiencing the heaviest rainfall in nearly 25 years, while other parts of the country sweltered in record-breaking Spring temperatures - as if we needed further reminders of the effects of climate change after Cyclone Gabrielle (mentioned briefly here) and the Auckland Anniversary Day floods… Jones … writes compellingly from the perspective of three lead characters: a teenage Māori boy from the East coast, a newly widowed farmer’s wife from Otago and a climate scientist from the capital who is asked to contribute to a Ministerial Inquiry. The widow’s brother-in-law just happens to be the Minister of Resilience, whose job it is to prepare and respond to the challenges of climate change.”

Find teaching resources for Emergency Weather here.

    November 2023
    November 2023