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Shepard, Deborah
Writer's File

Deborah Shepard

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Shepard, Deborah
In brief
Deborah Shepard is an author, a teacher of life writing and a film and art historian. She has also been a Film, TV and Media Studies lecturer, and has written various entries on women filmmakers for the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and the Paris Le Dictionnaire Des Creatrices Les Editions Des Femmes. Her major publications include Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women, Between the Lives: Partners in Art and Reframing Women: A History of New Zealand Film, and Giving Yourself to Life: A Journal of Pain, Hope and Renewal.


Shepard, Deborah is a biographer, life writing mentor and teacher of memoir with a PhD in Film Studies. She began her writing career as a film and art historian. Her previous three books Reframing Women: A History of New Zealand Film (Harper Collins, 2000), Between the Lives: Partners in Art (Auckland University Press, 2005) and Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women (Auckland University Press, 2009) were critically acclaimed for documenting the contribution of women to the arts in New Zealand. Her first book Reframing Women was longlisted for the Kraus-Kraszna Award in 200. In 2013 Deborah was appointed the Autumn Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre where she now teaches introductory and Master classes in memoir. Her latest book Giving Yourself to Life: A Journal of Pain, Hope and Renewal is the first of her autobiographical explorations in journal writing and is the topic of a new website and a short film by Mairi Gunn with music composed by Flavio Villani. In 2014 Deborah returned to the topic of her first book and was commissioned to write an essay “Reframing Women: Gender and Film in Aotearoa New Zealand 1999-2014,’ for an international issue on women, gender and globalization for Diogenes, No. 245, April 2015, a Paris based Journal of Philosophy and the Humanities, published with the support of UNESCO by French University Press (PUF) and Sage Publications, London.

Deborah is also a life writing mentor for the New Zealand Society of Authors. In 2010 she was the mentor on the First Chapters writing programme in Manukau and Papakura, South Auckland, where she mentored 30 new writers and edited eleven of their life stories for the publication Translucence: Life Writing from Manukau and Papakura.

Deborah is a highly regarded teacher of life writing, with years of experience teaching at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Auckland and the Michael King Writers’ Centre. She also hosts a popular forum on her website offering life writers and opportunity to post their stories. The website is a rich source of life writing examples along with reviews, a definition of memoir and how life writing can help people discover their writing voice. There are samples of Deborah’s writing, tributes to major New Zealand writers and an annual update on Christchurch that explores the impact of the earthquakes on the people and a beautiful city. Recently Deborah launched an additional website to accompany her new book Giving Yourself to Life: A Journal of Pain, Hope and Renewal. This site also features the film about the new journal.


  • Deborah Shepard’s website
  • Her Life’s Work on AUP’s website