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Wong, Alison
Writer's File

Alison Wong

Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Wong, Alison
In brief
Alison Wong's poetry and fiction has been widely published in journals and her first collection of poetry, Cup, was published in 2006. She has lived in New Zealand and China. She has been awarded a number of key fellowships for her work, including the 2002 Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. Her first novel As the Earth Turns Silver (Penguin NZ) was published in 2009, and it was Fiction Award winner at the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
  • Primary publisher
    Penguin (NZ) and Picador (Australia) for novels, Steele Roberts for poetry
  • Rights enquiries
    Penguin Group (NZ), PO Box 102962, North Shore, North Shore City 0745; Picador; Steele Roberts,, Email: info[AT], PO Box 9321, Wellington.
  • Publicity enquiries
    As above


Wong, Alison (1960 – ) is a poet and fiction writer. Born in Hastings, New Zealand, she has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Victoria University of Wellington and is a graduate of Bill Manhire’s Original Composition class at the same university. Wong has lived and worked in Shanghai and New Zealand as an information technology analyst and writer.

In 1996, Wong held a Reader’s Digest-New Zealand Society of Authors Fellowship at the Stout Research Centre and a New Zealand Founders Society Research Award. She was a founder of Porirua’s now defunct Poetry Café. Wong was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 2002.

Wong’s first collection of poetry, Cup (Steele Roberts, 2006), was shortlisted for Best First Book of Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.The collection is described by Megan Fleming in The Lumiere Reader (14 February 2006) as, being ‘mostly accessible: there are the details of domestic moments, the wonder of a new child, the falling out of love – but she lends these subjects a humble and attentive form, drawing the reader in, to rest in the space between.’

Reviewing Cup in the Southland Times, Patricia Soper comments that ‘there is a geographic and domestic component to her work – small, everyday things re-created, elevated and lashed to the mast of sanity. A book to re-read.’

Alison Wong's poetry and fiction has been widely published in literary journals and magazines such as, Landfall, Sport, the New Zealand Listener, Meanjin (Australia), and Cha (Hong Kong). Her poems were selected for Best New Zealand Poems in 2006 and 2007.

Wong's first novel, As the Earth Turns Silver (2009) was published by Penguin in New Zealand, and Picador in Australia. It will be published in the UK, France and Asia in 2010. It has been reviewed favourably across the world, with a reviewer from the Epoch Times saying, 'She has produced a thought-provoking, deeply affecting work about the choices we make and the courage to stay true to oneself.'

Alison Wong recieved the 2009 Janet Frame Fiction Prize. As the Earth Turns Silver was the Fiction Award winner at the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and it was longlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Wong was the first New Zealand writer to join the prestigious Shanghai International Writers’ Program in 2014, run by the Shanghai Writers’ Association.

June 2023
June 2023