About Paula

Paula Morris (Ngati Wai) is a novelist, short story writer and essayist from New Zealand.

Her novels, published by Penguin New Zealand, include: Queen of Beauty (2002); Hibiscus Coast (2005); Trendy But Casual (2007); and Rangatira (2011).  Rangatira is also available in a German-language edition (Walde+Graf, 2012). Queen of Beauty won Best First Book (Fiction) at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Rangatira won the fiction categories of the New Zealand Post Book Awards and the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards in 2012.

Paula’s short stories have been widely published in journals, magazines and anthologies. Radio versions have been broadcast in both New Zealand and the US. Her first short story collection, Forbidden Cities (2008), was a regional finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Prize. She’s also the editor of The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2008). Her story ‘False River’ was shortlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award in the UK.

Paula has written four novels for young adults, all published by Scholastic in the US: the supernatural mysteries Ruined (2009); Dark Souls (2011); Unbroken (2013); and The Eternal City (2015). She has also written a children’s book, Hene and the Burning Harbour, published by Penguin in 2013 and serialized by Radio New Zealand.

A frequent book reviewer, interviewer and festival chair, Paula published her first long-form essay, On Coming Home, in 2015.

She holds degrees from universities in New Zealand, the U.K. and the US, including a DPhil from the University of York and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has been awarded numerous residencies and fellowships, including stays at Bellagio (the Rockefeller Foundation) in Italy, Brecht’s House in Denmark, and the International Writers and Translators’ House in Ventspils, Latvia. She has appeared at festivals in Europe, the US, China, the UK and New Zealand.

For ten years, Paula worked in London and New York, first as a publicist and marketing executive in the record business, and later as a branding consultant and advertising copywriter. Since 2003 she’s taught creative writing at universities – most recently Tulane University in New Orleans, and the University of Sheffield in England. She is currently convenor of the Master in Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.