Novelist and playwright Elspeth Sandys has published eight novels and two collections of short stories, and written numerous plays and adaptations for BBC Radio and Radio NZ. Her novel, River Lines, was long listed for the Orange prize in 1996. Her play, Rogues and Vagabonds (formerly known as Masquerade), was selected for the 20th London International Playwriting Festival in 2005, and shortlisted the following year in the Columbus State Theatre Playwriting Competition. In 2003 her short story collection, Standing in Line, was awarded the Elena Garro (PEN International) prize in Mexico. In 2014 she published the memoir, What Lies Beneath and in 2017 Casting Off: A Memoir.
Elspeth has received numerous grants and awards both in New Zealand and in the UK, including Best Spoken Feature in the 2012 NZ Media Awards for The Cave of Winds.
Elspeth was Burns Fellow at Otago University in 1995; Writer-in-Residence at Waikato University in 1998; was awarded the Writer’s Residency in Tasmania in 2004; the University of Otago Wallace Residency in Auckland in 2012; and held the Sarah Hosking Residency in the UK, 2005-6. She received the ONZM for services to literature in 2006.