Born in Sydney in 1955 to an Australian father and a New Zealand mother, she is an award-winning playwright, poet and fiction writer who has published collections of poetry (Salamanca, Avalanche, Nefarious, Crumple, The Cheese and Onion Sandwich and Other New Zealand Icons and The Glove Box and other stories), a novella (The Diary as a Positive in Female Adult Behaviour), a novel (Secret City), a short story collection (The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep), and four playscripts. Her work has also appeared in numerous NZ anthologies. Love Knots was awarded the Bruce Mason Playwrighting Award in 1993 and Fact or Fiction was invited to be performed at the 2000 International Women Playwrights Conference in Athens.
She originally trained in drama and worked as an actor before she began writing in 1990. She is a past president of the NZ Poetry Society and was a founding member of The Women’s Play Press. She is a member of the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship committee (NZ) and the Varuna writing residency Alumni (Australia).
She has been the recipient of the Hubert Church Prose Award (Best First Book) and she has held many writing residencies including the Sargeson Fellowship (NZ, 2001), the University of Iowa International Writing Programme (USA, 2004), and more recently she was writer in residence at Massey University (NZ, 2006), and at the Hong Kong Baptist University (Hong Kong, 2006), and she held the inaugural Rotorua Writer In Residence position (NZ, 2007) and is a Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
She also has a listing in the Oxford Companion to NZ Literature and on the NZ Book Council site.