Diane is a novelist, memoirist, and poet who runs an online and face to face creative writing school, Creative Writing Dunedin.
During her residency – our sixth for the year, Diane is working on a poetry biography, All the Women [working title] based on her maternal ancestors. She says ‘Although this is a personal exploration of my ancestors, I consider it has a wider relevance to many Pakeha New Zealanders whose ancestors arrived in the 19th century. Many, like past members of my own family, seemed determined to put the past behind them and never spoke of their origins. Stories told by grandparents and great-grandparents were often exaggerated or invented; but with the advent of genealogical sites it is now possible to discover some of the bare facts, if not the emotional truths, of their lives. All the Women would be the Pakeha equivalent of reciting whakapapa. There is, perhaps, a sense of shame felt by many Pakeha regarding their colonial ancestry. But I think we are now at a time when many want to know where they came from and if there is such a thing as genetic memory. I believe such knowledge is vital to having a sense of ourselves’.
Diane’s publications include two collections of poetry – Before The Divorce We Go To Disneyland, (winner of Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry), and Learning to Lie Together; two novels, If The Tongue Fits, and verse novel, Eight Stages of Grace; a travel memoir, Liars and Lovers, a prose/poetic travel memoir, Here Comes Another Vital Moment and a poetic family memoir, Taking My Mother To The Opera, Otago University Press (2015).
She has held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and was an inaugural fellow at the Michael King Writer’s Studio. She won the Janet Frame Memorial Award in 2012 and the Beatson Fellowship in 2013.
In 2013 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to writing and education. She lives in Dunedin with her husband, author Philip Temple.