May 2019 saw VUP’s publication of my latest biography, Shirley Smith: An Examined Life. At the time of writing, this has just been long-listed in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. My other biographies are The Violinist: Clare Galambos Winter, Holocaust Survivor (VUP 2011) and Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life (VUP 2006). I also co-authored with Allan Bollard the bestseller, Crisis: One Central Governor and the Global Financial Collapse (AUP 2010).
These books all bring to the fore aspects of social, political and cultural history from the varying viewpoints of their subjects. All seek to convey the human strengths and frailties of their remarkable subjects who left significant legacies.
So too does my latest project, a biography of Brigadier Reginald Miles, 1892–1943. Miles was a gunner, a regular soldier, distinguished hero of two world wars, Commander of the Royal Artillery in the second. In the words of his divisional artillery sergeant-major, Charles Dennistoun-Wood, Reg Miles was ‘our ideal of all that one who commands men should be’. He was also a devoted son, husband, father, observer of people, events and the politics that shaped them. I find all this fascinating and challenging as it takes me into into new territory. I enjoy great collaboration with members of the New Zealand Artillery Heritage Trust who initiated the project, and the family of Reg Miles whose collection of letters, diaries and memoirs form the heart of the biography.
Before settling to biography, I worked as a freelance writer, publishing travel writing, profiles, features on the arts, urban and landscape design and architecture, and children’s readers. Interviewing for articles led to oral history and that remains a significant aspect of my work.
My husband Dimitrios (Taki) and and I have brought up three sons and now enjoy our grandchildren.
Finally, one of my most rewarding, long-time interests has been singing with the Orpheus Choir of Wellington. It continues to enrich my life.