Associate Professor Sarah Shieff

Graduate Student Adviser (English)
Convenor of Writing Studies
Convenor of NZ Studies/Akoranga Aotearoa

Qualifications: MA, PhD Auckland

School of Arts


About Sarah

Sarah's main teaching and research areas are New Zealand literature and cultural history, literary theory, food writing, contemporary Jewish writing and Gothic fiction.

She convenes the University of Waikato's Writing Studies programme and edits the Journal of New Zealand Literature. Her most recent book is a scholarly edition of the letters of Frank Sargeson (Vintage 2012).


New Zealand writing and New Zealand music history; the Gothic in film and fiction.

Featured Publications

Books and Editions:

Letters of Frank Sargeson (Auckland: Random House, 2012) 631 pp.

Speaking Frankly: The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lectures 2003-2010, edited by Sarah Shieff (Auckland: Cape Catley, 2011). 200pp.

Talking Music: Conversations with New Zealand Musicians. (Auckland University Press, 2002) 206 pp.

Letters of Frank Sargeson Speaking Frankly Book Cover - Talking Music

Chapters in Books:

‘Nathan’s Kin: The contribution of Jews to Music in New Zealand’ Jewish Lives in New Zealand: A History ed. by Leonard Bell and Diana Morrow (Auckland: Random House, 2011) pp. 28-49.

"the bone people: Contexts and Reception, 1984-2004" in The Pain of Unbelonging: Alienation and Identity in Australasian Literature ed. by Sheila Collingwood-Whittick. With a preface by Germaine Greer. (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2007) pp. 143-163.

"Well-laundered Elves: purity and degeneration in Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings" in Gothic NZ: The Darker  Side of Kiwi Culture ed. by Misha Kavka, Jenny Lawn and Mary Paul.  (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2006) pp111-119.

"Devouring Women: Corporeality and Autonomy in Recent Fiction by Women." Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression. Eds. Kathleen LeBesco and Jana Evans Braziel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001) pp214-230.

Jewish Lives in New Zealand Gothic NZBodies Out Of Bounds Book Cover (image)

Recent Publications

  • Birns, N., Moore, N., & Shieff, S. (2017). Introduction. In N. Birns, N. Moore, & S. Shieff (Eds.), Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature (Options for Teaching) (pp. 1-11). New York: Modern Language Association of America.

  • Shieff, S. (2017). Frank Sargeson and The right colonial tradition. In N. Birns, N. Moore, & S. Shieff (Eds.), Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature (Options for Teaching) (pp. 101-110). New York: Modern Language Association of America.

  • Shieff, S. (2015). Frank Sargeson and the 'right colonial tradition'. In 130th Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention. Conference held at Vancouver, Canada.

  • Shieff, S. (2015). Editorial. Journal of New Zealand Literature, 33, 5-6.

View all research publications by Sarah Shieff

Papers Taught


Recent and Current Graduate Supervision areas include:

  • Hypermasculinity in transgressive fiction
  • Food in British writing in the years of austerity, 1939-54
  • World War I  in New Zealand Fiction.
  • Re-framing the Waikato: the colonial photographic and cartographic archive
  • Agentic nudity:  the presentation of unclothed women’s body in literature
  • Sacrifice in fantasy fiction
  • An Inclusive Dramaturgical Kaupapa for Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Female Werewolves
  • Fin-de-sicle detective fiction, surveillance and the invention of the homosexual
  • Reading the Aging Woman: The Crone in Fiction
  • Food in the Holocaust narratives of Primo Levi and Art Spiegelman
  • Philip Roth's 'Zukerman' novels

Supervision Interests

New Zealand literature and cultural history; food writing; contemporary Jewish writing; trauma studies; gothic fiction.

Associations and Memberships

Journal of New Zealand Literature

International Advisory Board:
Journal of Postcolonial Writing

Contributing and Consulting Editor:
Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics

Editorial Advisory Board:
Journal of New Zealand Studies

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Shieff, AProf Sarah 8425 sshieff I.3.27 English Programme