Associate Professor Sarah Shieff

Qualifications: MA, PhD Auckland

([email protected])

About Sarah

Sarah's main teaching  and research areas are New Zealand literature and cultural history, food writing, the literature of trauma and Gothic fiction. She is the convenor of the University of Waikato's Writing Studies programme, and edited the Journal of New Zealand Literature, 2005-15.

Sarah is the editor of Letters of Denis Glover (University of Otago Press, 2020) and Letters of Frank Sargeson (Vintage, 2012). In 2019 the Friends of the Turnbull Library awarded her their centennial grant to support her research on a scholarly edition of the letters of Allen Curnow.


New Zealand literature and cultural history; food writing; the literature of trauma; scholarly editing.


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

Featured Publications

Books and Editions:

Letters of Denis Glover (Otago University Press, 2020)

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 SargesonSpeaking FranklyBook 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 ZealandGothic NZBodies Out Of Bounds Book Cover (image)

Recent Publications

  • King, R., Morris, P., Shieff, S., & Temple, P. (2021). ANZL Round Table: Literary Legacies. Retrieved from

  • Shieff, S. (2021). Working with letters. The Turnbull Library Record, 53, 8-23.

  • Shieff, S. (2020). Denis Glover's life in letters: Sarah Shieff. In National Radio Saturday Morning programme, 12 December 2020. Retrieved from

  • Shieff, S. (2020). Denis Glover and Allen Curnow: A friendship in letters. In Public Lecture at the National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth St, Wellington.

View all research publications by Sarah Shieff

Papers Taught


Recent and Current Graduate Supervision areas include:

  • The language of sexual hygiene in World War I
  • Representing chronic invisible pain: a challenge for fiction
  • Contemporary biographical verse in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Hypermasculinity in transgressive fiction
  • Food in British writing in the years of austerity, 1939-54
  • Re-framing the Waikato: the colonial photographic and cartographic archive
  • Modes of 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
  • 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