Associate Professor Sarah Shieff

Convenor of Writing Studies

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 Frank Sargeson (Vintage, 2012) and Letters of Denis Glover (University of Otago Press, forthcoming 2020). 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 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Birns, N., Moore, N., & Shieff, S. (Eds.) (2016). Teaching Australian and New Zealand literature (Options for teaching). New York: Modern Language Association of America.

  • Shieff, S. (2015). Time out of mind: Musical patterning and retrospective coherence in Alexander Aitken's Gallipoli to the Somme. Journal of New Zealand Literature: Special Issue: New Zealand and the First World War. Guest Editors: Rod Edmond and Janet Wilson, 33(2), 124-141. Retrieved from

View all research publications by Sarah Shieff

Papers Taught


Recent and Current Graduate Supervision areas include:

  • 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
  • World War I  in New Zealand Fiction
  • 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

Contact Details

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