Elizabeth Knox
Acclaimed New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox will lead her third Write Across New Zealand retreat from 3-8 December 2021.
About Elizabeth
Elizabeth Knox is the author of thirteen novels, three novellas, and a collection of essays. The Vintner's Luck won the Deutz Medal for Fiction in the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and the Tasmania Pacific Region Prize, and is published in 13 languages. Dreamhunter won the 2006 Esther Glen Medal. Dreamhunter's sequel Dreamquake, published in 2007, was a Michael L Print Honor Book for 2008 and, in the same year, was named an ALA, a CCBC, Booklist and New York Library 'best book'.

A collection of essays, The Love School, won the biography and memoir section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2009. Mortal Fire won a NZ Post Children's Book Award and was a finalist in the LA Times Book Awards.

Elizabeth's latest novel, The Absolute Book, was published in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019, where it quickly became a bestseller, and in both the United Kingdom and United States in 2021.

Elizabeth is an Arts Foundation Laureate and was made CNZM in 2020. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from Victoria University in 2020. Elizabeth lives in Wellington with her husband, Fergus Barrowman, and her son, Jack.

Elizabeth Knox's latest novel is The Absolute Book.

Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister's death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents' house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. A policeman, Jacob Berger, has questions about a cold case. There are threatening phone calls. And a shadowy young man named Shift appears, bringing his shadows with him. Taryn, Jacob, Shift – three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world.

The Absolute Book is an epic fantasy, intimate in tone. A book where hidden treasures are recovered; where wicked things people think they've shaken from their trails find their scent again. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell's Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.

Cover: Catherine Nelson, Lost (2014).

'The Absolute Book is everything fantasy should be: original, magical, well read. Its language is assured, lyrical yet never overwrought, and in its surprising twists of fate, its deft characterisation and constant forward momentum, it is both accessible and compelling.' — Nina Allen, The Guardian, 25 March 2021

'An angelic book, an apocalyptic book, an astounding book.' — Francis Spufford

'The master is present. To read Knox on such a huge canvas – to be immersed in her worlds, wrapped in her intelligence and craft so completely – is an experience not be missed. Lessing, Le Guin, Knox – books where the best hearts meet the best minds meet the best imaginations are few and far between. The Absolute Book is a triumph of fantasy grounded in the reality and challenges of the moment we live in.' —Pip Adam

WAKE by Elizabeth Knox
Elizabeth Knox's previous book isWAKE.

An invisible monster is what you can't see coming. It has unknown qualities. With an invisible monster you never know when you're in danger and when you're safe – if you retreat to your fortress you can't be sure you haven't locked it in with you. The invisible monster is something on which no one is an expert. But everyone has the same relationship to it. It could just as well be peering over your shoulder as mine.

One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As they try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that this isn't the first time that this has happened, and that they aren't all survivors and victims – two of them are something quite other. And, it seems, they are trapped with something. Something unseen is picking at the loose threads of their characters, corrupting, provoking, and haunting them.

WAKE is book about what it really means to try to do your best, about the choices and sacrifices we face in order to keep a promise like I will take care of you. It is a book that asks: 'What are the last things left when the worst has happened?' It is a book about extreme events, ordinary people, heroic compassion—and invisible monsters.