Ian Wedde was born in 1946. He is the author of seven novels, including The Catastrophe (2011), Trifecta (2015), and a collection of stories, The Shirt Factory (1981). He has written a memoir, The Grass Catcher: A Digression About Home (2014), and has also published fifteen collections of poetry and two collections of essays, the most recent of which was the critically acclaimed Making Ends Meet (2005). His work as a curator and writer in the field of art includes catalogues, the 2009 monograph Bill Culbert: Making Light Work, and (as general editor) We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978–1998. He was co-editor of The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (1985) and The Penguin Book of New Zealand Poetry Ngā Kupu Titohu o Aotearoa (1989).
His work has been praised for the vigour of its language and the wide scope of its ideas. His first novel, Dick Seddon’s Great Dive, was awarded a National Book Award for fiction in 1976. In 1986, Symmes Hole established him as a major voice in Pacific fiction; the novel was hailed in the NZ Listener as ‘a remarkable and even triumphant achievement’. His satirical novel, The Viewing Platform (2006), was described as ‘satire with bite, but also cunning narrative’ (Dominion Post Picks for 2006). Chinese Opera (2008) was Wedde’s fifth novel; the book is currently being adapted for the screen. The Catastrophe’s central character, the food-writer Christopher Hare, is a charming fool whose poor judgement implicates him in a political assassination. Trifecta looks at the odds in the lives of the three children of Martin and Agnes Klepka – Martin was one of the refugees of Nazism who famously brought Modernist architecture and ‘real coffee’ to New Zealand.
Wedde is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants. Among the most recent are the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship at Menton in France (2005), a Fulbright New Zealand Travel Award to the USA (2006), an Arts Foundation Laureate Award (2006), a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland (2007), an ONZM (2010), and the Landfall Essay Prize (2010). In 2011–13 Wedde was New Zealand’s poet laureate, in 2013–14 he held the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency, and in 2014 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (poetry). He lives and works in Auckland.