Portrait of Tusiata Avia

Tusiata Avia

Poet, performer, and children’s book writer Tusiata Avia was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. She earned a BA from Canterbury University and has lived in Samoa and greater Australia. Avia is the author of Fale Aitu / Spirit House (2016), Bloodclot (2009), and Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (2004), which she adapted as a one-woman show starring herself. Her other books include the children’s stories Mele and the Fofo (2004) and The Song (2002)Her poetry weaves mythology with personal narratives and examines her Samoan and Palagi background.

Avia has been an artist-in-residence at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies and was appointed to an Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. She also held the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency at the University of Hawai‘i and won a Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. She teaches at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Photo: Hayley Theyers Photography