Poet, performer, and children’s book author Ben Brown was born in Motueka, New Zealand, and is of Waikato-Tainui descent. After a varied career path, Brown began writing children’s books in 1992, frequently collaborating with his wife, the illustrator Helen Taylor. The two have published more than 15 books together, including Ngā Raukura Rima Tekau M ā Rima (2005), which was shortlisted for a Te Kura Pounamu Award, and Fifty-Five Feathers (2005), which was shortlisted for a Russell Clark Award. A Booming in the Night (2006) won Best Picture Book from the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Brown’s memoir A Fish in the Swim of the World (2006) received praise for its evocative treatment of rural New Zealand and Waikato traditions. He developed Between the Kindling and the Blaze: Reflections on the Concept of Mana (2013), a book of poems, into a performance piece that included text and audio and explored the Maori concept of mana, “a supernatural force in a person, place, or object.”
Brown was the 2009 writer-in-residence at Hagley College, Christchurch, and was awarded the Maori Writer’s Residency at the Michael King Writers' Centre in 2011. He currently lives in Lyttelton, New Zealand.