New Zealand novelist, poet, and short story writer Keri Hulme was born and raised in Otautahi, Christchurch. Her mother was of Orkney Scots and Maori descent, and her father was the son of immigrants from Lancashire. He died when Hulme was 11 years old. After high school, she worked as a tobacco picker; she later enrolled for four quarters in the honors law program at Canterbury University before returning to the tobacco fields and then to a series of odd jobs.
In her work, Hulme incorporates Maori, Celtic, and Norse mythology and engages postcolonial and multicultural identity. Her poetry collections include The Silences Between (Moeraki Conversations) (1982), Lost Possessions (1985), and Strands (1992). Her debut novel, The Bone People (1983), won the Man Booker Prize.
Hulme is author of the short story collections Te Kaihau: The Windeater (1986) and Stonefish (2004), and her work has appeared in Nine New Zealand Novellas (2005). She has also written under the pen name Kai Tainui.
Her additional honors include a Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award (for her 1975 short story “Hooks and Feelers”), a Maori Trust Fund Prize, and a New Zealand Writing Bursary. She has served on New Zealand’s Literary Fund Advisory Committee and the Indecent Publications Tribunal.
Hulme lives along the coast in Okarito, a small town in South Westland. A selection of her papers is held at the Hight Library at the University of Canterbury.