Maxine Alterio

Maxine is a novelist, short story writer and an academic mentor in reflective storytelling. Her research focused on the memoirs of First World War nurses.

PhD awarded 2013

Maxine Alterio is a short story writer and novelist with an interest in narrative research practices. She graduated from the University of Otago, with an MA awarded with distinction in Education. Maxine also holds a Diploma in Teaching (Tertiary). In 2010 she won an Ako Aotearoa Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching Award. She lives in Dunedin.

Her first fiction collection, Live News and Other Stories, was published in 2005 by Steele Roberts (NZ). A number of her stories have won, or been placed in, national and international competitions. Several have been broadcast on radio. Others have appeared in anthologies such as Penguin 25 New Fiction (Penguin Books, NZ, 1998); Home: New Short Stories by New Zealand Writers (Random House, NZ, 2005); Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 3 (Random House, NZ, 2006); and Myth of the 21st Century (Reed, NZ, 2006). Maxine's best-selling first novel, Ribbons of Grace, was published by Penguin Books (NZ) in 2007. She is also co-author of Learning through Storytelling in Higher Education (RoutledgeFalmer, UK and USA), voted in 2007 by Questia Librarians as one of the sixteen most influential books in higher education.

The creative component of Maxine's PhD in Creative Writing was a novel entitled Lives We Leave Behind, which traced the experiences of New Zealand nurses on active service in Egypt and France during the First World War. Her aim was to foreground the nurses' stories and background the soldiers' because until late in the twentieth century there was a tendency to highlight 'trench' experiences, and to focus on the histories of fighting men and medical innovations, rather than the work of those who healed and cared for the wounded.

Lives we leave behind was published by Penguin NZ in 2012. Her latest novel is The Gulf Between (Penguin Random House, 2019).

The critical component of Maxine's PhD thesis, entitled 'Memoirs of First World War Nurses: Reflections on and insights into traumatic and transformative experiences', sought to establish the ways in which nurses, as a group and as individuals, reflected on and made meaning of their wartime experiences through the writing of memoirs. Using a framework of narrative inquiry, as interpreted within the field of cultural history, Maxine intended that her research would contribute to the historiography of wartime nurses' experiences and reveal how narrative inquiry can intersect with cultural history to inform, support and enrich our understanding of nurses' experiences during and immediately after the First World War.

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