Jo Randerson is one of the most gifted writers and performers in contemporary New Zealand theatre. She is the author of numerous plays including The Unforgiven Harvest and Fold, and is the founder and Artistic Director of Barbarian Productions. Her plays have been performed around New Zealand and overseas, and in 1997 she received the Sunday Star-Times Bruce Mason Award for playwriting.
Her short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including The Picnic Virgin, edited by Emily Perkins (VUP 1999), and one, The Knot has been published as a small illustrated book by Wedge Press. Her collection, The Spit Children (VUP) was published to critical acclaim in 2000. Her second book, The Keys to Hell, which features illustrations by Taika Waititi, was published in November 2004. She contributed a provocative and thoughtful chapter to the anthology Are Angels OK? The Parallel Universes of New Zealand Writers and Scientists edited by Paul Callaghan and Bill Manhire published in June 2006.
She has a BA in Theatre and Film from Victoria University, where she also won the award for best portfolio in Bill Manhire’s creative writing course in 1996. Jo was the 2001 Burns Fellow at Otago University. Jo is currently living and working in Wellington.
In November 2007 Jo was named as one of six authors on the shortlist for the 2008 Prize in Modern Letters. The biennial Prize is designed to acknowledge and advance the work of emerging writers in New Zealand. The value of the Prize is NZ$65,000.