Lloyd Jones

Lloyd Jones was born in 1955 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, near the capital city Wellington. He studied Political Science at Victory University. Afterward he worked as a journalist and traveled extensively in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

At the age of thirty, Lloyd Jones published his first novel, »Gilmor’s Dairy« (1985). His novel-like travel journal »Biografi: An Albanian Quest« (1993) paints a profound picture of Albania in the nineties and was listed among the best books of the year by the »New York Times«. It is based on Jones’ trip to Albania in 1991, during which he searched for the toppled dictator Enver Hoxa’s doppelganger, whose role as double deprived him of his own biography. Jones’ »The Book of Fame« (2000) also centers on an extraordinary event. In »All Blacks«, he explores the mechanisms of fame in a half-fictional telling of New Zealand’s national rugby team’s spectacular winning streak in Europe in 1905. Jones is also an author of children’s books, an editor, and an essayist. In 2006, he published the much-admired novel »Mister Pip«, for which he received the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The story is set on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea during the civil war of the nineties, which Jones witnessed on site as a journalist. The narrator is 13-year-old Matilda, whose teacher Mr. Watts reads Charles Dickens’ novel »Great Expectations« aloud in class. Increasingly, the young listeners begin to relate the text to their own reality and to discover the imaginative, but also subversive power of literature. In »Hand Me Down World« (2010), an African makes the perilous journey to Europe to find her kidnapped child. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel displays the contradictions of the globalized modern world. In 2013, his memoir »A History of Silence« (2013) was released. The 2011 earthquake that shook Christchurch to the core led Jones to investigate his own foundations and family past. And so begins a quest to revisit what has been buried by a legacy of silence. Piecing together his own memories with clues of what has been deliberately forgotten by his parents, Jones embarks on a journey of discovery. Grandparents never met or spoken of emerge from dusty archives as he unearths lives torn apart by tragedy and mystery. His most recent publication in German is a translation of »Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance« (2002; German »Hier, am Ende der Welt, lernen wir tanzen«, 2014).

Jones, who received an honorary doctorate from Victoria University in 2009, was honored with the Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize for his oeuvre. After being a one-year guest of the program »Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency«, Jones lives in Wellington again.