Jessica Le Bas

Poet based in Nelson.


Jessica le Bas lives in Nelson, New Zealand. As well as being the mother of seven children, she has worked for the United Nations during the Balkan War as a Training Consultant for UNPROFOR; as a Private Secretary to a government Minister in Wellington’s Beehive; as a truck driver; in restaurant management; and as a secondary school teacher and polytechnic tutor. She has an MA (Hons) from The University of Auckland.

Le Bas completed Owen Marshall’s Fiction Writing Course at Aoraki in 1997. She completed her first collection Incognito (AUP, 2007) by writing full time in 2005, assisted by a grant from Creative NZ. Incognito went on towin the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for the Best First Book of Poetry at the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Le Bas has also won the NZ Poetry Society International Poetry Competition, had an essay shortlisted for the Landfall Essay Competition, and won the Bravado Poetry Competition in 2005 with her poem ‘walking to Africa’. A New Zealand Mental Health Foundation Media Grant in 2007 enabled her to write the book Walking to Africa, published by Auckland University Press in 2009.