BILLY BIRD starts Monday 3rd December

Adapted for RNZ by Owen Scott

Liam and Iris have one son: Billy, a bright ‘toddler puddling about like a penguin, leaving surrealist art installations all over the house.

Just as they are despairing about being able to conceive another child, Jason comes into their family. He arrives under fraught circumstances, but might just make a perfect sibling for Billy. Jason is a ‘ lovely, poor, sad, unfortunate, ordinary, annoying, delightful nuisance of a ratbag of a hoot of a kid ’ and the boys grow close over the ensuing years. But after a terrible accident, Billy turns into a bird.

If you like this adaptation you can check out the original book here - Billy Bird

Emma Neale, a poet and prose writer, was born in Dunedin and raised in Christchurch, San Diego CA, and Wellington. After gaining her first literature degree from Victoria University, she went on to complete her MA and PhD at University College, London. She has written five novels — Night Swimming, Little Moon, Relative Strangers, Double Take and Fosterling — and a number of poetry collections, and has edited anthologies of both short stories and poetry.

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Photo: Emma Neale

Neale won the Todd New Writers’ Bursary in 2000, was the inaugural recipient of the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature (2008), and was the 2012 Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. Her poetry collection The Truth Garden won the Grattan Award for poetry in 2011, and Fosterling was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award in 2012. She teaches, works in publishing and looks after her two young sons.

Neale blogs at




Victoria Abbott is a writer and performer. In theatre she's worked with Red Leap Theatre Company, The Pop Up Globe, ATC, Circa, Kallo Collective, The Conch, Playground Collective, various co-ops and was a founding member of Bare Hunt Collective.

She recently performed her performance art piece 'A lady drowns' in Wellington Library and in the Harbour as part of Performance Art Week Aotearoa. She pops up in ads from time to time.  In 2018 she premiered her first solo show, Run Rabbit, at the Basement Theatre Auckland. Look out for her in the new TVNZ online sitcom, 'Educators', coming soon.

Victoria Abbott

Victoria Abbott Photo: Johnson&Laird



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