Maxine Alterio was born in Southern New Zealand to book-loving parents. For thirty years she worked as a principal lecturer and staff developer in the higher education sector. She is the author of two novels, Ribbons of Grace and Lives We Leave Behind, a short story collection, Live News and Other Stories, and co-author of the academic text Learning through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington, where she studied the memoirs of First World War nurses. In 2010, she won a prestigious national Ako Aotearoa Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching, primarily for her expertise in narrative practices.