Born in 1949, Cilla McQueen has lived in Te Waipounamu for most of her life. After formative years in Dunedin and some travel, she settled in Motupōhue, Bluff, in 1996.
A poet, teacher and artist, her honours and awards include a Fulbright Visiting Writer’s Fellowship, two terms of the Robert Burns Fellowship, a Goethe Institut Scholarship to Berlin, three New Zealand Book Awards (1983, 1989, 1991), Hon.LittD Otago 2008, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry 2010. She was named National Library New Zealand Poet Laureate 2009 -11. In 2020 she was honoured with an MNZM for services as a poet.