At just seven years old, Suzanne Heywood was removed from her schooling and everything she knew by her father who wanted to recreate Captain Cook’s third voyage. What was promised as a three-year family adventure escalated to a nightmarish ten years spent crossing some of the world’s most dangerous oceans with minimal supervision, education or care from her parents.

Left ashore in Aotearoa New Zealand at 16 in sole charge of her younger brother, she began writing to universities around the world, desperate for an education and a life of stability. An Oxford acceptance and a whole new chapter followed. Madeleine Chapman meets her to discuss her extraordinary life, beautifully captured in Wavewalker: Breaking Free.

Also at Auckland Writers Festival 2024

$2 per hour to a max of $12 on weekends and a $12 flat rate for weekday evenings at The Civic car park. Find out more

Last updated: 12 March 2024