Fiona Zerbst

Fiona Zerbst has written four poetry collections to date: ‘Oleander’ (2009), ‘Time and Again’ (2002), ‘the small zone’ (1995) and ‘Parting Shots’ (1991). She received an MA in Creative Writing from UCT, and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Pretoria in 2018.

Her poems have been anthologised in ‘The Heart in Exile’ 1996, ‘Imagination in a Troubled’ (2004), ‘The Pick of Snailpress’, (2000), ‘City in Words’ (2001) and ‘I Wish I’d Said: A product of the AVBOB Poetry Project’ (2018). Two of her poems are set to appear in the newest edition of The New Century of South African Poetry, to be published by Jonathan Ball.

Her diverse and captivating works have been published in literary magazines including The Common in the US, Stanzas, New Contrast, Prufrock, Illuminations and The Johannesburg Review of Books. One of her poems was published in an Amnesty International workbook and a few were set as a song cycle, Of Darkness and the Heart, by acclaimed South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr.

She consults as an editor for Modjaji Books and has edited volumes by Ingrid Andersen, Dawn Garisch and Wendy Woodward.

Currently, Fiona works as a freelance journalist. When she’s not working, she practices martial arts, runs regularly, and is a wildlife enthusiast. 

Fiona tutors our Introduction to Poetry course.


‘The course was everything I hoped for and Fiona Zerbst was excellent! Informative, clear, constructive criticism. She was fair in her observations and criticism, exactly what I needed. I have genuinely grown under her guidance and am looking forward to creating and moulding my poetry via the feedback I have received hopefully to create good, strong legibly-robust pieces.’ Warren Furst, Introduction to Poetry Course

‘I enjoyed the course material and thought it was very good. My tutor Fiona was excellent; her comments were encouraging, she challenged me to think differently and to explore emotion beyond what I might usually do. She was also helpful in suggesting poems and poets, many of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. My experience with The Writers College was very enjoyable and I look forward to doing several more courses with them.’ Robert Falconer, Introduction to Poetry Course

‘I was very tentative and nervous when I started this course. Now I leave pleased at having endeavoured it but also determined to return to do another course in prose. Fiona was instrumental in not only giving excellent guidance but motivating me in a confident way. Overall I loved it; I learnt more than I expected and I challenged myself and was challenged in turn.’ Grace Goedhart, An Introduction to Poetry Course