Helen & Jonah
(Photo by Steph Thornborrow)

Helen Brown was born and raised in New Zealand, where she became an award winning columnist, TV presenter and scriptwriter. She worked as a feature writer for The Sunday Star and was awarded a Nuffield Press Fellowship to Cambridge University, UK.  Her columns were collected in a series of eight books.

She loves writing about cats and the impact they have on people’s lives. After moving to Australia, she wrote CLEO (2009), a memoir about how a cat helped her family heal after the death of her nine year-old son, Sam. CLEO (2009) became a New York Times best seller, translated into more than 17 languages. A major movie is in development.

The sequel, AFTER CLEO CAME JONAH (CATS AND DAUGHTERS  and/or JONAH in the US), (2012) was published in many languages and embraced by readers and critics alike.

Other titles include a novel, TUMBLEDOWN MANOR (2016), and the children’s story CLEO AND ROB (2019). Her book BONO (2018), about a rescue cat she fostered in New York City, is based on her Huffington Post blog read by more than 22 million people.

Her next book, MICKEY, about growing up in small town New Zealand in the 1960’s, will be released in North America and Australasia in June 2023.

Helen lives in Melbourne with husband Philip and their crazy cat Jonah. When she isn’t scribbling, she enjoys knitting, laughing with grandchildren and swimming near the family beach shack on Phillip Island.



  • Recipient of the Nuffield Press Fellowship, Cambridge University, UK.
  • Qantas Columnist of the Year 2009
  • Columnist of the Year 2008
    Magazine Publishers Association of New Zealand
  • Columnist of the Year 2007
    Magazine Publishers Association of New Zealand.
  • Columnist of the Year 2005
    Magazine Publishers Association of New Zealand
  • Best writer, Sunday Star Times –
    Auckland Metro magazine’s readership survey.

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