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Catherine Chidgey

Photo © Helen Mayall

Catherine Chidgey

Catherine Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. Her first, In a Fishbone Church, won Best First Book at the NZ Book Awards and at the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific). In the UK it won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second, Golden Deeds, was a Notable Book of the Year in the New York Times and a Best Book in the LA Times. Catherine has won the Prize in Modern Letters, the Katherine Mansfield Award, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship and the Janet Frame Fiction Prize. She lives in Ngāruawāhia, NZ, and lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Waikato. Her novel Remote Sympathy was shortlisted for the DUBLIN Literary Award and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her novels The Wish Child and The Axeman’s Carnival both won the Acorn Prize for Fiction, NZ's most prestigious literary award.

All Catherine Chidgey's books

Upcoming events

A few questions with Catherine Chidgey, author of Remote Sympathy

Latest reviews

  • “Chidgey’s writing is masterful, and the underlying sense of dread as the story unfolds is shot through with humour and humanity. The Axeman’s Carnival is unique: poetic, profound and a powerfully compelling read from start to finish.” —Judges’ comments,...
    — Judges’ comments, Ockham NZ Book Awards 2023, Oct 31 2023
  • “One of our very best novelists knocks it out of the park.” —New Zealand Herald (Book of the Year)
    — New Zealand Herald (Book of the Year), Oct 31 2023
  • “ The Axeman’s Carnival is a compulsive read and flat-out brilliant.” —Elizabeth Knox
    — Elizabeth Knox, Oct 31 2023
  • “ The Axeman’s Carnival is remarkable, brilliant, a classic in the making.” —Rachael King, Newsroom,
    — Rachael King, Newsroom, Oct 31 2023
  • “The work of a writer absolutely on top of her game, narrated with linguistic brio by a magpie chick, who tells the story of her human rescuer Marnie’s escape from a violent marriage.”
    — John Mitchinson, Oct 31 2023
  • “A remarkable and original writer, whose novels have the golden combination of being both riveting and superbly-written.” —Lissa Evans
    — Lissa Evans, Oct 31 2023
  • "Funny, dark, insightful and unique, this beautifully written novel is a story and a magpie you will NEVER forget." —Jennie Godfrey, author of The List of Suspicious Things
    — Jennie Godfrey, author of The List of Suspicious Things, Oct 30 2023
  • "I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with a magpie, but from the opening chapter, which is a masterclass in prose, to the final scene, I was spellbound by the foul-mouthed, wisecracking Tama and his quest to save gentle Marnie from unspeakable violence. Another...
    — Karen Powell, author of Fifteen Wild Decembers, Oct 2 2023
  • “Chidgey again displays her prodigious talent for psychological suspense and minutely evoking past eras… Faultless.” —The Guardian
    — The Guardian, Jul 1 2023
  • "Unnervingly realistic… a chilling tale of childhood vulnerability and violence." —Financial Times
    — Financial Times, Jul 1 2023
  • "A sly psychological thriller... Chidgey is an agile writer, and here fuses pacey storytelling with some resonant metaphors." —The Observer
    — The Observer, Jul 1 2023
  • “A lingering, haunting book, which belongs on the shelf with We Have Always Lived in the Castle or My Brilliant Friend - a landmark in the small but potent canon of contemporary novels about unusual girls reckoning with themselves and the world around them.” —The...
    — The New York Times, Jul 1 2023
  • “Beguiling… Chidgey’s writing is confident and controlled as she pushes the novel towards its dramatic conclusion.” —Literary Review
    — Literary Review, Jul 1 2023
  • "With precision and economy, Chidgey captures the cruelty of pubescents, as well as the casual racism and misogyny of the time... an absorbing page-turner." —Daily Mail
    — Daily Mail, Jul 1 2023
  • "Crisply written and full of moments of delight." —The Independent
    — The Independent, Jul 1 2023
  • "Brimming with nostalgia and a sense of menace." —Best
    — Best, Jul 1 2023
  • “In her native New Zealand, Chidgey is a household name and this taut, tense psychological drama deserves to be her breakout book here.” —Good Housekeeping
    — Good Housekeeping, Jul 1 2023
  • “Pet is an enthralling page-turner, laced with dark ominous themes, examining both the oppressive racism that was rampant in the 1980s and the far-reaching power of the Catholic church.” —The Independent
    — The Independent, Jul 1 2023
  • "A superb character study, delivered with panache." —The Bookseller’s “Fiction Book of the Month”
    — The Bookseller’s “Fiction Book of the Month”, Jul 1 2023
  • “A remarkable and original writer, whose novels have the golden combination of being both riveting and superbly-written.” —Lissa Evans
    — Lissa Evans, Jul 1 2023