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New Zealand

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

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Latest reviews

  • “It is a fascinating lead-in to a fascinating tale.”
    — The Charlotte News, Feb 8 2024
  • “This brilliant psychological thriller ratchets up the tension to an elegantly chilling denouement.”

    — The Daily Mail, Jan 25 2024
  • “Compelling, remarkable and beautifully written, it had me wondering about my own recollections from my '80s schooldays.”

    — Radio New Zealand, Dec 29 2023
  • "Very nearly the novel of the year...the crazy energy of a writer on fire flickered on every page."

    — New Zealand Newsroom, Dec 14 2023
  • “This sharp-edged, deliciously dark novel explores just what a group of besotted 12-year-olds might do for a teacher they love.”
    — Slate, Dec 5 2023
  • “In this suspenseful bildungsroman, Justine, a Catholic schoolgirl living in New Zealand...revisits the mysteries of her youth.”
    — The New Yorker, Oct 23 2023
  • “Full of delicious mystery and thrill, Pet showcases manipulation and the unthinkable things people will do when their life and reputation are on the line.”
    — Chicago Review of Books, Aug 23 2023
  • “A lingering, haunting book...a landmark in the small but potent canon of contemporary novels about unusual girls reckoning with themselves and the world around them.”
    — The New York Times, Aug 7 2023
  • “As satisfying a narrative as Pet is, lingering uncertainty is the source of its real power, enabling it to maintain its hold over the imagination long after the final page has been turned.”
    — The Guardian, Jul 10 2023
  • “Layered and suspenseful...Chidgey satisfies and horrifies in equal measure.”
    — Publishers Weekly, Jun 28 2023
  • “Damn this book is good. Pet is at once a brilliant coming-of-age thriller and a sharp dissection of racism and misogyny in 1980s [New Zealand].”
    — CrimeReads, Jun 16 2023
  • Pet is a page-turning psychological thriller: tense, uncomfortable and completely gripping.”
    — New Zealand Herald, Jun 16 2023
  • "Outside of New Zealand, Chidgey is not as well known as she should be. One hopes that this chilling tale of childhood vulnerability and violence might change that."
    — Financial Times, Jun 16 2023
  • "At its heart, Pet is a story about the temptations of charismatic and attractive characters who can take advantage of weakness and vulnerability."

    — New Zealand Newsroom, Jun 8 2023
  • “This dark novel probes the power of deception, betrayal, religion, and childhood in every twist of its mesmerizing plot. Lovers of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Donna Tartt's The Secret History will want to read this compelling novel by an award-winning New Zealand author.”
    — Booklist (Starred review), Jun 1 2023
  • “Powerful.”
    — The New York Times Book Review, Jul 15 2021
  • “The writing is beautifully wrought and the research a result of years of study. The novelist illustrates the senseless cruelty of the regime and portrays its characters convincingly, not as monsters but deluded, indulged and frightened victims of their own stupidity.”
    — The Jewish Chronicle, May 20 2021
  • “An extremely emotive and impactful story, set amidst a devastating historical episode that nevertheless provides an element of hope at its core. This book will stay with me for a long while yet: a magnificent accomplishment.”
    — Buzz Magazine, May 10 2021
  • “An insightful account of human nature set against the chaos of war. It is a moving examination of the human condition and well worth serious attention.”
    — Historical Novels Society, May 10 2021
  • “Are there new ways to tell stories of the Holocaust that are neither crass nor exploitative? In this moving and unusual novel, the New Zealand writer Catherine Chidgey shows that there are. Her novel is a fine achievement.”
    — The Sunday Times (UK), Apr 25 2021

New Zealand

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