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Kate De Goldi is one of New Zealand's most celebrated authors. She has published a range of short stories, collections and novels for adults and children. De Goldi's novel The 10pm Question (2008) was published to critical acclaim both in New Zealand and overseas, quickly becoming an iconic piece of New Zealand literature. De Goldi has been extensively involved with numerous programmes, committees, and organisations focused on creative writing, education and New Zealand literature.
FROM THE OXFORD COMPANION TO NEW ZEALAND LITERATURE
De Goldi, Kate* (1959 -), has won both the American Express and Katherine Mansfield Memorial awards for short stories, as well as writing young adult fiction and journalism pieces.
Her impressive first collection, like you, really (1994), comprises eleven linked but non-sequential narratives of a Catholic Christchurch family, especially its women, between the 1950s and the present, with glimpses further back. Each story fluctuates in time through the seemingly random movements of memory, so that characters become known almost simultaneously at different ages from childhood on, and events (like a family picnic) and people (like an eccentric teacher-nun) are retold and revisited, with some surprisingly dramatic moments of revelation and understanding, given the apparently domestic scale. Family history is satisfyingly compiled from these fragments against a background of local events and changes -- fashions in clothes, children's games, cars, films and conversational idiom, developments in road surfaces and suburbs, topical news stories and changing retrospects on the past, especially the war. Landfall reviewer Anna Smith noticed, too, that beneath this surface detail, the collection 'insists on another kind of language sadness, anxiety, a longing for love and happiness'. The sense of identity through kinship implied in the title is the unifying concern.
Flannery's stories have been published in Sport, the NZ Listener, More and Tessa Duder's collection Falling in Love (1995); an autobiographical sketch was in Lloyd Jones's sports writing collection, Into the Field of Play (1992). As Kate De Goldi she has published Sanctuary (1996), a young adult story of teenage perplexities and crises, described by Ronda Cooper as 'an authentic modern fable somewhere between a cautionary tale and a "how to" guide for pouty girls.' It won the overall Children's Book Award in 1997. A second novel on adolescence, Love, Charlie Mike, was published 1997. Born in Christchurch and resident there until her move to Wellington in 1997, Flannery is now a full-time writer.
*Kate De Goldi wrote her early books under the pseudonym Kate Flannery
Kate De Goldi has made extensive contributions to New Zealand literature through her involvement in numerous programmes, committees, and publications. She has been involved in the Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Writers in Schools programme since 1994. She was a Summer School tutor at the University of Canterbury from 1996–1997, and a radio reviewer for the New Zealand Listener from 1996–1998. Following this, she appeared as a children's book reviewer for Radio New Zealand on Nine-to-Noon and Saturday programmes from 1998. She has also been a book reviewer for TVNZ's Good Morning since 2004.
Kate De Goldi launched her career in 1988, winning the American Express Short Story Award for “Parkhaven Hotel”. She received the Queen Elizabeth Arts Council Project Grant, now part of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, the following year.
These successes were followed by the 1991 Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, and the 1994 Canterbury University Writing Fellowship, now known as the Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing.
De Goldi was awarded a 1996 Creative New Zealand Project Grant, and in addition to her Montana Book Awards win for Sanctuary, now part of the Ockham new Zealand Book Awards, she won the 1997 Esther Glen Award.
Love, Charlie Mike was shortlisted for the 1998 Esther Glen Award.
Closed, Stranger (Penguin, 1999) won the Young Adult Fiction Honour Book prize at the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
De Goldi received the Creative New Zealand Project Grant again in 2001, and was honoured as an Arts Foundation Laureate in the same year.
She was the 2003 Writer in Residence at Woodford House School for Girls, and won the 2004 Susan Price Scholarship. The Susan Price Collection, in the National Library of New Zealand, is a research collection of quality children's books from the 1930's until present. This scholarship was established by Susan Price, through the Victoria University Foundation, to assist postgraduate studies and to encourage students to use the collection in their research.
Clubs: A Lolly Leopold Story illustrated by Jacqui Colley (Trapeze, 2004) was published to critical acclaim, winning the 2005 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Picture Book category and Book of the Year category, and receiving a Storylines Notable Book Award. Clubs also won the Best Typography category at the 2005 Spectrum Print Book Design Awards, now known as the PANZ Book Design Awards, and the Russell Clark Award at the 2005 LIANZA Children's Book Awards. David Larson for New Zealand Herald hailed it as ‘a bona fide future icon, as memorable as Hairy Maclary and Margaret Mahy's The Lion in the Meadow, but pitched for older children and therefore operating at a significantly higher level of sophistication.’
Kate De Goldi was interviewed by Kim Hill in the anthology, Words Chosen Carefully, edited by Siobhan Harvey (Cape Catley Ltd, 2010).
De Goldi was awarded a Creative New Zealand Project Grant for a third time in 2005, and went on to write Uncle Jack illustrated by Jacqui Colley (Trapeze, 2005).
She was a Writer in Residence at St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland, in 2006, and again in 2010.
Billy: A Lolly Leopold Story illustrated by Jacqui Colley (Trapeze, 2006) followed the success of Clubs, being shortlisted for the 2007 Esther Glen Award and winning a 2007 Storylines Notable Book Award.
Kate De Goldi interviewed Joy Cowley, Jack Lasenby, and Margaret Mahy in Tricksters, Conjurors, Skydancers (Ministry of Education 2006). The film was a not for profit collaboration between New Zealand Post, the Ministry of Education, and the International Institute of Modern Letters, in which the authors speak about their work, influences and views on writing and young people.
She was the 2009 Writer in Residence at King’s College, Auckland.
The 10 PM Question (Longacre 2008) is regarded as a publishing phenomenon and a New Zealand literature classic, winning the 2009 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in the categories of Young Adult Fiction and Book of the Year. The 10 PM Question was also shortlisted for the 2009 Esther Glen Award, was the Runner-up for Fiction at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and won Reader’s Choice at the same awards. It was awarded a 2009 Storylines Notable Book Award; was shortlisted for the Nielsen BookData NZ Booksellers’ Choice Award; selected for the 2009 edition of the prestigious White Ravens list; won the German LUCHS Prize for children's and teenage literature; made the 2009 INKY Awards Longlist; and saw De Goldi make the 2010 IBBY Honour List for Authors. The 10 PM Question was described in The Guardian as ‘a highly original, moving and entrancing book with an entertaining surface and a deep consideration of serious themes from the point of view of a 12-year-old. I don't know if you are really allowed, or able, to say this about many books, but I think this one is perfect.’
In 2010, Kate was awarded the Creative NZ Michael King Fellowship of $100,000 to research a book on Susan Price.
She won the 2011 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award, and gave the speech, 'Legends of The Swamp', at the lecture.
Kate De Goldi won the 2011 Corine International Book Prize Young Readers Award, an international award for ‘authors for excellent literary achievements and their recognition by the public.’
The ACB with Honora Lee, written by Kate De Goldi and illustrated by Gregory O’Brien, was published by Random House in 2012. The book was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in the Junior Fiction category, and was shortlisted for the 2013 LIANZA Award, now part of the new Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The ACB with Honora Lee was named as a Globe 100 Best Book 2014. Kirkus Reviews said of ACB, 'De Goldi’s quickly paced style is enormously fun to read [...] Clever, poignant and sweetly funny, this will be especially appreciated by those who’ve experienced a loved one with dementia.'
From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle (Longacre, 2015) won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and won a 2016 Storylines Notable Book Award. Emma Martin for New Zealand Books reviewed From the Cutting Room, describing De Goldi’s writing as ‘accessible, lucid and unpretentious, yet it is also extraordinarily subtle. Undercurrents swirl beneath the surface, whether the reader is alert to them or not. This is literature that will give children what they want, and also what they may not yet know they need.’
Annual (Gecko Press, 2016) is edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris, a collection for 8-12 year olds. Kate De Goldi said of Annual, 'we wanted Annual to be a game changer in New Zealand publishing for children. Readers in this age group are smarter than ever and hungry for sophisticated, wide-ranging material.'
De Goldi is also currently working on a film script for From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle.
Kate De Goldi was a convenor for the Wellington Children's Book Association from 1998–2001 and a presenter for Bookenz on TVNZ in 1999 and 2000.
She was a tutor for the Fiona Kidman Creative Writing Summer School in 2000, and established and tutored in the Children's Writing Workshop ran by the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington fro2000-2006.
De Goldi became a member of the New Zealand Book Council’s Advisory Committee in 2000, and the Writers and Readers Committee for the NZ Arts Festival, now the New Zealand Festival, in 2001.
She was an editor of Read NZ TPM (then New Zealand Book Council’s) Booknotes from 2002–2006.
De Goldi was involved in the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection Committee from 2002–2006, and the Wellington Writers' Walk Committee from 2003–2005. She was a member of the Arts Board for Creative New Zealand from 2006–2008 and has been on the Bougainville Library Trust Board since 2009.
De Goldi also established and tutored for The Young Adult Novel Workshop, International Institute of Modern Letters from 2003-2006 and continues her involvement in the Victoria University Continuing Education Creative Writing Schools since 2003.
She was involved in the Whanganui UCol Summer Writing School from 2003–2005.
De Goldi has been a contributing writer for a range of magazines and publications, including NZ Filmmagazine; More magazine; North & South magazine; Grace magazine; TVNZ’s The Big Chair; NZ Books; New Zealand Listener; Landfall; and Sport.
In July 2022, De Goldi's YA novel Eddy, Eddy was published by Allen & Unwin. A coming of age story set in Christchurch two years post-earthquakes, it features a richly layered storyline and was described by Carole Beu as 'so sublime: subtle and beautiful."
Poet Emma Neale writes of Eddy, Eddy: 'Lock your doors, put your phones on silent, and enjoy losing all track of time when you're introduced to Eddy and his complicated, endearing, off-beat world.'
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Penguin Books profile
- 2022 feature on Stuff
- Review of the 10 PM Question for The Guardian
- Review of Clubs: A Lolly Leopold Story for NZ Herald
- Review of The Cutting Room of Barney Kettle for NZ Herald
- Article on Annual by Christchurch City Libraries
- Interview with Kate De Goldi for Hooked on Books
- Interview with Kate De Goldi, RNZ
- Interview with Kate De Goldi on The Spinoff
- Interview with Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris, RNZ
Updated July 2022.