Geoff Cush is a novelist, playwright and journalist. His first novel God Help the Queen appeared in 1987, and it was followed by several successful plays including The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals in 1993. He has also adapted several novels for the stage. Cush’s Son of France (2002) was selected by the NZ Herald as one of the best New Zealand novels of the year, describing it as, ‘a terrific story which is a mixture of dark satire and a delightful comedy of manners’.
Place of residence: Wellington
Cush, Geoff (1956-) is a novelist, playwright and journalist.
Geoff Cush was born and educated in New Zealand. In 1978 Cush left New Zealand and it was while he was living in Europe that his first novel God Help the Queen (1987) was published. The novel was well received and was described in the City Limits as ‘a bleak and funny picture of London in the future’.
The novel was followed by a number of successful plays including The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1993), which was reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement as ‘a night of knockabout philosophy and cruel fun’. Benedict Nightingale writes in The Times that the play ‘might have been written in tandem with Jonathan Swift…outlandish, oddball and, yes, original.’
Cush’s play The Simple Past (1996) was an adaptation of the Driss Chraibi’s classic novel Le Passe Simple and with the help of the British Council Cush successfully toured in Morocco in 1996. Cush writes that the experience of taking this controversial play back to Morocco, some forty years after it was written still required armed guards on doors during performances.
In 1997 Cush adapted Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Guards! Guards! He has also written travel features for British newspapers and has contributed to the Marshall Cavendish Murder Casebook.
In 2001 Cush returned to New Zealand to write his novel Son of France (2002), which was selected by the NZ Herald as one of the best New Zealand novels of the year ‘a terrific story which is a mixture of dark satire and a delightful comedy of manners’.
In 2003 Geoff Cush was shortlisted for the prestigious $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters. The shortlist includes: William Brandt, Kate Camp and Glenn Colquhoun.
Geoff Cush has written journalism pieces, book reviews and features for newspapers and magazines, including The Times, London; Geo, Paris; NZ Listener; The Dominion Post; and New Zealand Books. His writing has also featured in various anthologies including, Colour of Distance, The: New Zealand Writers in France—French writers in New Zealand (VUP, 2005).
Cush has participated in writers festivals in New Zealand and he held the Monastere de Saorge residency in France in 2005/2006.
In 2005 a French language edition of Son of France was published (Graine de France, Editions Actes Sud). The book was awarded the Prix Popai for best foreign novel at the Salon du Livre Oceanien, New Caledonia 2005. In 2006 Geoff Cush participated in Les Belles Estrangeres festival in France 2006, a nationwide celebration of New Zealand writing.
Son of France is currently on the reading list for a first level English course, 'Contested Spaces', at the University of Auckland.
In 2007 Cush completed a historical novel about the middle east, A Voyage with the Muezzin.
He is currently writing a novel set in Fiji.