Kate De Goldi is one of New Zealand's most celebrated authors. She has published a range of short stories, collections and fiction for adults and children. De Goldi's short story The 10pm Question (2008) was published to critical acclaim both in New Zealand and overseas, quickly becoming an iconic peice of New Zealand literature. De Goldi has been extensively involved with numerous programmes, committees, and organisations focussed on creative writing, education and New Zealand literature.
Place of residence: Wellington, New Zealand
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 New Zealand Book Council 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 Resedency 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 Zeland 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 MacLairy 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, roles which she has continued to hold.
She was an editor of 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 Wanganui UCol Summer Writing School from 2003–2005.
De Goldi has been a contributing writer for a range of magazines and publications, including NZ Film magazine; More magazine; North & South magazine; Grace magazine; TVNZ’s The Big Chair; NZ Books; New Zealand Listener; Landfall; and Sport.
Last Updated December 2016
writers in schools information
De Goldi is able to visit schools outside her region and is happy to talk to students over 5 years old on writing for children, teens and adults. She is available to do a wide variety of workshops by prior arrangements. Her preferred amount of students for workshops is 20 and for general visits she can talk to a maximum of 2 combined classes.
KAPAI: Kids' Authors Pictures and Information
Where do you live?
Wellington, beside the sea.
What sorts of books do you like to read?
All sorts - children's (heaps) and young adult (heaps) - adult fiction and history - thrillers and recipe books.
Do you have a favourite author?
I don't have one favourite - I like many many different writers and quite a few different styles.
Where do you get your ideas?
I often get ideas while I'm walking or driving. Ideas come from just being in the world - listening, watching, thinking. I think ideas are really just questions you are asking yourself about the world, about being human. After a while you write something as a way of exploring the questions.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Visiting schools; getting a new idea for a book; finishing a book; being able to go walking at anytime of the day.
Some questions from Primary School students
Do you have any pets?
One cat, Sylvie, who is ever-so-slightly wild, very beautiful and quite neurotic.
Do you have a favourite colour?
My favourite colour is yellow.
Do you have a favourite food?
My favourite food is pasta, closely followed by Thai curries.
Do you have a favourite movie?
My favourite movie is The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2).
Do you have a favourite game or sport?
My favourite game is Last Card.
What is the most fun thing about being an author?
How do you make books?
I don't make them as such (I write them) but I'm helping in the production of a picture book right now (2002) which is complicated and interesting.
Where do you like to go for your holidays?
Various places, but my favourite is Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.
What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?
I would bunk (cut classes) and go to the movies - or hide in a cupboard during maths.
Some questions from Secondary School students
How did you get started?
I wrote a short story which won a short story competition and just carried on from there.
Who inspired you when you were getting started?
Other writers whose work I wanted to emulate - also my partner, Bruce, who was extremely encouraging and helpful.
What advice would you give an aspiring young writer?
Read. Read. Read. At the same time - sit down and write. Just do it.
Is it difficult to make a living as a writer in New Zealand?
Yes, because there isn't enough population to buy enough books to provide a living - you need to sell your books overseas.
What were you like as a teenager?
I was alternately gregarious and reclusive. I read a lot and listened to music. I fought a lot with my mother. Sometimes I did school work.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
When I was three years old I swallowed some pills of my aunt's and had to have my stomach pumped (an exceptionally vile experience). I knew the hospital staff wouldn't be able to get the pump in if I kept my mouth shut tight so I clamped my teeth together and resisted their entreaties for quite a while (kicking and punching them at the same time, when possible). But they tricked me by asking me a question and since I can never resist talking I opened my mouth to answer and they shoved the tube in. Unspeakable horror! After it was over my Dad bought me a massive hokey pokey ice cream. He was rather traumatised so he had an ice cream too. I've disliked hospitals ever since - though the doctors and nurses appeared generally benign.
- Review of the 10 PM Question for The Guardian
- Review of Clubs: A Lolly Leopold Story for New Zealand Herald
- Review of The Cutting Room of Barney Kettle by New Zealand Herald
- Kate De Goldi's profile on the Penguin Random House website
- Article on Annual by Christchurch City Libraries
- Interview with Kate De Goldi for Hooked on Books
- Interview with Kate De Goldi on Radio New Zealand
- Interview with Kate De Goldi on The Spinoff
- Interview with Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris on Radio New Zealand