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De Goldi, Kate


Kate De Goldi is a short story writer, an author of young adult fiction, a children’s book author and a writer of journalism pieces. De Goldi also presents book reviews regularly on radio and television. She won the American Express and Katherine Mansfield Memorial awards for short stories, as well as the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award in 2005 and 2009. She was named an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate for 2001. The 10pm Question (2008) was shortlisted for and won the Young Adult section of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards.


Place of residence: Wellington, New Zealand
Primary publisher: Trapeze Publishing, Wellington. Random House Publishers, Auckland
Rights enquiries: Bruce Foster, Trapeze Publishing -
Nicola Legat, Random House Publishers -
Publicity enquiries: C/- Bruce Foster, Trapeze Publishing  -
C/- Nicola Legat, Random House Publishers -

FROM THE oxford companion TO new zealand literature

De Goldi, Kate, pseudonym of  Kathleen De Goldi* (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 ListenerMore 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.

*NZBC Note: Kate De Goldi wrote her early books under the pseudonym Kate Flannery

Author entry from The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature,
edited by Roger Robinson and Nelson Wattie (1998).

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Additional Information

Kate de Goldi received the Esther Glen Award at the 1997 LIANZA Children's Book Awards for her work, Sanctuary. Sanctuary also won the Senior Fiction Award at the 1997 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Her novel for young adults, Closed, Stranger (Penguin), was published in 2000. It was given an honour award in the Young Adult section of the 2000 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.

In 2001, de Goldi was named as an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate, a career award which includes a $30,000 cash prize and aims to ensure recipients' talents are celebrated both nationally and internationally.

Clubs: A Lolly Leopold Story was published by Trapeze in 2004. Lolly Leopold's teacher is a glorious creature. She has a tuatara tattoo and a long ponytail that she swings like a lassoo. Ms Love has promised Lolly that she'll play her trumpet at Grandparents Day if she tells the Clubs story. So Lolly embarks upon her tale. Clubs won the Picture Book Category of the 2005 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults, where it also received the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award.

Clubs also picked up a design award, winning the Best Typography category at the 2005 Spectrum Print Book Design Awards. It also won The Russell Clark Award at the 2005 LIANZA Children's Book Awards, and was listed as a 2005 Storylines Notable Picture Book.

Uncle Jack (2005) is published by Trapeze. Billy: A Lolly Leopold Story (Trapeze, 2006), is the story of Billy, a regular little boy trapped in a class of over-achievers on Pet & Produce Day. Billy was listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Picture Book. Little Nan (Trapeze) is the final book in the Lolly Leopold series.

The 10pm Question was published by Longacre Press in October 2008, and was top of the New Zealand fiction bestseller list for several months. The novel won the Young Adult category at the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and young Adults, and was named the New Zealand Post Book of the Year.

The judges say of The 10pm Question: 'de Goldi's winning book invites you to become part of another family, to spend some quality time with its members, become engrossed in the family dynamics to the point that, when it's time to leave, we very reluctantly shut the door on these new friends because we don't wish to part from them, because this family has now become our family, too...The judges predict, with reasonable confidence, that The 10PM Question will become an enduring classic. One could say in fact there was little to question about our choice of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner.'

The 10pm Question received the Readers' Choice Award at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. The work was also listed as a Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. Kate de Goldi was interviewed by Kim Hill in the anthology, Words Chosen Carefully, edited by Siobhan Harvey (Cape Catley Ltd, 2010).

Kate De Goldi won the 2011 Corine International Book Prize Young Readers Award. The International Book Prize is awarded to German and international "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 LIANZA Award 2013. The ACB with Honora Lee was named as a Globe 100 Best Book 2014.

Kate de Goldi’s latest children's novel, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, was published in 2015. A structurally-inventive story about stories, the novel begins with Barney Kettle, a boy who aspires to a career as a world-famous film director. David Hill reviewed From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, noting that de Goldi offers “great control of tone; a protagonist who will haunt you for days afterwards; breadth of skill and generosity of spirit” (The Weekend Herald).

From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle was listed as a Storylines Notable Book for 2016 and won the Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award at the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Last updated September 2016.

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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?
Visiting schools.

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.

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Media Links and Clips

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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro
Wellington 6011, New Zealand