Duignan, Kate

IN BRIEF

Kate Duignan’s first novel, Breakwater, was published in 2001 and was well received by critics and readers. Her short stories and poems have appeared in journals and anthologies. Born and raised in Wellington, Duignan completed the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters, graduating with distinction in 2000. She received the Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship in 2001 and the Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary in 2002.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Duignan, Kate (1974 - ) is a fiction writer.

Born and raised in Wellington and educated at Victoria University, Duignan graduated in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in English Literature. In 2000, she completed the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters, graduating with distinction.

A draft of Breakwater was Duignan's MA thesis and an extract from the novel was published in Spectacular Babies (2001), a collection of work by members of the 2000 MA programme. Two short stories - 'Titahi Bay' and 'Various Events Occur Over Summer' - had previously appeared in Takahe magazine.

Breakwater was warmly received by critics and rated on the New Zealand Bestsellers list. It tells the story of 19-year-old Ella whose unplanned pregnancy changes the shape of her life in unexpected ways. She moves in with Louise, the owner of a cafe called the Breakwater and a nurturing figure for the motherless Ella. When Louise's teenage children are involved in an horrific car accident, the birth of Ella's baby is not the only matter of life and death for the two women to cope with.

'Breakwater catches your attention immediately, and keeps you absorbed till the end,' writes Chris Bourke in North & South.

'[A] debut that will reach and move a wide audience, and one of the most enjoyable novels of the year.'

'[A]n impressively confident debut,' writes Jane Stafford in the NZ Listener.

'It is the novel's great strength that it asks the reader to think about the way contemporary families are configured.'

In 2001, Kate Duignan received a US $10,000 Modern Letters Fellowship from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Kate Duignan was one of the authors that toured Waikato in February 2003 with the Book Council's Words on Wheels tour.

Duignan was also awarded the 2004 Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University. During her year in Dunedin, she worked on a new novel set in Edinburgh and Dunedin in contemporary and historic times 'at the point where they touch'. Kate completed the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2000. She received a Schaeffer Fellowship in 2001 and the Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary in 2002.

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Media links and clips

  • Kate Duignan’s profile on Victoria University Press site

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