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Chidgey's The Wish Child wins top prize

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/05/2017

Internationally renowned Waikato author Catherine Chidgey has won New Zealand's richest writing award for her novel The Wish Child.

The Ngaruawahia resident claimed the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Prize for her tale of two children living in Nazi Germany.

The judges described the work as exposing and celebrating the power of words - "so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with".

The novel is Chidgey's fourth and comes 13 years after her last work, The Transformation, which was published to critical acclaim.

Her debut novel, In a Fishbone Church, won a Commonwealth Writers Prize (South-east Asia and South Pacific).

She followed up with Golden Deeds, which was chosen as a Book of the Year by Time Out (London), a Best Book by the LA Times Book Review and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.

Chidgey's success was announced at the Ockham NZ Book Awards on Tuesday night as part of the Auckland Writers Festival.


Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize: The Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey.

Poetry: Fits and Starts, by Andrew Johnston.

Royal Society Te Aparangi Award for General Non-Fiction: Can You Tolerate This?, by Ashleigh Young (general non-fiction);

Illustrated Non-Fiction: A History of New Zealand Women, by Barbara Brookes.

Best First Book Awards:

- A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 Years of Ngati Porou Carving, 1830-1930, by Ngarino Ellis with photos by Natalie Robertson (illustrated non-fiction);

- Hera Lindsay Bird, by Hera Lindsay Bird (poetry);

- My Father's Island: A Memoir, by Adam Dudding (general non-fiction);

- Black Ice Matter, by Gina Cole (fiction).

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