Breadcrumbs

University of Waikato academic shortlisted in international short story competition

23 April 2020

University of Waikato lecturer and eminent New Zealand writer Catherine Chidgey has been named this week as a shortlisted author for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

The Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth, and is one of the most prestigious international writing competitions.

This year’s shortlist of 20 authors was chosen from 5,107 entries from 49 Commonwealth countries, with Chidgey as one of two New Zealand authors shortlisted.

“I’m delighted to have my story recognised in such a prominent international competition,” says Chidgey.

Chidgey’s story is titled ‘Attention’ and is about a former child actor whose career is cut short when he takes on his most challenging role.

Chidgey says that inspiration struck for this story when she was listening to true crime podcasts while enduring a lengthy daily commute to a previous role she had at MIT in South Auckland.

“The story focuses on a man thinking back on his pushy stage mother, who expected him to go on to become a famous child star.

“However, his role as a murdered boy in a TV re-enactment thwarts his acting career and colours the rest of his life.

“At its heart, it’s a story of how the past impacts the present, and how certain experiences never leave us,” explains Chidgey.

On her writing process, Chidgey says that short stories tend to come in a rush every now and then, in between novels, but that’s not to say that it’s an easy process.

“At the moment, I have my head down in my next novel with not a lot of time to focus on short story writing. However, when they do happen, I love the charge I get from completing one, and the immediate sense of achievement I feel compared to the much more delayed gratification of a novel.”

As well as copyediting her next novel, Remote Sympathy, due out in October this year, Chidgey is busy with the Sargeson Prize, a short story competition she initiated and judged last year. Sponsored by the University of Waikato, it has just launched again for 2020.

The Sargeson Prize is New Zealand’s richest short story competition, offering the overall winner a $5,000 cash prize, and has two divisions: Open and Secondary Schools. The 2020 competition will be judged by celebrated master of the form, Owen Marshall.

The regional winners for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are due to be announced on 2 June, with the overall winner to be named on 7 July.


Latest stories

Related stories

New Pro Vice-Chancellor focused on bringing a human dimension to tackle some of the big problems of our time

Professor Patrick Leman has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor to the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology…

Newly promoted academics

New Professorial Appointments for Waikato

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley has announced academic promotions for one new Professor…

Te Riria

Summer research student joins team of experts to investigate algal blooms in Lake Taupō

Te Riria Potiki has spent the summer testing algal blooms in Lake Taupō.

te-riria-potiki

Scholarship winner looking to the future of the environment

This year’s Artemis Scholarship recipient is keen to use her degree to help iwi mitigate…

Michalia Arathimos

New Writer in Residence for 2021

The University of Waikato is set to welcome Michalia Arathimos as the Writer in Residence…

People on Vanuatu’s Malekula Island speak more than 30 Indigenous languages. Here’s why we must record them

Malekula, the second-largest island in the Vanuatu archipelago, has a linguistic connection to Aotearoa. All…

Linguistweets – 15 minutes. Hashtag. Go!

Two University of Waikato projects were the only New Zealand submissions selected to take part…

By declaring a climate emergency Jacinda Ardern needs to inspire hope, not fear

There is no question that we must act, and act fast, on climate change. This…

Fulbright Scholar directly affected by the pandemic

The University of Waikato’s Associate Professor Karen Barbour was one of only seven New Zealand…

Hands making a hashtag

Hashtags may not be words, grammatically speaking, but they help spread a message

Hashtags are a pervasive feature of social media posts and used widely in search engines.

Student's writing dream is becoming a reality

Master of Professional Writing graduate, Jared Kane, received a $21,000 Creative New Zealand Arts Continuity…