Breadcrumbs

Caws and claws: two new fiction books from Catherine Chidgey

28 October 2022

University of Waikato academic and award-winning author Catherine Chidgey launched her seventh novel and second children's book last night

University of Waikato academic and award-winning author Catherine Chidgey launched her seventh novel, The Axeman’s Carnival, at an event on the Hamilton campus last night, along with her second children’s book, Jiffy’s Greatest Hits.

Catherine is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing in Te Kura Toi School of Arts at the University, leading a thriving programme alongside friend and colleague Dr Tracey Slaughter.

“We are enormously proud of the Creative Writing programme, and proud of how it has grown,” says Catherine. “It started as some summer school papers taught by Tracey and other writers including the late, great Peter Wells… and grew from there to undergraduate papers first, then to the full Master of Professional Writing that we now offer.”

The Axeman’s Carnival is told through the eyes of Tama, a magpie who is rescued as a chick by farmer’s wife Marnie. Tama learns to speak and becomes an internet sensation, all the while bearing witness to developing tensions between Marnie and her husband Rob. Newsroom calls it ‘remarkable, brilliant, a classic in the making’.

Catherine Chidgey, Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Leman and Katey Leman at the launch of Catherine's books

Catherine’s children’s offering, Jiffy’s Greatest Hits, is illustrated by Astrid Matijasevich and  features a cartoon cat who loves to sing into the wee hours of the night (much to the exasperation of his family). Kim Hill calls it ‘hilarious’.

“All of my books have been quite wildly different in many respects,” says Catherine. “But there are themes I often return to, like the power dynamics within relationships, or the absent or missing child – that figure haunts the margins of my work.”

Catherine established the country’s richest short story competition, the Sargeson Prize, at University of Waikato in 2019, following the closure of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award.

“The Sargeson Prize is filling that gap, if you look at the number of entries. We had 1125 stories across the Open and Secondary School categories this year.” The Sargeson Prize further cements the University’s reputation as a place where creative writing thrives and is nurtured.


Latest stories

Related stories

Farewell to change maker, Dr David Nielson

The University of Waikato is mourning the passing of Dr David Neilson, a member of…

Art for Art’s Sake - and for the district of Waipā

University of Waikato Head of School, Te Kura Toi (School of Arts) Professor Gareth Schott…

University of Waikato researchers honoured at Royal Society Te Aprārangi awards

Two University of Waikato academics were honoured at the Royal Society Te Apārangi awards held…

Get involved and grow - message from global leadership forum

When the opportunity to take part in a Global Leadership forum presented itself to first…

Aotearoa’s richest short story prize awarded

The art of the Kiwi short story is alive and well if entries to this…

Language revitalisation through international punk

A misspent youth spent in dive bars and playing in punk bands has been the…

State of Australasia Cities Conference comes to Aotearoa

For the first time in its 20-year history, the State of Australasia Cities Conference will…

Phillida Perry

Student leads Covid-19 documentary on our 'pink-haired scientist' - Dr Siouxsie Wiles

Bachelor of Arts student, Phillida Perry, co-produced Ms. Information, a 90-minute film that follows Dr…

‘If only they made better life choices’ – how simplistic explanations of poverty and food insecurity miss the mark

The way we perceive poverty, hunger and household food insecurity is shaped by media, government…

New era of opera training launched in New Zealand at Waikato University

An opera studio focused on career readiness for talented young New Zealand singers has been…

Do you believe in luck?

New research reveals culture plays a major part in whether people believe in luck and…

It’s a problem when philosophers of human enhancement follow the money

Nootropics — drugs that purport to enhance cognitive functions — have come to the Amazon…