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Join Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod as she chairs a fiction panel with multiple award-winning panellists Catherine Chidgey, Lee Murray and Brannavan Gnanalingam. This event is sponsored by Waikato University and supported by Poppies Hamilton with books for sale and signing.

Parking is available via Gate 2b, Knighton Road, Hamilton, with the Academy a two minute walk around the campus lake. At this time of day car parking on campus is free and no ticket is required.

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Catherine Chidgey is a multiple award-winner whose novels have achieved international acclaim. In a Fishbone Church, her debut, won Best First Book at both the New Zealand Book Awards and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South-East Asia and South Pacific region). Golden Deeds was a Book of the Year in The New York Times Book Review and the LA Times, while The Wish Child won the Janet Frame Fiction Prize, the Nielsen Independent New Zealand Bestseller award, and the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize. The Times (UK) called it ‘A remarkable book with a stunningly original twist.’ Her sixth novel, Remote Sympathy, was shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (UK) and shortlisted for the €100,000 DUBLIN Literary Award (Ireland). Her novel The Axeman’s Carnival, set in rural New Zealand and narrated by a magpie, appeared in October 2022; Radio NZ called it ‘a remarkable literary feat…wonderfully funny…the novel builds to an absolutely astonishing, visionary scene’. It won the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel Pet is set in 1980s New Zealand in a Catholic primary school and is a taut psychological thriller navigating themes of guilt and betrayal.
Catherine teaches Creative Writing at the University of Waikato and lives in Ngāruawāhia. In 2019, with sponsorship from the University, she conceived the Sargeson Prize – New Zealand’s richest short story competition. In addition to her novels, she has written two children’s books and has translated many picture books from the German.
Photo credit: Ebony Lamb

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Lee Murray is an author, editor, poet, essayist, and screenwriter from Aotearoa. A USA Today Bestselling author with close to 40 titles to her credit, Lee is the winner of multiple Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows, and Bram Stoker Awards, and New Zealand's only recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award for psychological horror. Titles by Lee include military thriller series, the Taine McKenna Adventures, supernatural crime-noir trilogy The Path of Ra (with Dan Rabarts), and short fiction collection, Grotesque: Monster Stories. She is the editor of twenty-one anthologies, among them Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women with Geneve Flynn (RDSP), Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror with Angela Yuriko Smith, and forthcoming women in horror poetry collection Under Her Eye with Lindy Ryan (BSB). Other works include non-fiction title Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and Other Self-editing Tips (with Angela Yuriko Smith), and several books for children. Lee’s short stories and poems have appeared in prestigious venues such as Weird Tales, Space & Time, and Grimdark Magazine. She is a Rhysling- and Pushcart-nominated poet, and an Elgin Award runner up. Her poem “Cheongsam” won her the 2021 Australian Shadows Award,  and her prose poetry manuscript Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud won the 2023 NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize and is forthcoming from The Cuba Press. A manuscript assessor, international literary judge, conference panellist and guest of honour, Lee is a former HWA Mentor of the Year, NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow, and a Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow. 



Brannavan Gnanalingam is a novelist, freelance writer and lawyer based in Wellington. He has published seven novels, including Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse and shortlisted Sodden Downstream and Sprigs. His sixth novel Sprigs (Lawrence and Gibson, 2020) also won the 2021 Ngaio Marsh Award. Sprigs explores toxic masculinity in a New Zealand private boys’ school.
For ten years Gnanalingam contributed to the online publication The Lumière Reader during which time he covered film festivals such as Venice, Berlin, Rotterdam, and Cannes. He has also written for The Spinoff, The New Zealand Listener, and The Dominion Post.
Slow Down You’re Here (Lawrence & Gibson, 2022), set in Auckland, New Zealand, is a pacey book full of love and desperation. Murdoch Stephens of the Lawrence & Gibson publishing collective writes ‘Gnanalingam has a gift for realist fiction that is so real that it gives the reader an entirely new view on what might have been considered all too familiar’ .

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Elizabeth (Libby) Kirkby-McLeod is the author of several books, including poetry collection Family Instructions Upon Release (The Cuba Press, 2019) and the children’s series Eugene’s Island. She edited Lit: Stories from Home (OneTree House, 2021) and speaks and reviews regularly for radio, print, and at events. She also works part-time as a staff reporter for Radio New Zealand.

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