3 AUGUST 6:30-8:00PM 


Free event 

Come along and hear our panellists Michalia Arathimos, Deborah Challinor and Catherine Chidgey in conversation with chair Maebh Long. This event is sponsored by Waikato University and supported by Poppies Bookshop with books for sale and signing. Complimentary refreshments will be served beforehand.




Deborah Challinor is the author of 17 bestselling historical fiction novels, two works of non-fiction about the Vietnam War, and a young adult novel. In 2010 she and her husband moved from New Zealand to Newcastle, Australia, so Deborah could research and write a series of novels set in 1830s Sydney about four convict girls inspired by her own family history, but they returned to New Zealand at the end of 2014.
For some years she has been the number one bestselling author of fiction in New Zealand, in 2017 she received a distinguished alumni award from Waikato University, and in 2018 she became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature and historical research.
Deborah was born and raised in Huntly, New Zealand, and attended Huntly College.
She has a PhD in history from Waikato University, wrote an opinion column and feature articles for newspapers, has edited special publications and books, and taught researching and writing historical fiction, and general New Zealand history, at university level for several years. She writes fiction full time and has done for 20 years, and her books are sold in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Germany, Russia and Czechoslovakia, and in eBook, audio and large print formats.
Her next book, currently untitled and due in 2022, is the fourth in The Restless Years series, which is set in New Zealand, Sydney and Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s.
Deborah is currently working on outlines for a new series set in Sydney during the 1860s and 70s.


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 LA Times Book Review and the New York Times Book Review.
Her much anticipated fourth novel, The Wish Child, was an instant bestseller, winning 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.'
Catherine’s numerous accolades include the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award and the inaugural Prize in Modern Letters. She has held the Sargeson Fellowship, the Todd New Writers’ Bursary, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship (France), the Rathcoola Residency (Ireland), the NZSA Beatson Fellowship and the
University of Otago Wallace Residency, and she has been Writer in Residence at the universities of Canterbury, Otago and Waikato. She has translated many children’s picture books from the German, and her own children’s book, Jiffy, Cat Detective, was published in 2019. Her sixth novel, Remote Sympathy, was shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Catherine teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato. In 2019, with sponsorship from the university, she conceived the Sargeson Prize short story competition – New Zealand’s richest short story prize.


Michalia Arathimos is a Greek New Zealand writer. She has published work in many places, including The Lifted Brow, Overland, Westerly, Landfall, Sport, Headland, JAAM, Turbine and Blackmail Press. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and a BA in English Literature. In 2020, Michalia was the Randell Cottage Writer in Residence, and also a
Sargeson Grimshaw Fellow. Her first novel, Aukati, won the Greek Australian Cultural League Award for Fiction. She also won the Australian Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award for her collection of short stories, Apologia. In 2021 she is the Waikato University Writer in Residence where she is working on her third book, Sojourn. She has also won the Sunday Star Times Short Story Prize and has written award-winning essays.


Maebh Long is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Waikato. Originally graduating from Cork in Ireland, she has studied and lectured in the US, the UK and at the University of the South Pacific. An authority on the work of Irish writer Flann O’Brien, she has edited his letters and also won the International Flann O’Brien Society Award for the best book-length publication 2013-2014 for Assembling Flann O’Brien.

Maebh has written widely on scientific as well as literary subjects, in a wide range of publications from newspapers to authored books. She is currently engaged in a long term collaborative project with Dr Matthew Hayward from the University of the South Pacific, exploring the relationship between modernities and modernisms in the writing of Oceania. In July she will begin a very topical, Marsden funded project examining the ways modernist writers developed political and medical metaphors of immunity.

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