'It's material, make a story out of it,' was the mantra Charlotte Grimshaw grew up with in her literary family. But when her life suddenly turned upside-down, she needed to re-examine the reality of that material. The more she delved into her memories, the more the real characters in her life seemed to object.
In a new take on ‘where do you get your ideas?’ Charlotte Grimshaw tells Catherine Robertson about growing up in a family where everything was mined for material, and how she managed to find the truth within the fiction.
Charlotte Grimshaw is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, two outstanding collections of linked short stories and a memoir, The Mirror Book, shortlisted for the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. As a reviewer in The New Zealand Listener noted: ‘A swarming energy pervades every page she writes . . . her descriptive writing has always been of the highest order. Most of it would work just as well as poetry.’
She has been awarded the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and is a winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award. Her story collection Opportunity was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Prize, and won New Zealand’s premier Montana Award for Fiction, along with the Montana Medal for Book of the Year. She was also Montana Book Reviewer of the Year. Her story collection Singularity was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Prize and the Asia Pacific section of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Her novel, The Night Book, was a finalist for the New Zealand Post Award. Her novel Mazarine was longlisted for the 2019 Ockham Book Awards. She has won a Qantas media award for her columns, and was the 2018, 2019 and 2021 Voyager Media Awards Reviewer of the Year. Her bestselling novels The Night Book and Soon have been made into the TV miniseries, The Bad Seed.
Catherine Robertson’s novels are all #1 New Zealand bestsellers. She writes contemporary fiction for smart readers who like to be entertained and don’t mind occasional swears.
Catherine has lived in the US and the UK, and currently divides her time between New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington and sunny Hawke’s Bay. She has one husband, two grown sons, four Burmese cats and two rescue dogs.
She is a book reviewer and regular guest on Radio NZ. She’s on the board of arts organisation Verb Wellington, a member of the Academy of NZ Literature and Romance Writers of NZ, and she teaches creative writing in prisons. In 2020, she was Writer in Residence at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.
Best of all, she’s co-owner of a bookshop – the beautiful Good Books, in Te Aro, Wellington.
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