"One of my central obsessions is the difficulty of connecting, and my novels are partly about that. Love runs into all sorts of difficulties."

Maurice Gee was born in Whakatane in 1931 and passed much of his childhood in the country town of Henderson - a town that finds many fictional equivalents in his writing. Particularly significant for Maurice was Henderson Creek where, he said, "I seem to have spent half my boyhood", and which represents "a place of marvellous and terrible things". 

Maurice gained an MA in English Literature in 1954 and initially worked as a school teacher in Paeroa, but found little to enjoy in the profession. He spent 1961 teaching and writing in England, partly supported by a grant from the New Zealand Literary Fund, a testimony to his growing literary status.

A year later The Big Season, Maurice Gee's first novel, was published. Patterns and themes that would shape later books are already there: tension between family members, violence as an unavoidable fact of life, social constraint and inner freedom. Maurice's literary breakthrough came with the publication of the trilogy - Plumb (1978), Meg (1981) and Sole Survivor (1983) which provide a broadly conceived image of life in New Zealand over three generations. Plumb is widely considered one of New Zealand's finest novels.

Maurice soon added another string to his bow by venturing into writing for children. As a result of this, many of the children growing up with Maurice's hugely captivating children's books such as Under the Mountain have also turned into enthusiastic readers of his adult work.

Books published from the mid-1980s proved that here was a novelist working at the height of his imaginative powers. With Prowlers (1987) and The Burning Boy (1990), Gee confirmed the skills he developed to a high art: the historical novel grounded firmly in the present, and the complex novel of social life. Going West (1993) is similarly significant for its exploration of the nature of literary creation, while Live Bodies (1998) crowns Maurice's success by winning the Deutz Medal for Fiction at the 1998 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

In 2002 Maurice was honoured by the Children's Literature Foundation for his contribution to children's fiction and an Arts Foundation Icon Award in 2003 Maurice Gee.  Since then, Maurice has gone on to publish The Scornful Moon (Penguin Books, 2003), which was shortlisted for Best Book in the South Pacific & South East Asian Region of the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize.

 

 
 The Limping Man
by Maurice Gee,
(Penguin NZ, 2010). 
Shortlisted for the
NZ Post Children's Book
Award:Senior Fiction 2011


In My Father's Den was made into a feature film and also released in New Zealand in 2004; The Scornful Moon was a runner up in the fiction category of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2004 and in 2004 Maurice Gee received a $60,000 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement for fiction and in the same year received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from the University of Auckland.

Maurice Gee was the winner of 2004 the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book with his fantasy classic Under the Mountain. The film Fracture, based on the novel Crime Story by Maurice Gee, was released throughout New Zealand in June 2004.

Blindsight (2005), won the Deutz Medal for fiction, in the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and Salt  (Penguin NZ, 2007), won the Young Adult Category in the 2008 New Zealand Post Book of the Year Awards. His most recent publication is The Limping Man (Penguin, 2010), the third in the Salt trilogy. 

Maurice Gee appeared at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival as the inaugural Honoured New Zealand Writer, an award conceived to celebrate New Zealand's most accomplished writers, their body of work and the immense contribution they have made to the literary landscape of New Zealand. 

Maurice Gee lives in Nelson.

Video

Check out this NZ Book Council animation of Maurice Gee's 'Going West'
1931
Born, Whakatane, New Zealand
1955
Publishes first short story, The Widow, in Landfall
1962
Publishes first novel, The Big Season - wins Hubert Church Award (1963)
1964
Burns Fellow, University of Otago
1976
A Glorious Comrade wins NZ Book Award for Fiction
1979
Publishes first children's book, Under the Mountain;Plumb wins NZ Book Award for Fiction and James Tait Black Memorial Prize (UK)
1982
Meg wins NZ Book Award for Fiction
1983
NZ Childrens Book of the Year Award for The Halfmen of O
1987
Honorary Doctorate in Literature, Victoria University of Wellington
1989
Writing Fellowship, Victoria University of Wellington
1991
The Burning Boy wins NZ Book Award for Fiction
1992
Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship, Menton, France
1995
NZ Childrens Book of the Year Award and Esther Glen Medal for The Fat Man
1998
Live Bodies wins Deutz Medal for Fiction, Montana NZ Book Awards
1999
Honorary Doctorate in Literature, University of Auckland
2002
Children's Literature Foundation Honour for  contribution to children's fiction
2003
Gaylene Gordon Award for Under the Mountain
2004
$60,000 Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement for fiction;Honorary Doctor of Literature - University of Auckland
2006
Deutz Medal for ficton-Montana NZ Book Awards for Blindsight
2008
NZ Post Young Adult Fiction Award for Salt
2013
Inaugural Honoured New Zealand Writer (Auckland Writers & Readers Festival)
2015
Gee's authorised biography, "Maurice Gee: Life and Work" (VUP), is published by Rachel Barrowman

Awards