"Children seem endowed with a mixed gift - knowing and not knowing: a preternatural wisdom that makes them sometimes see things true and unclouded; and a stricken bafflement in the face of adult and worldly dissembling. I like stories for children that occupy the tricky territory between those states of being."
Born in Christchurch in 1959, Kate launched her career in 1988 by winning the American Express Short Story Award, and three years later won the BNZ/Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award. Her first novel (for adult readers), like you, really, was published in 1994 under the pseudonym Kate Flannery. Her provocative and challenging stories about contemporary teenagers and their struggle to craft their identity both inside and outside thefamily dynamic, are set in her native South Island, in Canterbury or Westland.
Kate has written three books for young adults: Sanctuary (1996), which won the New Zealand Post Senior Fiction Award and the Esther Glen medal; Love, Charlie Mike, which was short-listed in the 1998 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, and Closed, Stranger, which took out the Honours Award in the same competition (2000).
Kate is a regular reviewer of children's books on National Radio's Kim Hill programme. Her books for young adults are published internationally and regularly feature on school curricula in both New Zealand and across the Tasman.
From 1999-2006 Kate taught the Children's Writing and Young Adult Novel Workshops at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.
Kate's picture book Clubs, illustrated by Jacqui Colley, was awarded Best Picture Book and Book of the Year in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2005 and in the same year picked up a design award, winning the Best Typography category at the Spectrum Print Book Design Awards 2005 and the Russell Clark Award at the LIANZA Children's Book Award. Her other collaborations with Jacqui Colley are Uncle Jack and Billy, picture books for all ages.
Kate's novel, The 10pm Question was published by Longacre Press in October, 2008. The book was the winner of the Book of the Year Award - NZ Post Childrens and Young Adults' Book Awards 2009 and of the Readers Choice Award - Montana New Zealand Book Awards in the same year. It has also won the LUCHS Prize for children's and teenage literature in the prestigious Corine International Book Award 2011.
In 2010 Kate was awarded the Creative NZ Michael King Fellowship of $100,000 to research a book on children's literature bibliophile, Susan Price. The ACB with Honora Lee was published in 2012.
Kate teaches creative writing in schools throughout the country and is a regular speaker at festivals and literary events.