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Michael Gifkins

Michael Gifkins’s † Biography

Last Updated:
11/03/2021, 2:48 pm
Writer and Literary Agent
Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship 1985
“Michael Gifkins was kind, wise and generous. A gifted writer himself, he was a fine agent, and completely committed to the cause of New Zealand literature. He loved his writers. He challenged them, spurred them on, and caught them when they fell.” – Michael Heyward, Text Publisher

Michael Gifkins was a leading literary agent, short story writer, critic, publisher and editor. Born in Wellington in 1945, he attended the University of Auckland where he later taught English literature.

As an agent he represented a number of leading writers, including Lloyd Jones and Greg McGee; ultimately playing a major role in the international success of both the novel and film of Lloyd Jones’ Booker-shortlisted Mister Pip. He was also a literary critic, a publishing consultant, an anthologist and a highly esteemed editor, whose sympathetic hand and brilliant eye influenced many prominent New Zealand authors.

Over the course of his career he published three short story collections: After the Revolution, Summer Is the Côte d’Azur and The Amphibians. He was the Writer in Residence at the University of Auckland in 1983 and was the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow in Menton, France, in 1985.

His legacy is found in The Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel. This prize has been awarded annually by the New Zealand Society of Authors since 2018. The recipient receives a publishing contract from Text Publishing and an advance in the value of NZ$10,000, and celebrates Gifkin’s life and work.

Michael Gifkins died 29 July 2014