NZ authors on the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 longlist

Kete congratulates New Zealand writers Meg Mason and Catherine Chidgey on being long listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2022 on International Women’s Day.

A fantastic list of 16 novels were announced including Chidgey’s Remote Sympathy and Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss. Read on for more about both books and their authors.

Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press), RRP $33 from Mighty Ape

Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind and life in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camp’s administrator.

When Frau Hahn’s poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naive ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. A decade earlier, Dr Weber had invented a machine believed that its subtle resonances might cure cancer. But does it really work? One way or another, it might save a life.

A tour de force about the evils of obliviousness, Remote Sympathy compels us to question our continuing and wilful ability to look the other way in a world that is in thrall to the idea that everything-even facts and morals-is relative.

Catherine Chidgey

Catherine Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. Her first, In a Fishbone Church, won Best First Book at the New Zealand Book Awards and at the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific). In the UK it won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second, Golden Deeds, was a Notable Book of the Year in the New York Times Book Review and a Best Book in the LA Times Book Review. Catherine has won the Prize in Modern Letters, the Katherine Mansfield Award, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, the Janet Frame Fiction Prize, and the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize for The Wish Child. Catherine has a degree in German literature and lived in Berlin for three years during the 1990s. She lives in Ngāruawāhia, and lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Waikato.


ReadingRoom author profile by Aimee Cronin & Jane Ussher

Kete review by Paula Green

Academy of NZ Literature review by Sally Blundell

ReadingRoom review by Stephanie Johnson

The Spinoff review by Elizabeth Heritage

ReadClose review by Josie Shapiro


Radio New Zealand interview with Kim Hill

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins Publishers), RRP $35, currently $27 at Mighty Ape

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.

New Zealand-born author Meg Mason began her journalism career at the Financial Times and The Times. Her work has since appeared in Vogue, Grazia, The Sunday Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sunday Telegraph. She has written humour for the New Yorker, been a monthly columnist for GQ, a regular contributor to Vogue and Marie Claire and a contributing editor at Elle. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.


The Guardian interview (June 2021)

denizen interview (2021)

The Spinoff on Meg Mason landing a US film deal


Radio New Zealand interview (October 2021)

Our congratulations also go to the other 14 writers on the longlist with:

The judging panel will whittle the sixteen books down to a shortlist of six to be announced on 27 April 2022. The winner of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on Wednesday 15 June.

Watch the long list announcement by the judges — Mary Ann Sieghart (Chair), Lorraine Candy, Dorothy Koomson, Anita Sethi and Pandora Sykes — and find out more about the longlisted books below.