Charlotte Grimshaw

Charlotte Grimshaw is an award-winning New Zealand novelist, columnist and reviewer who lives in Auckland. Born December 1968 - aged 51.


Charlotte Grimshaw is a daughter of C. K. Stead[1] and a graduate of Auckland University with degrees in law and arts. She worked first in a commercial law firm and then for a criminal barrister, taking part in murder and manslaughter trials, before leaving the law to write fiction.

Charlotte Grimshaw's latest novel, Mazarine, was published by Penguin Random house on 2 April 2018. Mazarine has been described by Jane Parkin as "hugely compelling and beautifully written."

Grimshaw's first book, Provocation (1999), drew on her experience as a criminal lawyer. Her second book, Guilt (2000), followed the lives of four characters in Auckland in 1987. Her third novel, Foreign City (2005) is the story of a young New Zealand painter living in London.[2]

Grimshaw’s collection of short stories Opportunity was published in 2007. Opportunity is a series of stories that can be read separately, but contribute to a unified whole. The author says it is ‘a novel with a large cast of characters...each story stands by itself, and at the same time adds to the larger one.' Opportunity was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and won New Zealand's top award for fiction, the Montana medal. Her interconnected short story collection, Singularity, a companion volume to Opportunity, was published in 2009 by Random House New Zealand and by Jonathan Cape in the UK. Singularity was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award and the Asia Pacific section of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Grimshaw has contributed short stories to numerous anthologies, including: Myth of the 21st Century (Reed 2006); The Best New Zealand Fiction Volumes Two, Three, Four and Five (Vintage); The New Zealand Book of the Beach Volumes One and Two (David Ling); Some Other Country (VUP); Second Violins (Vintage, 2008).

Grimshaw's novel, The Night Book (2010), a fiction finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards contains characters from her popular collections Opportunity and Singularity, and follows the lives of a group of Aucklanders, one of whom is a National Party Prime Minister. Grimshaw's fifth novel, Soon (2012) continues the story of National Party Prime Minister David Hallwright, and has been described as "a bold and biting satire on wealth and pretentiousness," and on the current political situation in New Zealand. Grimshaw's latest novel, Starlight Peninsula (2015) is a sequel to Soon, and also introduces a new cast of characters.

Charlotte Grimshaw has said her intention with her last five books has been to create her own version of a Human Comedy, after Balzac - a series of linked novels and short story collections about life in New Zealand.

Grimshaw wrote a monthly column for Metro Magazine for eight years. She regularly contributes book reviews to The New Zealand Listener, and The Spinoff website. Charlotte Grimshaw has judged the Katherine Mansfield Award and the Sunday Times Short Story Competition. She is a literary advisor to the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, a fellowship awarded to New Zealand writers by Grimshaw & Co Solicitors.

Charlotte Grimshaw's new novel Mazarine was published by Penguin Random House in April 2018.

Prizes and awards

Charlotte Grimshaw has been awarded a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship. She has also been a double finalist and prize winner in the Sunday Star-Times short story competition.

In 2006 she was awarded the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award.

In 2007 she won a place in the Book Council’s Six Pack Prize for her short story, "The Yard Broom", which was published in The Six Pack Volume Two.

In the same year Opportunity was short-listed for the world’s richest short fiction prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and the author was shortlisted for the prize of Montana Fiction Reviewer of the Year.

In 2008 she was awarded the Fiction award and the Montana medal for Fiction or Poetry at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards for Opportunity.

Grimshaw received the 2008 Montana prize for Reviewer of the Year in recognition of her fiction reviews in The New Zealand Listener.

In 2009 Singularity was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Grimshaw won a Qantas media award for her Metro column.

In 2011 The Night Book was one of three works of fiction shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Charlotte Grimshaw was a finalist in the 2016 Canon Media Awards for Reviewer of the Year.

Charlotte Grimshaw won the award for Reviewer of the Year in the 2018 Voyager Media Awards.

Grimshaw won the award for Reviewer of the Year in the 2019 Voyager Media Awards.

Her latest novel, Mazarine is long listed for the 2019 Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

In 2019 Grimshaw's novels, The Night Book and Soon were adapted for television into the TV series, The Bad Seed. The novels have been republished by Penguin Random as a compilation volume titled The Bad Seed.

Partial bibliography

  • Provocation. London: Little Brown, 1999.
  • Guilt. London: Abacus, 2000.
  • Foreign City. Auckland: Vintage, 2005.
  • Opportunity. Auckland: Vintage, 2007
  • Singularity. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009.
  • The Night Book. Vintage, 2010
  • Soon.Vintage 2012. Jonathan Cape 2013 Anansi Canada 2013
  • Starlight Peninsula Vintage Penguin Random House 2015
  • Mazarine Penguin Random House 2018
  • The Bad Seed Penguin Random House 2019
Short Stories
  • "Animals." Listener 3426.202 Jan (2006): 28-32.
  • "Gratitude." Sunday Star Times C Dec (2005): 4-5.
  • "The Storm." Listener April (2004): 44-46.
Short Story Collections
  • Essential New Zealand Short Stories. Auckland, Random House, 2009.
  • The Best New Zealand Fiction. Volume 5. Auckland, Vintage, 2008.
  • The Best New Zealand Fiction. Volume 4. Auckland: Vintage, 2007.
  • The New Zealand Book of the Beach. Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2007.


  1. "New Zealand's most private author". The New Zealand Herald. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. (June 2006) Review of Foreign City Archived 11 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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