The Michael Gifkins Prize for an unpublished novel

The Michael Gifkins Prize for an unpublished novel prize 2024 opened for applications 31 July 2023 and closed 13 October 2023.

Previous winners: Ruby Porter with Attraction; Tom Remiger with Soldiers; Gigi Fenster with A Good Winter; Tom Baragwanath with Paper Cage; Emma Ling Sidnam with Backwaters, and Tina Shaw.

The Michael Gifkins Prize for an unpublished novel is an exciting award for writers holding New Zealand citizenship or who are permanent residents of New Zealand. The prize, which celebrates the life and work of the writer and agent Michael Gifkins, is open to published and unpublished authors who are invited to enter manuscripts of adult fiction. The manuscript must be unpublished and not on submission to another publisher.

The winner will receive a contract for world rights with Text Publishing and an advance to the value of NZ$10,000.

The prize will be judged by a panel of three made up of two New Zealand literary figures and one Text Publishing employee.

This award came about thanks to a generous financial commitment from Ann Hatherly and André Gifkins, the partner and son of the late Michael Gifkins, and from Text Publishing, the winner will receive a contract for world rights from Text, and an advance to the value of NZ$10,000.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) administers the award. Entries must be made on the New Zealand Society of Author’s website ( by the advertised deadline.

Ann Hatherly says she sees this award as a fitting way to continue Michael Gifkins’ contribution to writers and to New Zealand literature.

After Michael died, we received many emails from writers offering sincere gratitude for the help he had given them. But they also expressed concern about the hole his absence would now leave. It was Lloyd Jones who first suggested that Text Publishing was the ‘best fit’ for the prize because of the huge respect Michael Gifkins had for Michael Heyward and his team.

Michael Heyward says: 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. He had a wicked sense of humour, and we spent hours laughing on the phone together. Life is duller without him around. It is an honour for Text to support The Michael Gifkins Prize.

Michael Gifkins (1945-2014) author, editor, and literary agent.

Born in Wellington, Michael Gifkins was educated at the University of Auckland, where he also later taught English. As an agent, he represented a number of leading writers, including Lloyd Jones and Greg McGee. 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. He was also a fine writer and his stories were widely published. He was the author of three published short story collections: After the RevolutionSummer 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.

Michael Gifkins was a member of The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) from 1982 to 2014.

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