Kiwi women's fiction writers making headlines around the world

by Jenny Wheeler / 10 July, 2019

A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino.

New Zealand women's fiction writers are making bestseller lists worldwide. Here are a few of those making headlines.

Nicky Pellegrino

A Dream of Italy (Hachette, $30)

Nicky Pellegrino’s readers tell her if they can’t go to Italy on holiday, then reading one of her 11 novels full of friendship, food and fun is the next best thing. It’s a winning formula that saw 2017’s A Year at Hotel Gondola make local bestseller lists 13 weeks in a row.

A Dream of Italy is a heart-warming urban fable that’s an equally strong contender for top-selling status. Buy a crumbling, abandoned home in a picturesque mountain village for the price of a cup of coffee, and re-make your life.

Published in March during one of this country’s grimmest weeks, it offers an upbeat antidote to despair, accompanied by a new marketing tag, “up lit”, a fast-growing new category in popular fiction. True to type, it’s an uplifting, easy-to-read page turner that leaves a warm glow.

It may be a sign of the increasing acceptance of commercial fiction on the literary scene that Pellegrino spoke at the Auckland Writer’s Festival in May. It’s certainly true that women’s fiction regularly dominates the bestseller lists worldwide, and a growing band of New Zealand writers are sharing in that success. 

Nalini Singh
The New York Times top-selling author, known for her internationally successful Guild Hunter and Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series, recently published her first thriller, A Madness of Sunshine.

Catherine Bennetto
International rom-coms with “Bridget Jones” dilemmas: How Not to Fall in Love Actually, and Make or Break.

Nikki Crutchley
Her Coromandel mystery Nothing Bad Happens Here was a finalist in the 2018 Ngaio Marsh awards for Best First Novel.

Danielle Hawkins
Waikato veterinarian writing rural romance with an international following.

Catherine Robertson
Her “chick lit” novels have all hit No 1 in New Zealand. She hates the label, claiming it pushes writers into a “pink and fluffy” ghetto. Her novel Gabriel’s Bay moves firmly into contemporary fiction.

Soraya M. Lane
World War II historicals under the Amazon Lake Union imprint: Wives of War is a Kindle No 1 bestseller, The Spitfire Girls debuted in the top 100 Kindle books in the US and UK in March – yet it’s hard to find her work locally.

Tammy Robinson
Indie-published for years, attracting scores of five-star reviews and favourable comparisons to English writer JoJo Moyes. Recently landed an international publishing deal with her seventh novel, Differently Normal.

Jennifer Lane
Author of All our Secrets, winner of Best First Novel in the 2019 Ngaio Marsh awards (four of the five novelists in this section were women).

Dr Vanda Symon
Detective fiction. Her four-book Dunedin-based Sam Shephard series is being re-published in the UK after re-editing to emphasise the Kiwi setting and vernacular.

NZ romance authors with staying power
Wendy Vella, Yvonne Lindsay, Frances Housden, Sophia James and Karina Bliss (among many others). All have strong romance followings and have won awards, either as indie authors or with imprints like Harlequin. 

This article was first published in the June 2019 issue of North & South.

Follow North & South on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and sign up to the fortnightly email.

Latest

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Underland
108287 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Books

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Und…

by Tony Murrow

In a new book, Robert Macfarlane heads underground to ponder mankind’s effect on the planet.

Read more
Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for frying
108203 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for…

by Jennifer Bowden

For decades, the word in the kitchen has been that olive oil shouldn’t be used for frying, but new research could change that.

Read more
Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours
108108 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Profiles

Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours

by Linda Herrick

Gretchen Albrecht paintings may be intangible, but they are triggered by real-life experience, she tells Linda Herrick.

Read more
That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a punch
108435 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Television

That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a pun…

by Diana Wichtel

The taboo-busting doco is trying to change our default settings on race, but some people aren't stoked.

Read more
Are there too many tourists in NZ?
108444 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Are there too many tourists in NZ?

by North & South

Here's what's inside North and South's August 2019 issue.

Read more
Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a breakthrough in New Zealand?
108428 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Tech

Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a break…

by Peter Griffin

The tech company at the centre of a trade war between the US and China is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prove it can be trusted.

Read more
The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace
108368 2019-07-15 00:00:00Z Movies

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing…

by Russell Baillie

A long-lost concert movie capturing Lady Soul in her prime is heading to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Read more
The untold history of China's one child policy
108182 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z History

The untold history of China's one child policy

by RNZ

Nanfu Wang explains the story behind her film One Child Nation, which screens at the International Film Festival this July.

Read more