Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Michael Gifkins, a major figure in New Zealand book publishing, has died.
For many years New Zealand’s leading literary agent, Michael died yesterday, 29 July, after suffering from prostate cancer for some years.
As an agent he represented a number of leading writers, including Lloyd Jones and Greg McGee, and played a major role in the international success of both the novel and film of Lloyd Jones’ Booker-shortlisted Mister Pip.
Michael was also a literary critic, a publishing consultant, an anthologist and a highly esteemed book editor, whose sympathetic hand and brilliant sense of language influenced many leading New Zealand authors and books.
He was also a fine published writer in his own right and his stories were widely published. He was the author of three published 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.
Born in Wellington in 1945, Michael was educated at the University of Auckland, where he also later taught English. He also worked in his earlier years as a commercial fisherman, waterside worker and stonemason.