Craig Cliff

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Darren Cliff

Novelist and short story writer, Craig Cliff has also published essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, travel writing, and been a columnist for the Dominion Post. Craig’s first novel, The Mannequin Makers (Vintage, 2013), has been described as ‘reminiscent of the likes of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda or Tim Winton’s Cloud Street’ (The Hoopla), and a ‘hymn to the vitality of life…a reminder of the extraordinary power of art’ (North & South).

In 2011 Craig won Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for his short story collection A Man Melting (Vintage, 2010). Judges described this as ‘of the moment’ and ‘rightly at home on a global platform’, naming Craig as ‘a talent to watch’. Craig was listed as a ‘Hot Author’ by Canvas Magazine (2013), and named ‘Hot Writer’ Sunday Star Times (2011). His work has made the ‘best book’ list in the NZ Listener (2013 and 2010), The Hoopla (2013) and Sunday Star Times (2010). A Romanian translation of The Mannequin Makers was released by Editura Univers in 2016.

Craig has an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University, Wellington.  In 2007 he won the novice category of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition, and was two-time runner-up in the open category (2008 and 2010). He has judged the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Katherine Mansfield Literary Award. He has also participated in the Iowa International Writing Program (2013), as well as festivals in America, Australia and New Zealand. In 2015 he was a recipient of Eleanor Catton’s Horoeka Grant and in 2017 received the Robert Burns Fellowship.

His latest novel Nailing Down the Saint (Penguin Randon House, 2019) is about Hollywood, fatherhood, the pursuit of dreams, the moral calculus this entails, and the possibility that the rational, materialist worldview isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Craig lives in Wellington with his wife and two young children.



Craig Cliff’s website (for full bibliography, reviews and accolades)

Craig’s blog

Random House Books NZ author page


Bibliography: Craig Cliff



Nailing Down the Saint (Vintage, 2019)

The Mannequin Makers (Vintage, 2013)

A Man Melting (Short stories: Vintage, 2010)

'...poetry makes intimate everything that it touches.' - Michael Harlow

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