Karyn Hay

ANZL Member

Karyn Hay is an award-winning novelist and broadcaster: her debut novel Emerald Budgies won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2001. She was awarded a Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 2004; and is a literary advisor to the Frank Sargeson Trust, and mentor for the New Zealand Society of Authors. The March Of The Foxgloves was published in December 2016 and was a No.1 bestseller on the New Zealand Fiction list. Her new novel Winged Helmet, White Horse was published in November 2018 to critical acclaim.

Kate Camp described Emerald Budgies as ‘raw, thoughtful and very funny’. Chris Knox said it ‘was not for the queasy… Imagine 1980s Doris Lessing crossed with Bret Easton Ellis and you’re some way to imagining what this book reads like’.  For Denis Welch it was, ‘A relentlessly bleak — if extremely funny — vision of modern life with no redemption whatsoever for anyone anywhere . . . There are times when Emerald Budgies makes Trainspotting look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’.

The March of the Foxgloves, published in New Zealand in 2016, was historical fiction, set in 1893 in New Zealand, and was No. 1 on the New Zealand fiction charts for several months.

Dionne Christian, writing in the NZ Herald, called The March Of The Foxgloves ‘a funny, lively and energetic romp which delves into the underbelly of society’ and that Hay ‘has paid close attention to the settings – London, Auckland and Tauranga – period details and historical events’. Stephanie Jones found Hay ‘a sly and delightful wordsmith, a grand raconteur of the page, in whose hands historical fiction feels utterly current, even urgent’.

Her third novel, Winged Helmet, White Horse was published in New Zealand in 2018 with the NZ Listener calling Hay ‘a smart, gutsy writer … it’s impossible to read this book without hearing her trademark vocal delivery. She isn’t afraid of flawed characters or loose ends, and throws in plot twists you won’t see coming. Good at witty dialogue, she also takes a few comic and barbed pokes at middle-class life and the literary world’.

Karyn was recently awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and the music industry in the 2019 New Years Honours List.



Penguin Random House writer page

NZ Society of Authors member page

Radio NZ presenter bio page

NZ OnScreen bio page

Karyn Hay awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (Jan, 2020)

NZ Herald interview on writing, background and Winged Helmet, White Horse (Nov, 2018)

YouTube: ‘The Cafe’ interview on Winged Helmet, White Horse (Nov, 2018)

Bibliography: Karyn Hay



Winged Helmet, White Horse (Esom House Press, 2018)

The March of the Foxgloves (Esom House Press, 2016)

Emerald Budgies,  ([under non de plume Lee Maxwell] Diva Books,UK and world, 2000)

Emerald Budgies (NZ Random House/Vintage, 2000)



Way Back Then, Before We Were Ten, New Zealand writers and childhood (Compiled and edited by Graeme Lay, David Ling Publishing, 2009)

Home: New Short Stories by New Zealand writers (Edited by Graeme Lay and Stephen Stratford, Black Swan, 2005)

The Best of New Zealand Fiction Volume 2 (Edited by Fiona Kidman, Vintage, 2005)

The Picnic Virgin (Edited by Emily Perkins, Victoria University Press, 1999)

'Character to some extent is much a construction of the reader as it is of the writer.' - Lloyd Jones

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