Wednesday, September 7, 2011


The recent death of Christine Cole Catley (1922-2011) has left a large empty space in NZ letters, though with each day I begin to appreciate more what her life gave to NZ literature than what her death has taken away. Trisha and I were fortunate enough to have dinner with her and a few friends a few months ago, at which she still looked in great vigour.

She was an author, a publisher, a champion of NZ writers and writing and someone who (with the many good people on the Sargeson Trust) actively lobbied to get NZ writers financial backing, believing that our stories matter, as much as our rowing and rugby and what mountains we've climbed.

One thing I always appreciated about her was her lack of complete sureness, of a sense that she must be right because...well, she must be. That was refreshing. At the age of 88 she was asking questions and adding to her knowledge right up to the end.

Here is a link (from the Booksellers, NZ site) that gives some details and observations of what was certainly 'a life less ordinary...'

It seems almost redundant to say 'we shall not see her like again' but it's true.

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