Cathie Dunsford

Cathie Koa Dunsford is a Maori author (Te Rarawa) from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Born in Auckland in 1953 and educated in the same city, Dunsford gained her doctorate at Auckland University in 1983. She was a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley from 1983–6 and has taught literature, creative writing and publishing at Auckland University since 1975. Her fiction and non-fiction writing is widely anthologized and she has edited a number of key anthologies. Dunsford is known for her award-winning ecology novels and for the deep understanding of indigenous ecological issues (Kaitiakitanga) in her work.

Cathie Koa Dunsford is the author of 25 books in print and translation in USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Turkey, including her popular Cowrie eco-novel series featuring indigenous eco activists from the Pacific region. David Hill says that the writing in »Cowrie« (1994), her first novel and the first of the self-titled eco-series, is »lyrical to the edge of lushness, but buoyant with belief and commitment« (»The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature«). The »Otago Daily Times« said, »the writing is vivid and evocative, rich in descriptive passages and offering an interesting insight into a subculture of our society.« Following »Cowrie« she published the novels, »Kia Kaha« (1998); »The Journey Home« (1997); »Manawa Toa: Heart Warrior« (2000); and »Song of the Selkies« (2001). Her writing has explored innovative ways to weave mo’olelo/talkstory into literary texts with an intricate overlaying of ancient and contemporary indigenous wisdom, coining a new genre of writing: Waka Korero Narrative. Dunsford tours the world performing from the books with traditional Maori waiata (songs) and taonga puoro (Maori musical instruments). A documentary of her work has been directed for Maori Television by Makerita Urale and her work has featured in a film by German director, Monika Treut and in Maori director Kathleen Gallagher’s feature film, »Ranginui«. Her new novel, »Kaitiakitanga Pasifika«, will be launched by Witi Ihimaera at the 2012 Frankfurt Bookfair. Alexis Wright, winner of the Miles Franklin Award says of the novel, »Kaitiakitanga Pasifika« is a dazzling virtuoso from a master storyteller – one of the finest writing in the world today.«

Cathie Koa Dunsford is director of Dunsford Publishing Consultants, working with over 197 new and award-winning Pacific and African authors. In 1997 she was International Woman of the Year in Publishing (UK/Europe) and she is the recipient of two major literary grants from Creative New Zealand Arts Council. She was Opening Keynote Speaker at the Oceanic Conference on Climate Change, South Pacific University, Fiji, on Kaitiakitanga. She is also on the Board of the Asia Pacific Writers’ Network and featured as an International Pacific Writer, Artspeak Pasifika.

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