Michael Gifkins, a major figure in New Zealand book publishing passes

We are saddened that New Zealand’s leading literary agent, Michael Gifkins, died on 28 July after suffering from prostate cancer for some years.

As an agent he represented a number of leading writers, including Lloyd Jones, 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.

Michael was always generous, supportive and enthusiastic. He was a source of great counsel to Griffith Review, particularly around the publication of Pacific Highways.

Our thoughts are with his family, Lloyd Jones and the others for whom he was such an important figure, personally and professionally.