Craig Cliff

Craig Cliff was born in Palmerston North in 1983. His first short story collection, A Man Melting, won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book, the judges commenting: ‘This book is of the moment, and is rightly at home on a global platform. Cliff is a talent to watch and set to take the literary world by storm.' His short stories have been published in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom; one of them being selected for Essential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall.

Earning Cliff the title of the Sunday Star -Times's ‘Hot Writer of 2011', A Man Melting met with critical acclaim, Nicholas Reid calling it ‘simply the best new collection of short stories I have read in an age'. His first novel, The Mannequin Makers, published 2013. Cliff writes a column for The Dominion Post about his double life as a writer and public servant in Wellington, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He also has the This Fluid Thrill blog (, a Twitter account (@cliff_craig) and a website (

The New Zealand Herald wrote that A Man Melting ‘heralds the arrival of an electrifying new voice on the New Zealand writing scene. These stories are perfectly formed, standalone gems, but the collection also brings together satisfying harmonies as a whole.' In The Short Review, Angela Readman called Cliff's stories unforgettable and noted that the book ‘encapsulates what the best short story should do: resonate and hone how we see our world'. Kylie Klein-Nixon of Kapi-Mana News noted that ‘gorgeous insanity is the purview of Craig Cliff', while Landfall's Kate Duigan wrote that ‘Cliff's quarry is the human heart and he hones in on it with fierce accuracy', these varied views endorsing the verdict of the Commonwealth Writers Prize judge of ‘wry, punchy [writing] filled with fresh images, and providing an engaging mix of fantasy and gritty realism ... These are extraordinary stories about ordinary people.'

Author Lives In: Wellington, NZ

News and Blog

Dame Fiona Kidman believes the international market for New Zealand writing is showing rapid expansion at last.

Oct 3

Favourite Fictional Twins

by Craig Cliff on 3 October 2013

He-man and She-ra. Luke and Leia. Mario and Luigi. If you're thinking about using twins in your fiction, they do come with some baggage.

Books by Craig Cliff

  • The Mannequin Makers, Craig Cliff 5 stars 1 comments
    The Mannequin Makers
    by Craig Cliff

    Published: 02/08/2013

    From the winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book, this strikingly original novel is at turns a gothic tale of a father’s obsession, a castaway story worthy of a Boy’s Own adventure and a thorny remembrance of past tragedies.

  • Facing Galapagos, Craig Cliff 0 stars 0 comments
    Facing Galapagos
    by Craig Cliff

    Published: 05/07/2013

    An award-winning short story from the 2011 Commonwealth Prize Best First Book.

  • A Man Melting: Short Stories, Craig Cliff 0 stars 0 comments
    A Man Melting: Short Stories
    by Craig Cliff

    Published: 02/07/2010

    A startlingly original collection of short stories that was winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.