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I’m a writer, book reviewer and former literary festival director from Aotearoa New Zealand. I love music and started playing bass guitar in rock bands when I was 15, but these days I spend more time listening than playing. When I was young, I tried to ride every horse I met and could often be found galloping bareback along a beach with the wind in my hair. I was a passionate reader, and my books of choice were usually fantasy like CS Lewis’s Narnia books or Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, or endless pony stories like Patricia Leitch’s Jinny books or The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.

The Grimmelings is my second book for children; the first, Red Rocks, won the Esther Glen Medal in 2013 and I’m excited to say is currently in development for television by Libertine Pictures, the team behind Mystic, the TV adaptation of Stacy Gregg’s fabulous pony series.

Both my novels for young readers reflect my love for, and obsession with, Scottish folklore – the weirder the better. I have also published two novels for adult readers, The Sound of Butterflies and Magpie Hall.


Rachael King is a writer, reviewer, former literary festival director and ex-bass player from Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the author of two novels for children: Red Rocks (Random House), which won the Esther Glen Medal in 2013, and The Grimmelings, which is publishing in 2024 with Allen and Unwin (NZ and Australia) and Guppy Books (UK). Red Rocks is currently in development for television by Libertine Pictures (Mystic) and Sky TV.

Rachael gained a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in 2001. Her first novel for adults, The Sound of Butterflies, was published by in New Zealand by Random House, in the US by William Morrow, and in the UK by Picador; it was also translated into eight languages and won the award for best first novel at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Her second novel, Magpie Hall, was published in 2009 and was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Over the years, Rachael has played bass guitar in six bands, worked in bookshops, radio, television and magazines, and was the programme director of the WORD Christchurch Festival for eight years until the end of 2021. The festival hosts hundreds of writers from around New Zealand and the world.

Rachael received a Waitangi Day Honour Award in 2020 from the New Zealand Society of Authors (formerly PEN) for her work at WORD bringing exiled Kurdish writer Behrouz Boochani to New Zealand. In 2023 she was named Best Reviewer at the Voyager New Zealand Media Awards. She lives in Ōtautahi Christchurch.


I write book reviews and essays, mostly about books, and mostly about children’s books. I have a regular series in The Spinoff looking at old children’s books that are worth revisiting as an adult, and my Newsroom reviews won Best Reviewer at the 2023 Voyager Media Awards. I’ll be posting new work in the ‘News’ section of this site, but here is a selection of current and past work in the links below.

The Press   /   Newsroom   /   The Spinoff   /   The Sapling   /  ANZ Review of Books

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