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About the book
  • Published: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9781775535768
  • Imprint: Longacre Child
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle




Meet filmmaker Barney Kettle, who liked to invent stories but found a real one under his nose.

Meet filmmaker Barney Kettle, who liked to invent stories but found a real one under his nose.

Barney Kettle knew he would be a very famous film director one day, he just didn’t know when that day would arrive. He was already an actual director – he’d made four fifteen-minute films – but so far only his schoolmates and the residents of the High Street had viewed them. Global fame was a little way off. It would come, though. Barney was certain about that ...

So begins the manuscript written from the hospital bed of an unnamed man.

He has written it over many months as he recovers from serious injuries sustained in a city-wide catastrophe.

He has written so he can remember the street where he lived, home to a cavalcade of interesting people, singular shops, and curious stories.

He has written so he can remember the summer before he was injured, the last days of a vanished world.

Above all, he has written so he can remember the inimitable Barney Kettle, filmmaker, part-time dictator, questing brain, theatrical friend; a boy who loved to invent stories but found a real one under his nose; a boy who explored his neighbourhood with camera in hand and stumbled on a mystery that changed everything ...

A beautiful story: big-hearted, richly entertaining, powerful.


2016 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award and winner of the Esther Glen Award at the 2016 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

  • Pub date: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9781775535768
  • Imprint: Longacre Child
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

About the Author

Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi is one of New Zealand’s most loved authors, whose short fiction, novels and picture books engage children, teenagers and adults alike. The author of the phenomenal The 10 PM Question, which has been published extensively overseas, she is a two-time winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award. The 10 PM Question won Book of the Year and Best Young Adult Fiction in the 2009 New Zealand Post Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards, was a runner-up in the 2009 Montana NZ Book Awards, and won the Readers’ Choice Award. It was a finalist in the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards for the Esther Glen Award, was shortlisted for the Nielsen BookData NZ Booksellers’ Choice Award, and was selected for the 2009 edition of the prestigious international catalogue The White Ravens. She has a regular spot reviewing children’s books on Saturday Mornings with Kim Hill on National Radio.

De Goldi has won numerous other awards, including the Katherine Mansfield and American Express awards for short stories. She has held several major fellowships, including the 2010 Michael King Fellowship, and in 2001 was made an Arts Foundation Laureate. In 2011 she was winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award, which is awarded for an outstanding contribution to children’s literature. That same year she won the 2011 Corine International Book Prize Young Readers Award, which is awarded to German and international authors 'for excellent literary achievements and their recognition by the public'. A respected broadcaster, book festival chair and public speaker, she is also dedicated and committed to working with schoolchildren. Her first book, a series of interlinked short stories for adults, Like You, Really, was published under the name of Kate Flannery. This was followed by the cross-over YA novel Sanctuary, which won the 1997 Best Senior Fiction Award, and the YA novels Love, Charlie Mike and Closed, Stranger (YA Honour Book at the 2000 New Zealand Post Book Awards). Jacqui Colley has illustrated three of De Goldi's books — Clubs, a Lolly Leopold story; Uncle Jack; and Billy, a Lolly Leopold story — and De Goldi's junior novel The ACB with Honora Lee featured drawings by Gregory O’Brien. Her novel From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the 2016 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The entry for De Goldi in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, writing of the debut short-story collection Like You, Really, identifies what were to become vintage De Goldi preoccupations and stylistic approaches: ‘The sense of identity through kinship implied in the title is the unifying concern.’ Stories ‘fluctuate in time’ with people ‘retold and revisited’, in this way compiling the family’s history. Indeed, the judges of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book of the Year wrote of The 10 PM Question: ‘De Goldi’s winning book invites you to become part of another family, to spend some quality time with its members, become engrossed in the family dynamics to the point that ... this family has now become our family, too ... The judges predict, with reasonable confidence, that The 10 PM Question will become an enduring classic.’

The ACB with Honora Lee explores the relationship between a young girl, Perry, and her cranky grandmother, who has dementia and lives in a rest home. As Honora loses words, Perry is furiously gathering them up, and ‘it’s the intersection between the two which De Goldi plays with throughout’ (Waikato Times). A bond forms between Perry, her grandmother and the staff and residents of the home as Perry constructs an alternative alphabet book with her grandmother. The result, Victoria Spence declared in Metro magazine, is ‘sheer joy’: ‘De Goldi’s love of language shines brightly, word play shapes many conversations.’ North & South concluded that in this ‘delicate honeycomb of a book’, ‘there is not a wasted or insignificant word ... The prose is like music, with rhythms carefully crafted.’ The scenario is typical of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’, but as De Goldi told The Weekend Herald the Christchurch earthquakes coincided with putting her mother into care, which started her thinking about ‘cracks in the community and fractures in my mother’s head’, but also about bonding and ‘constructing meaning’ from the ruins.

Also by Kate De Goldi

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Praise for From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle

“Surprising, gripping, heart-breaking and ultimately incredibly moving, this novel stood out right from the start. This book is packed with warmth, wonderful language, rich and witty observations, compelling characters and layers of message and meaning.”

Judges of the Esther Glen Award, 2016 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

“One thing you can be sure of when you open a Kate De Goldi book is that it’ll be good...Great control of tone; a protagonist who will haunt you for days afterwards; breadth of skill and generosity of spirit. An author who’s a national asset.”

David Hill, The Weekend Herald

“It’s heart-warming and it’s heartbreaking, it’s original and clever...and it’s one to put on your must-read lists.”

Nicky Pellegrino, Herald on Sunday

“From the Cutting Room is also a story about the creation of stories - the headlong excitement of the creative process, the euphoric feeling that comes with a great idea...One suspects De Goldi had a similar feeling as she wrote the brave and beautiful end to her High St story.”

Catherine Woulfe, NZ Listener

“[T]he story will appeal to all ages...[I] just let De Goldi's language carry me forward...inexorably moving towards the devastating February 2011 event. The fallout and aftermath are poignant...Everyone was touched by that disaster, and De Goldi's High St community are no exception, but solutions are found, questions answered, and the ending is molto moving and memorable.”

Rachel Gurney, Otago Daily Times

“I had to slow myself down while reading this book, to better savour the words inside. Halfway through, I already knew I wanted to re-read it. Kate De Goldi is a spectacular wordsmith. Her main characters, Ren and Barney, are alive on the page, so alive that to read their story is to experience it. ... I feel richer for having read about the people of De Goldi’s High Street, from the bookshop to the Nut Shop, the junk shop the kids’ dad runs, to the Living History Museum – an echo of the website created by ex-High Street inhabitants, High Street Stories. I urge everybody to go and get this book and read it, no matter your age. This ode to the Christchurch of yore is phenomenally good.”

Sarah Forster, We Love Books: The Booksellers NZ Blog

“Kate De Goldi's writing for children and young adults has been acclaimed for its vibrancy and verisimilitude. De Goldi often takes the reader into psychologically complex territory and, for this reason, her books are sometimes pegged as adult fiction in children's clothing. Certainly, they reward an adult reading; but, at the same time, De Goldi has a sure instinct for how to engage the younger reader. Her writing style is accessible, lucid and unpretentious, yet it is also extraordinarily subtle. Undercurrents swirl beneath the surface, whether the reader is alert to them or not. This is literature that will give children what they want, and also what they may not yet know they need... Children's experience of fiction can be especially raw. Perhaps this is why, in childhood in particular, certain books sear themselves into our memories. They become archetypes according to which we interpret future experiences, even after their details are long forgotten - in the words of Barney Kettle's narrator, they "more or less take up residence inside you". From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle is this kind of book: one that deserves to be read at least once in childhood, and again looking back. Part mystery, part comedy, part social commentary, part requiem for a lost world, it is also one of the cleverest and most structurally inventive books of the past year. A tour de force.”

Emma Martin, New Zealand Books

“From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle has a series of plot twists and turns no one can predict as well as multiple mysteries you are dying to solve. All in all it is an amazing book written in such a way it sinks its claws into you as you delve deeper into the world of Barney and Ren. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting a book to read full of mystery and suspense yet still fun and childish in a way due to the children it is centred around. This is a book I think anyone can pick up and despite a slow start it is well worth a read for just about anyone.”

Jessica Skudder, aged 14, Hookedonbooks.org.nz


Awards & Recognition

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

    Winner • 2016 • Winner of the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

  • Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award

    Awarded • 2016 • A 2016 Storylines Notable Book

  • White Ravens International Youth Library

    On selection list • 2016 • -


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