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Winner of Best Adult Fiction Book

NZ Booklovers Awards, 2020

The Strength of Eggshells

She’s six feet tall and handles a motorbike like a professional, but Kate has insecurities that match her height and she ignores her past by pushing her fingers into her ears.


Why did her mother Jane only communicate through poetry? What became of her grandmother Meredith who travelled up the Whanganui River on a paddle steamer to marry a returned soldier in an ill-fated valley, beyond the Bridge to Nowhere? And what should Kate do about her own two-pointed love triangle? Somewhere out there are the answers; out where only her motorbike can take her.


The Strength of Eggshells explores the lives of strong rural New Zealanders, set against the fragile isolation of a farm upbringing, two world wars and a landscape that is inevitably slipping beyond reach.

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Kirsty reading from
The Strength of Eggshells
for NZ Society of Authors


"Highly recommended" 

Review from elocal


The Strength of Eggshells hits the NZ top 10


"This is such good storytelling and great writing." 

NZ Booklovers review

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"New Book has local flavour"

Review in Whanganui Midweek


Hi Cloud Ink people, just wanted to drop a quick line to say I've just finished "The strength of eggshells" after having purchased it from Kirsty at the Whangamomona hotel at her book launch. It was amazing, a beautifully crafted story. The unrest and soul-searching which was the central theme left me feeling lost like"Kate" and her family. But the conclusion pulled me back to humanity. Could you please pass on my thanks and congratulations to Kirsty for such an amazing first novel. Regards James Jeffery (the beekeeper with the brightly coloured hives)

This is the best sort of review!! I met this young man and his bee keeping crew out for dinner at the Whangmomona Hotel. Delighted that my book is resonating with the very best of grass roots NZ. – Kirsty

Home: About

About Kirsty

Kirsty Powell grew up east of Eketahuna in an isolated rural community in the North Wairarapa. She now lives in rural South Auckland and splits her time between farming, writing and contracting as an Occupational Health Physiotherapist to local industries. She has also studied psychology, history, philosophy and completed a Master of Creative Writing. She has travelled by motorbike on several continents and by bicycle across Europe.


The Strength of Eggshells combines many of her loves. She particularly enjoyed researching the history of the returned soldier settlement blocks in the Mangapurua Valley and meeting the descendants and one of the original settlers who is now in her nineties and appears in the novel as herself – a teenage girl in the 1940s.

A message from Kirsty:

A big thank you to every one who attended my Auckland launches.  Great to see The Strength of Eggshells at No.3 on the weekly book sellers list!

Home: Other work

Other work

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The Space Between Extra and Ordinary short story published in

Fresh Ink – A collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand

Cloud Ink, 2017



Savasana poem published in

Fresh Ink – A collection of voices from Aotearoa New Zealand

Cloud Ink, 2019



Rawene eats holes & Follow the Yellow Froth Road poems published in

Fast Fibres Poetry 7 – from Northland

Fast Fibres Poetry, 2020

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Crossing Oceans poem published in

Fresh Ink – Voices Reflecting on COVID-19  from Aotearoa New Zealand

Cloud Ink, 2021


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Walking the water poem published in

Fast Fibres Poetry 8 – from Northland

Fast Fibres, 2021

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Conversations about slips poems published in

Live encounters presents Aotearoa poets and writers

Live encounters, 2023

Read online here

Home: Contact


Kirsty Powell


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Elizabeth Heritage




Cloud Ink Press



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