In 1997 Catherine was awarded the Adam Foundation Prize for her portfolio produced during study with Bill Manhire at Victoria University of Wellington's Creative Writing Programme. Her debut novel, In a fishbone church, was published in 1998 and has been widely praised in New Zealand and overseas, winning the Hubert Church Award for Best First Book of Fiction in The Montana NZ Book Awards in 1998. In 1999 In a fishbone church won the South East Asia and Pacific Region Prize in the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Betty Trask Prize for a first book (UK) and was included in the Orange Prize for Fiction (UK) longlist. Her second novel, Golden Deeds was published in 2000, and was runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction in the 2000 The Montana NZ Book Awards. It has been published by Picador in the UK and under the title The Strength of the Sun in the US, where it was a The New York Times 'Notable Book of the Year'. In 2003 she was named New Zealand's best novelist under forty. The Transformation, Catherine's third novel, was published in November 2003.
Chidgey’s honours include the Glenn Schaeffer Prize in Modern Letters; the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton, France; the Todd New Writers’ Bursary; the Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing at the University of Canterbury; and the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship. Chidgey lives near Hamilton in New Zealand.
- Georgina Palffy, Working and Living in New Zealand, pp. 89, New Holland Publishers, 2008, ISBN 1-86011-405-9, ISBN 978-1-86011-405-2.
- Carolyn Bain, George Dunford, Lonely Planet New Zealand, pp. 48, Lonely Planet, 2006, ISBN 1-74104-535-5, ISBN 978-1-74104-535-2.
- James F. English, The economy of prestige: prizes, awards, and the circulation of cultural value, pp. 315, Harvard University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-674-01884-2, ISBN 978-0-674-01884-6.
- "Catherine Chidgey's deeds win top award". The New Zealand Herald. 18 March 2002. Retrieved 23 September 2011.