David Coventry

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David Henry Halford Coventry
David Coventry 2016.jpg
BornWellington, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
GenreLiterary Fiction
Notable awardsHubert Church Award for Fiction
Years active2010 –

David Henry Halford Coventry (born 2 October 1969, Wellington)[1] is a New Zealand born author[2] and musician. Published in six different languages his debut novel, The Invisible Mile (2015), was the winner of the 2016 Hubert Church Award for Fiction,[3] shortlisted for both the Ockham New Zealand Book Award[4] and the Sports Book Awards in the United Kingdom.[5] His work has been compared to that of Don DeLillo, Toni Morrisson, Thomas Mann.[6]


A former musician, sound engineer and film archivist, Coventry attended Hutt Valley High School from 1983 to 1986, has a BA in English literature and Religious studies (Victoria University of Wellington, 2000), an Honours Degree in English Literature (VUW, 2001) and a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters (VUW, 2010).[1] He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Invisible Mile[edit]

His novel, The Invisible Mile, set during the 1928 Tour de France, has been well received in each of the territories it has been published. It was described in the Sydney Morning Herald as its pick of the Week: "David Coventry's poetic odyssey relates ... with symbolic force and poetic finesse."[7] The New York Times included it in its book of the week section, stating the book is "Gorgeous.... Coventry's brooding narrative, in varying parts philosophical action-adventure, travelogue, family drama, war chronicle and psychological puzzler, is suffused with the ever-querying perspective of its haunted central character."[8] It has been variously described as a "truly extraordinary first novel"[17]. "A dream to read, in all senses of the word.... A trance-like account of the 1928 Tour de France . . . The writing is fierce, a bravura mix of narcissism, masochism and lyricism grounded in the honesty of the unnamed rider's journey into his self and the dawning realisation that the race has become a grand metaphor for the trauma of World War I."[9] Brian Clearkin at Landfall wrote: "a brilliant tour de force of writing talent and style that richly rewards the reader. [P]laces David Coventry among the elite of New Zealand authors."[10]

In regard to the symbolic drive of the novel, Coventry has stated in interview: "The book is not trying to be a metaphor for the war, but for remembering the war." [6] Indeed, the novel creates its own legends around the riders and pays homage to ancestral competitors.[11]

Awards and appearances[edit]

Coventry was the 2015 recipient of the Todd New Writer's Bursary. He appeared at the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival, The International Festival of Authors in Toronto (2017), the New Zealand Festival's Writer's Week in session with Lloyd Geering (2016), the Auckland Writers Festival (2016), and the Nelson Arts Festival (2016).

Music and engineering[edit]

As a sound engineer he has produced works for the experimental groups Thela,[12] La Gloria and Empirical[13] The later pair as a contributing musician.


  1. ^ a b Coventry, David (2016). The Invisible Mile (2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Picador. p. Cover Sleeve. ISBN 9781776560431.
  2. ^ "'The invisible mile', the acclaimed narrative debut of David Coventry". Culturemas. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Past Winners | New Zealand Book Awards Trust". www.nzbookawards.nz. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  4. ^ Christian, Dionne (6 May 2016). "Contest for top book should be a thriller". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Sports Book Awards | Cycling Book of the Year". sportsbookawards.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b Niedenthal, Alec. "New Routes in Fiction: David Coventry with Alec Niedenthal". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  7. ^ Woodhead, Cameron. "The Invisible Mile review: David Coventry's poetic odyssey in the Tour de France". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  8. ^ Stuart, Jan. "Debut Novels for Armchair Olympians, Rom-Com Fans, and More". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  9. ^ Sinclair, John. "The Invisible Mile – review – Metro". Metro Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Faith, Filth, Food, Water, Wine, Blister, Drug". Landfall Review Online. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  11. ^ Short, Joe. "Book Review: The Invisible Mile". Daily Express. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Thela – Thela". discogs. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ "LA Gloria, Empirical – LA Gloria / Empirical". discogs. Retrieved 20 January 2018.

External links[edit]