login login

Storylines Management Committee profiles

Current Storylines Management Committee Members

Leonie Agnew

Aucklander Leonie Agnew joined the Storylines Management Committee in April 2016. She began writing as a child but it was winning the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2010, with her novel Super Finn, that provided the breakthrough.  This book went on to multiple awards in the 2012 New Zealand Post awards: the Junior Fiction award, the Best First Book award and the Children’s Choice award. It was also a finalist for the LIANZA Esther Glen Medal that year.  

Since then she has written two more novels, The Importance of Green and Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand (winner of the 2015 Esther Glen Medal). In 2015 she was chosen as the winner of the Master of the Inkpot Competition run by prestigious UK children’s publisher David Fickling Books for her manuscript, The Impossible Boy.  A former advertising copywriter, Leonie works as both writer and primary school teacher.

Leonie Agnew-302-59-39

Helen Beckingsale

Helen has been a children’s book enthusiast since encountering Tom Fitzgibbon and Betty Gilderdale at North Shore Teacher’s College and visiting Dorothy Butler’s bookshop when it was still based at her home in Birkenhead. She was a member of the Children’s Literature Association for many years and has been a member of the Storylines management committee since thew formation of Storylines from the merger of teh CLA and New Zealand Children's Book Foundation in 2000.

Helen, MA (Hons), has been a Storylines representative on several Story Tours in 2020-2021. She was a librarian at Auckland Libraries, including the Young Adult book selection, and reference librarian including on the AnyQuestions online homework service; she was previously Children’s Librarian at East Coast Bays Library and worked in customer services at Takapuna Library.

Helen Beckingsale-92

Pearl DSilva (Membership secretary)

Pearl DSilva has been a lecturer in Early Childhood Education for the last 17 years in India and in New Zealand. She has a Master's degree in Human Development (with early childhood education as a focus). Her research interests and academic publications include children's literature, creative thinking and play in early childhood contexts. She has also presented academic papers at national and international conferences in ECE and children’s literature such as at The 35th IBBY Congress held in Auckland in 2016. Pearl also enjoys reviewing books and creating book lists across a range of themes for children, parents and teachers to enjoy and some of these have been published by The Sapling. She is an aspiring author and recalls filling notebooks with stories and illustrations since she was six! Pearl can usually be found at the topmost rung of the Ladder on The Faraway Tree, anticipating new lands and opportunities to share her love of children's literature!

Pearl D'Silva 2021-772

Tessa Duder

Tessa Duder was a founding member of Storylines’ forerunner, the Children’s Book Foundation begun in 1989. Her 40-odd books for both adults and children include novels, short stories, non-fiction, plays and anthologies. She is a past president of the NZ Society of Authors (PEN Inc), and has served on the Board of the Spirit of Adventure Trust since 1993.    Her books, notably the Alex quartet, have won multiple prizes. Other awards include the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship and the Artists in Antarctic fellowship, the CNZM and OBE, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato. In 2020 she won the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction. Tessa is a long-standing member of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust and the Friends of Storylines Nga Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa Management Committee. See also Tessa's author profile. 

Tessa Duder 2021 pix best-919

Stuart Fleming

When Stuart was a teenager, he adored books and won a local poetry contest. When he was in his forties, he remembered he loved writing and earned a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) from Massey University. In between, he collected cool work stories in hospitality, media, coaching, training, and earthquake recovery. Stuart solo hiked almost the length of New Zealand and held the senior-most uniformed volunteer role for Scouts Aotearoa.
Today, Stuart facilitates resilience, well-being, and literacy/numeracy programmes for workplace teams, plus enjoys a select few copywriting assignments. And – as you might expect – he has several children’s manuscripts in progress, each waiting patiently for the attention it deserves.
Stuart joined the Storylines Management Committee to help foster children’s love of literature and find books they will forever adore.

Stuart Fleming authorpic-739

Annemarie Hartley (Storylines Notable Books Convenor)

Annemarie Hartley has a Diploma in Library and Information Science, and has previously been on both the Managaementt committee and a Storylines Notable Books panelist. Annemarie says:
"To quote Charles William Elliot, ‘Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of councillors, and the most patient of teachers.’ It is a great privilege to serve all who are committed to bringing books and children together through my involvement with Storylines. I am grateful to work with an inspired group as we strive to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books, give children everywhere the opportunity to discover books with high literary and artistic standards, and to provide support and training for those involved with children and children's literature."

Annemarie Hartley 2021-95

Vanessa Hatley-Owen

Vanessa was a daydreaming child whose nose was permanently stuck in a book. Now, as a keen writer of stories for children, she has been published by Oratia, Sunshine Books and Learning Media, and has also been shortlisted for both the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon and Storylines Joy Cowley awards. She has reviewed books for Kids Books NZ and in 2018 was a recipient of a New Zealand Society of Authors mentorship. She has several manuscripts in various stages of completion, and in her day job, she is a librarian in a primary school; which means she gets to talk to children about books all day!

Vanessa Hatley-Owen-690

Kaaren Hirst (Chair)

Kaaren joined Storylines as she saw the need for those of us in the library profession to support children's literature, in particular New Zealand's. "We have such an amazing pool of talent and our tāmariki are the richer for engaging with our authors and illustrators. I have been fortunate to help at many Storylines Festivals in the past and have been thrilled with the response to our current Storylines Story Tours that take our talented authors and illustrators into our regions."

Kaaren has worked in education libraries, both university and secondary school, for 38 years. During her professional life she has always advocated for school libraries and their provision in New Zealand schools. This resulted in her becoming a Life member of SLANZA in 2015. As part of this advocacy she has also represented support staff in schools on the NZEI National Leadership group for Support Staff (SSNCKT) twice, and currently chairs the NZEI Auckland Regional Council.

Kaaren was convener of SLANZA’s Auckland regional committee for seven years and co-convener of the SLANZA national conference held in 2011 at St Cuthbert’s College. She volunteered at Storylines Family Festival Days for many years, and chaired the Storylines Festival national committee.

Kaaren Hirst 2020 IMG 0533-780-368-728

Anne Kayes

Anne Kayes originally taught English and Drama in secondary schools. In 2014, she completed a Master of Creative Writing at AUT. She won the 2016 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award with Tūī Street Tales, a collection of inter-linked stories for 8-12-year-olds, published by Scholastic. The sequel, Tūī Street Heroes, published by Wildling Books, received a 2020 Storylines Notable Book Award. Her first young adult novel, In Our Own Back Yard, is published in July 2021 by Bateman Publishing.

After combining tertiary teaching and writing for many years, Anne now divides her time between writing and author visits to schools. She also runs writing workshops for students and teachers.

Anne lives with her family in Mt. Albert, Auckland. Anne can be contacted through her website: www.annekayes.com
Anne Kayes-453-944

Libby Limbrick

Dr Libby Limbrick, B.A, Diptch MA. Hons, PhD, MNZM, has been involved in literacy education for over 30 years. She was a Principal Lecturer, and Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Literacy in the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland for over 20 years. Her research and publication field is in language and literacy education, with a special interest in children’s literature and its essential role in literacy. Libby was the first chair of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand Te Whare Waituhi Tamarkiki o Aotearoa, and is a member of the Storylines Trust Board and the Storylines Management Committee. She was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to education and literacy in 2015.

Libby Limbrick 2021-325

Bridget Mahy

Bridget Mahy teaches English at Epsom Girls’ Grammar in Auckland. She grew up in libraries and as a consequence has maintained a keen interest in children’s literature. She is a Director of Mayhem Multimedia which oversees the management of the late Margaret Mahy’s body of work.

Bridget Mahy 2021-946

Helen Villers (Minutes Secretary)

Helen,  who has a MEd (hons) from the University of Auckland is a former Senior Lecturer in language and literacy at the University of Auckland's Faculty of Education, and is currently contracted in the fields of language, literacy and children's literature,. Helen has been Storylines' minutes secretary for over a decade and has undertaken several  Story Tour, both face-to-face and online, as Storylines representative.


Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



for  Storylines e-news and updates
First Name*
Last Name*
In order to assist us in reducing spam, please type the characters you see:


Storylines welcomes your support for all its activities and events. Whether as a volunteer or sponsor for annual events or specific activities, your support (large or small) towards helping young New Zealanders love books is greatly appreciated.