The Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award was established in 1995 to recognise the outstanding contribution made by the late Tom Fitzgibbon to the growth and status of children’s literature in New Zealand.
For many years Head of the English Department at North Shore Teachers’ College and the Auckland College of Education, Tom founded the Children’s Literature Association of New Zealand and later became the first chair of the New Zealand Children’s Book Foundation, forerunner of Storylines.
The award is administered by Storylines and sponsored by Scholastic New Zealand. It is made annually, when merited, to the author of a work of fiction for children between seven and 13 years of age.
The award is not open to any author who has had a work of fiction (novel or picture book) or non-fiction for either children, young adults or adults published in print or digital format (i.e. one sold through physical or online bookstores) or in the process of publication. Previous publication by the author in school readers and similar educational material; magazine articles; short stories or poetry; or contribution to an anthology; or any self-publishing where the print run is under 300 copies, is allowable. (If in doubt, writers should seek a ruling from Storylines.) Eligibility criteria are stated on the Entry Form.
The award carries a monetary prize of $1500 and an offer of publication by Scholastic New Zealand.
Manuscripts, with accompanying form and fee payment, must be postmarked no later than 31 October each year. The award winner is announced in March and the published book launched the following year.
Winner of the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for a children's novel manuscript by an unpublished writer, in association with Scholastic New Zealand, is Christine Walker, of Christchurch for her manuscript The Short But Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed.
Christine Walker is a community librarian at a public library in Selwyn. She says “I've got a great job - I select the children's and young adult stock for our network. I've always been an avid reader and a firm believer in the power of story, and I love being transported by a great book.” She adds, “Writing is something I've always enjoyed, and now I'm looking forward to doing more!”