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Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award

About the Award

The Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for an original junior novel manuscript, is administered by Storylines and sponsored by Scholastic New Zealand. It is awarded annually, when merited, to the author of a work of fiction for children between seven and 13 years of age.

The award is open to published or unpublished New Zealand authors who meet the residency criteria. (Until 2018 the award was open only to previously unpublished writers.)

A writer may not enter the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award and the Storylines Janice Marriott Mentoring Award in any one year.

The award carries assurance of publication by sponsoring publisher Scholastic New Zealand and a monetary prize of $1500.
In 2019, Storylines introduced a new award for a manuscript by an unpublished writer selected for the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award shortlist. The winner will be publicly acknowledged at the Storylines Margaret Mahy National Awards Day and receive prize money of $500.

The 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 open to any author who meets the New Zealand residency criteria. (If in doubt, writers should seek a ruling from Storylines.)  Eligibility criteria are stated on the Entry Form.

Manuscripts, with accompanying form, must be postmarked no later than 31 October each year. Fee payment must also be made online before this date. The award winner is announced the following April, and the published book launched the following year.

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In 2018 Scholastic produced a poster celebrating previous Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award winners.

Read tips from a previous Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award winner about how best to approach and present your novel manuscript.

Entry form and guidelines:

Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award guidelines
Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award entry form.

You can make an electronic payment for your entry here.
NB: Members must be logged into the website to access the Members discounted entry fee.

Recipients of the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award:
  • 1996: Iona McNaughton; manuscript published as Summer of Shadows
  • 1997: Heather Cato; manuscript published as Dark Horses
  • 1998: Vince Ford; manuscript published as 2MUCH4U
  • 1999: Shirley Corlett; manuscript published as The Stolen
  • 2000: Alison Robertson; manuscript published as Knocked for Six
  • 2001: No award
  • 2002: Janet Pates; manuscript published as Mystery at Tui Bay
  • 2003: Jillian Sullivan; manuscript published as Shreve’s Promise
  • 2004: Brigid Feehan; manuscript published as Stella Star
  • 2005: Heather McQuillan; manuscript published as Mind Over Matter
  • 2006: Vicki Simpson; manuscript published Yo, Shark Bait!
  • 2007: Kris Stanhope; manuscript published as Why I Hate School by Michael Fartarsky
  • 2008: Elizabeth Hegarty; manuscript published as Salt River
  • 2009: Anna Gowan; manuscript published as Hollie Chips.
  • 2010: Leonie Agnew; manuscript published as Super Finn
  • 2011: KathyTaylor; manuscript published as Iris's Ukulele
  • 2012: No award
  • 2013: Juliet Jacka, manuscript published as The Night of the Perigee Moon
  • 2014: Suzanne Main, manuscript published as How I Alienated My Grandma
  • 2015: Tom E. Moffatt, manuscript published as Barking Mad
  • 2016:  Anne Kayes, manuscript published as Tui Street Tales
  • 2017: Chrissie Walker for manuscript published as The Short But Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed
  • 2018: James Guthrie for manuscript published as Bullseye Bella
  • 2019: No award
  • 2020: Belinda O'Keefe for manuscript published as Partners in Slime
Details of recent winners can be found here.


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



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