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Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award

The Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for an original junior novel, in partnership with Scholastic NZ, is open only to previously unpublished writers, and is made annually, when merited, to the author of a work of fiction for children between seven and 13 years of age. The award carries a monetary prize of $1500 and an offer of publication by Scholastic New Zealand.Scholastic has produced a poster celebrating previous Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award winners.

2018 Tom Fitzgibbon Award Shortlist

  • Glenis Bearsley (Palmerston North) for #unbelievable
  • Gay Buckingham (Dunedin) for Kakapo Keeper
  • James Guthrie (Wellington) for Bullseye Bella



Tom FitzgibbonThe 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.

Entry form and guidelines:

Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award guidelines and entry form.

2017 WinnerChristine Walker photo-389

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!”

2017 Shortlist

The shortlist was announced on 15 March. The shortlist is:
  • Elise De Silva (Auckland) for Quantum Timeline
  • Victoria Hathaway (Auckland) for The Elephant in the Room
  • Laura Hunter (Auckland) for Spacesliders
  • Fiona Jordan (Auckland) for Donato and the Cartege Blade
  • Christine Walker (Christchurch) for The Short but Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed
TFA Shortlist w Margaret Fitzgibbon and Robyn Southam Scholastic MM Day 2017 -987


Winner of the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award Christine Walker (centre) with shortlisted authors (from left) Laura Hunter, Elise De Silva, judge Margaret Fitzgibbon and Scholastic’s Rob Southam  (Photo: Crissi Blair)


Recipients of the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award  are:Tom Fitzgibbon Award logo
  • 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: Christine Walker for manuscript  entitled The Short But Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed.



The Storylines Trust and Foundation together comprise New Zealand's only national organisation working year-round specifically to promote children's and young adult literature through an annual Festival in six regions, author awards, publications, advocacy and other activities ... 



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