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Bernard Beckett

Bernard_Beckett_1.jpgA high school teacher with a particular love for writing plays and teaching drama, film and outdoor education, Bernard Beckett was brought up in Masterton and now lives in Wellington with his wife, Clare Knighton (and co-author of Deep Fried).
In 2005 he took a break from teaching as he was awarded a Royal Society of New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teaching Fellowship. He explored DNA mutations while working at the Allen Wilson Centre for Molecular Evolution, Massey University. Genesis is the first of three works he started in 2005. Falling for Science (2007) is an adult non-fiction title offering a history of the ideas behind recent scientific development, and introducing arguments about the nature of consciousness, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence – and more.
'The trouble with novels is that you can't plan them,’ says Bernard. ‘They are a self-assembling biological process, and the writer's job is simply to feed them, and provide a benign developmental environment’ (Allen Wilson Centre newsletter, September 2005).
In 2008 Genesis made publishing history when UK publisher Quercus Books offered the largest advance ever put forward for a young adult novel in New Zealand. The novel, also published in Australia, was released in the United Kingdom in early 2009 in simultaneous young adult and adult editions. Genesis was also longlisted in Australia's 2008 Inky Awards. Acid Song, which appeared in 2008, is an adult novel which combines science, ethics, controversy and relationships.

Selected bibliography:
  • Lester (Longacre Press 1999).
  • Red Cliff (Longacre Press 2000).
  • Jolt (Longacre Press 2001).
  • No Alarms (Longacre Press 2002). 
  • Home Boys (Longacre Press 2003). 
  • Malcolm and Juliet (Longacre Press 2004).
  • Deep Fried with Clare Knighton (Longacre Press 2005). 
  • Genesis (Longacre Press 2006). 
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2000 Senior Fiction List for Lester.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2001 Senior Fiction List for Red Cliff.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2002 Senior Fiction List for Jolt.
  • White Ravens List 2002 for Jolt.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2003 Senior Fiction List for No Alarms.
  • New Zealand Book Council International Writers’ Programme sponsorship 2003.
  • Esther Glen Award 2005 for Malcolm and Juliet.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2005 Senior Young Adult List for Malcolm and Juliet.
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teaching Fellowship 2005.
  • New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2005 Young Adult Fiction Winner for Malcolm and Juliet.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2006 Young Adult Fiction List for Deep Fried.
  • New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2006 Young Adult fiction Shortlist for Deep Fried.
  • New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2007 Young Adult Fiction Winner for Genesis.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2007 Young Adult Fiction List for Genesis.
  • Esther Glen Award 2007 for Genesis.
  • Inky Awards 2008 Shortlist for Genesis.
  • IBBY Honour Book Writing 2008 for Genesis.

Storylines thanks zeald.com for their ongoing support of the Storylines website.

Page checked and updated February 2013.


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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