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Sarah Ell

Sarah Ell was born and brought up on Auckland’s North Shore, and went to Takapuna Grammar School.
She trained as a newspaper journalist and has worked in magazines, television, PR and book publishing. She has always been interested in books and writing, especially as her late father (Gordon Ell) was also an author and publisher.
Her other interests and hobbies include yacht racing, history and family history, and most of these passions seem to find their way into her books in one way or another! She has written a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, drawing on both her journalistic background and her vivid imagination. Sarah lives on the North Shore with her husband and young family, and works and writes from home.

Selected bibliography:
  • There She Blows: Sealing and Whaling Days in New Zealand (Bush Press 1995).
  • Fired Up (Scholastic 1998).
  • Dinghy Sailing: The Essential Guide (New Holland 2001).
  • When the War Came Home (Scholastic 2002).
  • Talking to Adam (Scholastic 2005).
  • Shoot the Breeze (Random House 2007).
  • High-tech Legs on Everest with Mark Inglis (Random House 2008).
  • A New Zealand Christmas (Random House 2008).
  • Sirocco the Rock-Star Kakapo (Random House 2012).
  • Ocean: Tales of Discovery and Encounter that Defined New Zealand (Penguin, 2018).
  • Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa (Allen & Unwin, 2020).
  • NZSA-Auckland Museum Grant and Residency Recipient 2019
  • Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book 2013 for Sirocco the Rock-Star Kakapo
  • Shortlisted for the LIANZA Esther Glen Medal 2002 for When the War Came Home.
  • Storylines Senior Fiction Notable Book 2003 for When the War Came Home.
  • Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book 2006 for Talking to Adam.
  • New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Finalist Non-Fiction Category 2009 for High-Tech Legs on Everest.
  • Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book 2009 for High-Tech Legs on Everest.


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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