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News releases & archive

An archive of Storylines' media releases.


1 November 2010.

Christchurch creative writing teacher wins Storylines award.

The founder of the Christchurch School for Young Writers, Dr Glyn Strange, is the winner of the 2010 Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for outstanding service to the development of literature and literacy in New Zealand children. Dr Strange began the not-for-profit school in 1993, originally as a regional enterprise but now very much a national institution.
'Using mostly online communication, the School for Young Writers offers mentoring, publication opportunities, competitions and workshops to help young writers from all over the country to explore all aspects of creative writing,' says Storylines Trust chairperson Dr Libby Limbrick.

'Undoubtedly, the many thousands who have passed through the school have been given a solid grounding in writing prose and poetry which will benefit their adult careers in whatever field.'

The school’s twice-yearly magazine Write-On for writers aged eight to 18 and the annual anthology of poetry and prose, Re-draft (now in its tenth year), together offer students regular opportunities to see their work published and appreciated by a wide audience.

After completing a doctorate in English, Dr Strange worked in academic and personnel fields. As well as guiding the development of the School for Young Writers, he has published four books.

The award, honouring the author and educator Betty Gilderdale, was instituted by Storylines in 2000 to acknowledge long-standing service in the wide field of children’s books and literacy. Previous recipients have included authors Jean Bennett and Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira, and literary agent Ray Richards.

A public presentation function is being held by the Storylines Trust in Auckland on Wednesday 10 November, 2010. For more information, and opportunities to interview Dr Glyn Strange, please contact Christine Young, Executive Officer Storylines.

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19 October 2010.  

Congratulations Joy Cowley.

We are delighted that Joy Cowley, one of Storylines’ patrons, and a trustee of the Storylines Trust, was honoured in Wellington on Monday evening with the 2010 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in fiction. The Storylines Management Committee was among several groups and individuals which had nominated Joy for the award. We are thrilled that her huge achievements in both children’s and adults’ writing, and her generosity and her mana within the writing community here and abroad have been recognised.  

Joy spoke movingly of her great pleasure in receiving the award, and of her belief in the importance of children growing up reading stories about the culture and landscape of their own country (an experience she and her generation lacked (at a time when there were few New Zealand children’s writers), and of her own commitment to and love of New Zealand.

Coming hard on the heels of the launch of her memoir, Navigation, and of her gift to the Storylines Trust of Writing from the Heart: How to Write for Children, this award is a fitting tribute to a beloved writer who has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring that all children not only could read, but that they would enjoy reading – and enjoy reading stories about themselves and the country they grow up in.

The official news release is on the Creative New Zealand website.

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1 October.

Joy Cowley’s book for new writers launches next week.

Celebrated children’s author Joy Cowley distils 40 years of experience  as a writer in her new book, Writing from the Heart:  How to Write for Children.

Writing from the Heart is essential reading for practising or intending children’s writers – and could well be used by senior students or teachers as a guide to “best practice” creating engaging and exciting works for children of any age. Joy covers plot development, discipline, dialogue, humour, presentation and editing, and there are chapters on the special genres of early readers, fiction for children and teenagers, poetry and plays.

Writing From The Heart goes on sale in the first week of October, the same month as Joy’s long-awaited memoir Navigation.

Writing From The Heart is published by the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust.  All proceeds go to assist Storylines in its work to promote children's books and literature. 

‘This magnificent gesture, offering Joy’s wisdom and insights based on her many decades of writing at the highest level, will help further the Trust’s work of promoting children’s literature and literacy,’ says chairperson Dr Libby Limbrick.

Release Date:  1 October 2010  |   RRP $25.00. Writing from the Heart is available from good bookshops and directly through the Storylines website: www.storylines.org.nz

For further details email childlitnz@storylines.org.nz.

Please remember to pass this on to others.

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22 September.

Spinning Tales: National Children's Writers' and Illustrators' Hui.

Auckland Friday 1st April to Sunday 3rd April 2011

Storylines and Kiwi Write4Kids are jointly organising Spinning Tales - a national hui for children's writers' and illustrators', for published and unpublished writers and illustrators.

An irresistible programme is being planned around Storylines' annual Margaret Mahy Day, when the Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture, along with other Storylines awards, are presented.

Some highlights:

  • Industry Panels;
  • Pitches to Publishers;
  • Workshops - choose from beginners / masters/ illustrators;
  • Ask the Expert Panel;
  • Gathering for published author's and illustrators';
  • Literary Feast with entertainment.

Want to know more details? More details are available on the Spinning Tales site.

Want to register your interest? Register today and receive up to date information as it is finalised.

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28 July 2010. NB: similiar announcements went to media about each Family Day.

Focus on books at Free Family Days

Over 100 volunteers are gearing up to help Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust run the 17th annual Auckland Storylines Free Family Day, to be held at the Aotea Centre on Sunday 22 August from 10am-3pm.

With a focus on the very best in New Zealand writing and book illustration for children, this free day, geared for kids aged 4-12 and their families, has key guests, performances and activities to entertain throughout the day.

In Auckland, families can see 30 authors, storytellers, performers and illustrators at the centre of a huge range of activities, from experimentation with kites and creating comic books, book marks or book illustrations. All day, performances from schools and professional drama companies bring new and favourite New Zealand children’s books to life, while a large non-fiction area caters for children of all ages who are interested in the way books tell real stories about ourselves and the world around us.

The prize-giving for the Puffin Short Story Writing competition, which attracted hundreds of entries in three categories in the first half of the year, is at 1pm, alongside Puffin’s 70th anniversary exhibition of book covers.

Add book launches, the chance to meet favourite authors and illustrators, the opportunity to hear favourite books read aloud, writing and illustration competitions, along with book talks, artists at work and book signing sessions – the 2010 Storylines Family Day promises to be a real celebration of New Zealand kids’ books of all kinds and an opportunity to share with others the joy and magic in the thousands of books and stories on display.

This year, in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of Duffy Books in Homes, free buses bring children from participating Duffy schools into central Auckland to enjoy the day.

The Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators aims to involve as many young people as possible in reading and enjoying books by New Zealand writers and illustrators. In addition to the free Family Day, a number of other activities take place.

Takapuna Library plays host to The House That Jack Built exhibition of original works from the book by children’s writer/illustrator Gavin Bishop.

In the week before the Family Day, the Auckland Story Tour takes writers and illustrators to visit 54 schools and early childhood centres around the region.

And on Saturday 21 August, workshops for aspiring young writers and artists complete the festival programme.

Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators


  • Storylines Free Family Day, Wellington, Wellington Town Hall and Capital E: Sunday 15 August 2010, 10am-3pm.
  • Storylines Free Family Day, Christchurch, Christchurch Town Hall: Sunday 15 August 2010, 10am-3pm.
  • Storylines Auckland Story Tour to schools and early childhood centres: Auckland region, Monday 16 – Friday 20 August.
  • Storylines Free Family Day Northland, Whangarei Central Library and Old Library Arts Centre, Saturday 21 August 2010, 10am-2pm.
  • Auckland Workshops – various locations around the Auckland region, Saturday 21 August. Age limits apply to each workshop.
  • Storylines Free Family Day, Auckland, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE, Sunday 22 August, 10am-3pm. 

Many Storylines Family Day participants are available for interview.  A full programme for Storylines Family Days and workshops, with regular updates, is available on our website.

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1 June 2010.

A New Award for Unpublished Writers of Teen Fiction.

Storylines Trust and HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand are proud to announce an exciting new annual award on the children’s literary scene — the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for unpublished writers of fiction for young adults, named in honour of one of New Zealand’s best writers for young adults.

Unpublished writers looking for an opportunity to emulate the outstanding writing careers of Kiwi authors such as William Taylor, Kate De Goldi, Bernard Beckett or Tessa Duder herself will be excited by this new initiative.

The award has been set up in recognition of Tessa’s outstanding contribution to children’s literature, both in terms of publishing output and her tireless work in the area of children’s literacy, particularly as one of the founding members of the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust.

‘As someone who over three decades has seen New Zealand’s young adult publishing go from strength to strength,’ says Duder, ‘I am truly delighted that the new award will provide a kick-start for an exciting new talent. Storylines and HarperCollins Publishers are to be congratulated for setting up this first award specifically for a YA manuscript, and I confidently look forward to seeing each year’s winners go on to establishing solid writing careers.’

The emergence of the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for young adult fiction reflects the extraordinary strength of fiction for teenagers. ‘It’s a huge growth area internationally,’ says HarperCollins’ Managing Director, Tony Fisk. ‘We are particularly pleased to be associated with an award carrying the name of one of our top children’s writers. HarperCollins has developed an enviable children’s publishing programme both internationally and in New Zealand. We are very excited about the prospects of discovering some wonderful new children’s writers for the programme.'

Chairperson of the Storylines Trust, Dr Libby Limbrick said the Trust was pleased that HarperCollins Publishers had the vision and foresight to support such an important award.

The Tessa Duder Award will be administered by Storylines and sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand. It will complete the line up of prestigious awards made annually by the Trust to writers for children in New Zealand.  Entries for the inaugural award close on 31 October, with winners to be announced at the Storylines annual Margaret Mahy Day and International Children’s Book Day on Saturday 2 April 2011. The winner will receive $1500, and the possibility of a publishing contract with HarperCollins Publishers. Full details and criteria for entry will be listed on the Storylines Tessa Duder Award page.

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29 March 2010.

South Auckland author wins Storylines award for first-time writers.

South Auckland author and primary teacher Leonie Agnew has won the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award, given annually by the Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand for a manuscript of a novel suitable for 8-12 year-olds by an unpublished author.

The award, sponsored by Scholastic NZ, was presented at the Storylines annual Margaret Mahy Day held in Auckland on 27 March, 2010. It commemorates Tom Fitzgibbon, a former tertiary teacher and pioneer children’s book advocate.  

Leonie Agnew, a writer since childhood and a former copy writer, belongs to the well-established writers’ group Kiwi Write4kids. 

'Leonie Agnew's manuscript, entitled Super Finn, is a story about friendship, and was described by the judges as a refreshing read for younger readers. It was chosen from a strong field of 28 entries,' says Trust chairman Dr Libby Limbrick.

'It is an outstanding feat that Leonie was also shortlisted for our other award sponsored by Scholastic, and also announced today – the Storylines Joy Cowley Award,' adds Dr Limbrick. 'It is clear that Leonie has a future as a writer, and that with writers like her emerging, New Zealand children’s literature promises to be as strong in the future as it is right now.'

Two other manuscripts were shortlisted by the judges: The Worm Hole by Raewyn Brockway, from Wellington, and Time Tunnel by Julie Scott, from Devonport.

The Tom Fitzgibbon Award was established in 1995 and is open to any unpublished writer resident in New Zealand. It carries a monetary prize as well as the offer of publication by the sponsor, Scholastic New Zealand.

Previous winners who have gone on to establish writing careers include Heather Cato, Vince Ford, Alison Robertson and Jillian Sullivan.

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29 March 2010.

Aucklander Lucy Davey wins Storylines award. 

Auckland author, song-writer, scientist and mother-of-three Lucy Davey has won the Storylines Joy Cowley Award, given annually by the Storylines Children's LIterature Charitable Trust of New  Zealand with a manuscript entitled 'Out of Bed, Fred!'. The award, sponsored by Scholastic NZ, for a story text suitable for a picture book, was presented at the Storylines’ annual Margaret Mahy Day held in Auckland on Saturday 27 March, 2010.

The award acknowledges the outstanding contribution made to children’s literature by acclaimed Wellington author Joy Cowley, particularly in the genre of picture books.

Already the author of seven succesful picture books, Lucy Davey holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering (UNSW, Sydney, and a First Class Honours Degree in Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering (Massey University). She is also co-director of a boutique advertising agency.

'This year's winner was a stand-out from 175 entries, and is an absolute delight,' says Storylines Trust chairman Dr Libby Limbrick. 'The judges liked the names and the humour in this story and felt it had a good rhythm. They thought that children would absolutel love the jingling language.'

Established in 2002, the Storylines Joy Cowley Award is open to both new and established writers, and carries a monetary prize as well as the offer of publication by the sponsor, Scholastic New Zealand.  The winning book will be illustrated and launched in 2011.

Previous winners include Julie Leibrich, Jean Prior, Kyle Mewburn, Moira Wairama and Michelle Osment.

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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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