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What's the Story May 2012


ISSN 11750189: Volume 11: Issue 2: May 2012.

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. ~ Frederick Douglass.

Storylines Special Event – Meet The Authors and Illustrators.

Storylines and The Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre have teamed up to offer a unique opportunity for schools within the close vicinity of the venue to Meet the Authors and Illustrators.

Held on Tuesday 21 August and Wednesday 22 August, applications have now opened for your chance to meet our guest speakers. Applications can be made online.

But hurry, numbers are limited. Click here for more information and an application form.

Get involved in the Storylines Festival Committee.

We are very keen to hear from people in Auckland who would be interested in joining the Auckland Storylines Festival Committee. As a committee, we meet once a month to discuss and plan the annual festival, a week of fun that includes authors and illustrators touring schools, writing and illustrating workshops for children, teens and adults, author and illustrator talks and seminars, as well as the big festival day full of books, stories, crafts, storytellers, performers, author and illustrator readings and signings and much much more.

Please do not hesitate to email if you have any questions. Also, if you think you might like to help out on the day, get in touch… via email.


Meet David Ling - new to the Storylines Management Committee.

I’ve always been interested in picture books as a great blending of literature and art and as Editorial Director at David Ling. Heinemann Publishers (NZ) in the 1970s and 1980s introduced a picture book list alongside all the company’s other publishing. I did the same when I held the position of Publishing Director of Century Hutchinson (now Random House) in the 1980s and early 1990s.

When I set up my own company in the 1990s I initially restricted my publishing to adult fiction and non-fiction and it was not until 2010 that I created the Duck Creek Press imprint and returned to picture book publishing. And I’m enjoying it immensely.

I immediately joined Storylines. One of the strengths of the book industry in New Zealand is that many professionals give their time to running industry organisations like Storylines and the way authors, publishers, booksellers and librarians work together in a collegial spirit that is not always found elsewhere. These organisations provide an ideal way of keeping in touch with colleagues and industry activities and developments - which is particularly important for small publishers and others who work largely in isolation and I was keen to be a part of it.

The suggestion to join the management committee came as a surprise but also at a good time. I had recently stepped down from twelve years on the council of PANZ, giving me more free time to take on this role. I’m looking forward to it and to contributing in any way I can.


Double New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Win for Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award winner

Storylines had a special reason to rejoice at the recent New Zealand Post Book Awards with the double win of Super Leonie Agnew speaking. Finn in both the hotly-contested Junior Fiction section and the Best First Book Award.

This is actually the third prize for this marvellous junior novel, as it started life as a submission to the 2010 Storylines Ton Fitzgibbon Award, winning favour with the Storylines and Scholastic judges to win the coveted award for that year.  (Just a pity that none of the media coverage mentioned that this was already a Storylines award-winning book.)

'All of us at Storylines are thrilled with Leonie’s success,' says Storylines Trust chairman, Dr Libby Limbrick.  'Super Finn has achieved exactly what the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon and Joy Cowley awards were established to do: discover new and exciting new authors who go on to greater successes, as previous winners like Vince Ford, Kyle Mewburn and Lucy Davy, among others, have done. We offer her our warmest congratulations and best wishes for her career as a writer of marvellously funny novels for that crucial young readership.'

Convenor of New Zealand Post judges Gillian Candler said, 'The characters in Super Finn are incredibly funny and thoroughly believable. This book touches the heart and the funny bone. The judges couldn’t ask for more.'

Currently a primary school teacher, Leonie has also worked as a copy writer. She is a member of KiwiWrite4Kids and says will be 'forever glad' to have joined the South Auckland Critique Group, who kept her supplied 'with cake and confidence.'


2012 World Final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz™.

The best literary brains from around the world will compete for this year’s world title in July. You are cordially invited.

Welcome to teams from:

  • Scotland (representing the UK).
  • United States of America.
  • Canada.
  • South Africa.
  • Australia.
  • New Zealand (as yet to be discovered).

The venue: The Owen Glenn Building on the corner of Symonds and Grafton Streets. Entry by koha.

Time: 1:30 – 4:30pm Wednesday 4th July. [Bookshop available]


World Final Gala Dinner

Guest speakers: Des Hunt and Stu Duval

Students will talk about their all-time favourite books

Cost: $60 per head

Venue: New Zealand Maritime Museum-Viaduct Harbour

Time 7:00 – 9:30 Wednesday 4th July

Tickets available from Rosemary Tisdall.

Electronic payments to: Westpac Bank: 03 0389 0200173 025.

Cheques payable to Kids’ Lit Quiz Ltd and sent to: Rosemary Tisdall 100A Coates Ave, Orakei, Auckland 1071


Updates from our Regional Correspondents

Bookrapt (Bay of Plenty).

We're busy planning for our annual seminar on Saturday 4th August 2012.

The speakers will be:

  • Nikki Slade Robinson.
  • Penny Scown.
  • Anna Mckenzie.
  • As usual, it will be held in the Library of the Tauranga Intermediate School, 18th Ave, Tauranga.

More details and registration forms will be available later.

Members have been active in supporting the Friends of the Tauranga Libraries in opposing the Tauranga City Council's planned suspension of the Mobile Library, as we feel this is an essential and much valued service in the Tauranga area.

Several of us recently enjoyed assisting at the BOP area Kids' Lit Quiz evening. What a great night it was! Wayne certainly gets the kids enthused – and the parents! Great credit to Vicki Wikioika, librarian at Tauranga Intermediate, and her team for wonderful organising.

Several of our members are having books launched this year which is exciting.

~ Lois Rout.



The Storylines Festival Free Family Day is creeping up and the Wellington Committee are going into Action Mode counting down to our areas date of Sunday 19 August 19. After three years as an energetic and totally enthusiastic coordinator, Adele Jackson is stepping sideways (she’ll still be on the committee) and the reigns have been picked up by another enthusiast, Sarina Hutton, who is the Children's Librarian, South Cluster, Wellington City Libraries. Like Adele, Sarina has a wonderful web of network connections in the world of children’s books and related activities.  Because the Wellington Town Hall, where we have had two very happy events over the past 10 or so years, has now been deemed an earthquake risk we are moving this year to the grander environs of the Michael Fowler Centre just across Civic Square.  We will miss the comfortable village hall feeling of the old Town Hall but we will have more room to spread out our activities and to give our visiting writers, illustrators, storytellers, booksellers and most importantly, the children, a much better space to work in.  At the moment all the activities are whirling around on scrap paper, computer messages, minutes and in committee member’s heads but, hopefully, very soon to emerge as a definite theme as the committee meetings get more and more frequent. A children’s ukulele band, puppets, a cardboard dragon, Forest and Bird involvement… we will soon work out how they and a hundred other ideas fit together. 

~ Barbara Murison.



What: The 13th Horseman Book Launch.

When: Fri 25 May, 16:00 – 16:30.

Where: Shirley Library, 36 Marshland Rd, Shirley, Christchurch 8061.

Description: Come and celebrate the launch of The 13th Horseman by UK author Barry Hutchison. Hear Barry talk about his hilarious new book (virtually from the UK) and enjoy drinks and snacks fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse.

We have some other exciting events planned. All events will be held at The Children’s Bookshop, Shop 5, Blenheim Square, 227 Blenheim Rd at 7pm. Admission is free.

Thursday 21st June: Dystopia: Joann Orwin, Jane Higgins and Jilaine Johnson will discuss this topic which is a theme in many books at the present time. ('Dystopia' is the opposite of 'Utopia')

Wednesday 18th July Book Club: This is a book club for adults – parents, teachers, librarians and the like – to discuss quality, mostly New Zealand, books for children. At this first meeting the books to be discussed will be The House that Jack Built by Gavin Bishop and Nanberry by Jackie French. People will be able to choose future books for discussion and be able to lead that discussion. How frequently the club meets will be decided at the first meeting.

Zac Harding.


Melinda Szymanik Book Launch

About 30 people braved the wet weather and rush hour traffic on Wednesday May 9, to attend an evening with Melinda melinda. Symanik, hosted by Pearjam Books and Duck Creek Press at Auckland’s National Library. Melinda was launching her picture book Made with Love, illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski, published by Duck Creek and began by paying tribute to Maurice Sendak, who died last Tuesday. Melinda also spoke of how it was for those of us who grew up before there was a New Zealand children’s literature scene, when British and American authors, mostly obtained from the library were the staple diet of the enthusiastic reader.

Duck Pear cake. How fortunate we are to have the varied and ever increasing list of New Zealand children’s authors who are writing today and the publishers who are prepared to give opportunities to new authors. Two of Duck creek’s picture books in the last two years have been stories which were shortlisted for the Storylines Joy Cowley Award. There can only be one winner in any year and it is good to see some of the finalists finding their way into print. Melinda’s young adult novel, The Half Life of Ryan Davis was published late last year by Pearjam Books, Jill Marshall’s new publishing company. Melinda baked a delicious chocolate cake decorated with a pear and a duck as a tribute to both her publishers.

~ Helen Beckingsale. Photographs by Kathryn Beckingsale.


If you like to read children’s books then why not join a book chat group?

Book Chat groups were originally the idea of the late Jo Noble to give those of us who enjoy reading children’s and teens books a chance to talk about them with like minded people. The Auckland group began first but is currently in recession and the North Shore group began in 2004 and meets regularly once a month.

We bring along whatever we have been reading in the last month to show and discuss and notes are emailed out to a much larger group of North Shore Storylines members, some of whom have never attended a meeting but have been on the email list since the beginning. The North Shore group also has a LibraryThing membership where we can record what we have discussed. There is potential to have Book Chat groups all over the country wherever we have enough members to get together. All we need is to know who you are and where you are and we can put you in touch with each other.

For information about the central Auckland group contact Bronwyn Fox , for the North Shore contact Helen Beckingsale.

If you are outside these areas and would like to join a group or already have a group that needs new members let us know who you are and we will see if there are like minded people in your area.


Your School’s Author-in-Residence?

Melinda Szymanik is the award-winning New Zealand author of smart, layered fiction for all ages, focusing on the family, the challenging and the unexpected – all with a little dash of magic.

At the recent launch of her two new titles, teen psychological thriller The Half Life of Ryan Davis (Pear Jam Books) and picture book Made with Love (Duck Creek Press), Szymanik announced a very special contest for NZ schools, to be run in conjunction with trans-media publishing company PearJam Books. For the second half of 2012, one lucky school will receive the mentoring, tutoring and writing services of Melinda Szymanik as their Author-in-Residence.

Melinda will spend up to 10 hours per term in a school if local, or available via Skype if further afield. During those hours she will:

  • Talk about books, reading and writing.
  • Mentor and tutor students as directed by the school.
  • Support and champion the school’s reading and writing campaigns

All schools from primary to secondary may apply. To enter the contest, you will need to:

A: Answer the following questions:

  • Why should your school win Melinda Szymanik as author in residence?
  • How would the school make use of this opportunity (in class talks, workshops for budding writers, one on one sessions etc...)?
  • How would you use Melinda’s hours on site or via skype to achieve their goals with this? (an hour a week? A morning each month? A couple of full days?)


B: Purchase a minimum of one copy each of The Half Life of Ryan Davis and Made With Love, available from Wheelers or your local bookseller.

Entries should be submitted to Melinda by 3pm 8 June 2012. The first 10 entries will receive a free copy of the e-book of The Half Life of Ryan Davis. Judging will be carried out by the author and agreed with Pear Jam Books, and the winning school will be notified by 15 June 2012 in preparation for Term 3.

NB Pear Jam Books will roll out an Author-in-Residence programme with other authors later this year. See the PearJam website for authors you might like to invite to your school.


International Youth Library and the White Ravens

The White Raven label is given to books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design. The titles are drawn from the over 9000 books that the International Youth Library (IYL) receives as review or donation copies from publishers and organisations around the world.

Each year the language specialists (Lektoren) at the IYL, in Munich, Germany, select newly published books from around the world that they consider to be especially noteworthy. This list of 250 books is compiled into the annual White Ravens Catalogue, which is introduced and displayed at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. This catalogue is a guideline for critics, authors, publishers, illustrators, and the most important, for parents. It does not just provide the information about the best books, but shapes the trends in modern children’s literature.

Frances Plumpton from Richards Literary Agency who attends the Bologna Children’s Book Fair each year contends that inclusion in the White Ravens Catalogue is a wonderful endorsement leading to more interest by international publishers and agents.

‘Because the collections of the International Youth Library consist exclusively of books we receive from publishers, institutions, organisations, and other friends of the IYL around the world, only review and donation copies qualify for the selection of the White Ravens. To offer a broad range of publications, we attempt to present titles from as many different publishing houses as possible. Unfortunately, not all publishing houses that consistently and generously supply the IYL with their books can be featured here every year. We cordially thank each and every one of them for their shipments of books!’ - IYL website

The English Language Section at the IYL is headed by Claudia Söffner.

1996-2012 White Ravens Catalogues can be found here.


Children’s book to benefit blind people

A special children’s picture book, Colour the Stars, gives children the opportunity to experience a different way of ‘seeing’ the world.

Written by Dawn McMillan and illustrated by Keinyo White, Colour the Stars is a poignant and uplifting story about two children, Isaac and Luke, which explores the question ‘How do you describe a colour to someone who can’t see?’.

Dawn is also generously donating the royalties of the book, which is published by Scholastic, to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind’s Guide Dog Services.

‘It felt right to support the RNZFB with proceeds from the story. I chose the RNZFB guide dogs as one day a boy like Luke might decide he needs a guide dog,’ Dawn says.

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) Chief Executive, Sandra Budd, says the story will be a great tool to raise awareness of blindness.

‘The story conveys vision impairment in such a wonderful way for children to learn and be aware of the different ways blind and partially sighted children discover the world,’ she says.

Colour the Stars begins when the two boys are sitting together on the banks of a stream in the bush and Isaac asks Luke if he knows about colours. Isaac then uses the non-visual senses of touch and smell to teach Luke the different colours of the rainbow.

Living in a small coastal village on the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula, Dawn’s inspiration to write the story came when she was sitting in her favourite place in the bush, alongside a ford that crosses a stream.

‘I often sit there alone, listening to the water and enjoying the colours and the smells that surround me. One day it seemed as if Luke and Isaac were there with me, wanting to tell their story,’ she says.

Scholastic has been working with Dawn on Colour the Stars since 2009, when it was accepted for publication. It is Dawn’s 20th picture book and one of her favourite stories.

Colour the Stars is available now from bookstores nationwide.

About the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).

The RNZFB is New Zealand’s main provider of sight loss services to blind and partially sighted people.

More than 11,500 people are members and everyday three blind or partially sighted New Zealanders register with the RNZFB.

The RNZFB receives no government funding for Guide Dog Services.


New Zealand Society of Authors News

Free Writing Workshops in Christchurch

Kick start the creative process with free writing workshops – Christchurch Give quake-brain the boot and kick start your writing with a weekend of free workshops from some of the country’s leading authors, poets and publishers. Sponsored by Copyright Licensing Ltd and The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc), the weekend will include tips to writing film scripts, how to craft a play, the steps to self-publishing on Kindle and exploring the hero’s journey.

Event organiser, Jenny Haworth of New Zealand Society of Authors, says both Copyright Licensing Ltd and The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) realised the importance of getting Cantabrians writing again. ‘The impact of stress on the creative process can stop writers in their tracks,’ she says. ‘I’m hearing from writers across the city that many feel they’ve hit a brick wall and don’t know how to get started writing again.’  Ms Haworth says the 90-minute workshops will be a chance for writers to re-boot their creative brain.  ‘With writing talents such as Gavin Bishop, Press feature writer Martin Van Beynen and poet Karen Zelas on hand, it will be a weekend that fires up imaginations and will have Cantabrians putting pen to paper in no time.  Best of all, thanks to the sponsorship from Copyright Licensing Ltd and The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) the workshops are all free,’ she says.

The workshops will explore the impact of the earthquakes on creative work and will include writing exercises to stimulate creativity and the expression of inner emotions.

The line up of presenters includes:

Saturday 26 May

10:15am  Kathleen Gallagher (How to Write a Film Script) or Kathryn Taylor (Fiction Writing)

11:45am Gary Henderson (How to Craft a Play – how to write using the vocabulary of theatre, and translate from prose into theatre) or Karen Zelas (Writing Poetry)

1:15pm  Gavin Bishop (Making Pictures that Tell a Story)

1:30pm Jenny Haworth (The Business of Writing – Planning your work for publication)

2:25pm  Jillian Sullivan (The Hero’s Journey – the importance of archetypes in fiction writing)

Sunday 27 May

10:15am Martin van Beynen (Writing Non-fiction)

11:45am David Roys (How to Self-Publish a Kindle Novel)

1:30pm Rachel Scott (The World of Publishing)

Where:  Community Meeting Room and Learning Centre Room 3, Upper Riccarton

Library, 71 Main South Rd, Sockburn (check times and venue for Saturday workshops)

When:  Saturday, 26 / Sunday, 27 May from 10:15am

What: Free writing workshops for Christchurch writers, new or established. Bring writing materials. For more information visit their website.


The 2012 NZSA Asian Short Story Competition is now open!

After an auspicious beginning in 2011 the NZSA Asian Short Story Competition is once again open for entries.   

As the national body supporting writers in New Zealand, the NZSA is keen to promote Asian writing and offer an opportunity for Asian writers to showcase their work. 

One of last year’s judges, Renee Liang, says it was wonderful to see a broad representation of stories and characters which hailed from South Asia, South East Asia and North East Asia.  She adds that the winning story ‘Paper Butterflies’ by Wellington writer Rosabel Tan was a delightful standout amongst the high quality entries.  

Entry is open to New Zealand permanent residents who are Asian or of Asian ethnicity. Short stories will be in English, and the theme is open. Stories will ideally contain some Asian content, though not necessarily be set in Asia.

The minimum length of entries is 2,500 words, and the maximum length of entries is 3,500 words.

There is a total of $4,500 in cash prizes. First prize: $3,000. Second: $1,000. Third: $500.

A shortlist of five will be announced on 21 October. Winners will be announced in November 2012.

The competition deadline is 30 August 2012.  Terms & conditions and application forms are downloadable from the Society of Authors site  or email the programmes team.


Red Leap Theatre returns!

Red Leap Theatre’s award winning production of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival has played at Auckland, New Zealand, Sydney and Hong Kong International Arts Festivals and will tour Korea later this year before a return season at Auckland’s Aotea Centre in July.

The production began at the 2007 Storylines Festival when artistic director Kate Parker met Shaun Tan while he was here as a guest of Storylines. Many members of the Storylines community are big  fans of Shaun’s work and the theatre hope that there will be interest in their adaptation.

You can view a little about the show here. The season dates are July 13 – 15 with a school matinee on July 17.

The school matinee is almost sold out but the public season has not yet been released as the theatre company wanted to reach out to like minded organisations such as Storylines first. So, keep an eye out on your inbox - and keep the dates clear.




For members only.

The booklist this time is all about islands.

Log on to our website using your existing membership number, or your newly reset password if you have already visited our new website, to view out booklists.

Are you interested in reviewing for the booklist? Find out how here.

This is only accessible to members. If you wish to become a member, contact our Membership Secretary.

Storylines thanks Zeald for their ongoing support of our website, membership database and email newsletters.   


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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