Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand | Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa

Storylines Gavin Bishop Award

Rose Northey, 2021 Winner of Storylines Gavin Bishop Award: 

My flatmate told me about the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award and it seemed like a great opportunity to try my hand at storyboarding with the motivation of a deadline. I had already been considering writing and illustrating my own children’s book and I loved that there were great tips and examples for how to do this in the application brief. I treated the process as an end-of-year development course. I thought it would be great to be shortlisted or win but this was not my main goal in applying, I was just stoked to have made something I was proud of.

Winning this competition felt absolutely nuts. Arts careers are insular and uncertain so whenever I met a pro I basically beg them to let me buy them a coffee and ask them questions like a toddler. And then I won the comp and Gavin freaking Bishop gave me his phone number and told me to call whenever I needed. It was professional development Christmas.

I tried to start the process on the right foot and had several long phone calls with Gavin and Catherine (my publisher with Penguin). We talked a lot about margins and the gutter and what makes a book look like a book (as opposed to a collection of unrelated drawings). Gavin, Catherine and Carla (my designer) were absolutely amazing. They gave me guidance where it was needed and built my confidence with the things I was already doing well. They pointed out when the princess had casually broken her leg (anatomy is hard waaaa) and they oohed and ahhed over my use of colour which made me feel like such a baller.

If I compare my work before and after The Lighthouse Princess, I see a giant leap in confidence and knowledge of my craft. It wasn’t until I got to near the end of the process that I realised that children would be reading and (hopefully) enjoying this book. It feels like I did a master’s degree and parents are reading their four-year-olds the thesis.

Entries for the 2024 Award close 30 November 2023
Access for students and members is only $20
Click here to see a video about the Award

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We are a 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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