Melanie Koster won the 2022 Storylines Joy Cowley Award. She shares what winning this award means to her.
Melanie writes: “Many years ago, the wonderful Bill Nagelkerke kindly read some of my stories, which looking back on now I realise were rather awful! But Bill somehow managed to find some redeeming features to praise and encouraged me to try entering the Storylines Joy Cowley Award.
“I have always loved dreaming up stories, but there’s nothing like a specific goal and strict deadline for motivation to knuckle down and write. I entered the award many times with various manuscripts and when I was lucky enough to be shortlisted my confidence grew. It made me more determined to keep writing and submitting.
“I am a huge fan of Joy Cowley and was privileged to attend one of her writing workshops many years ago, which was incredibly inspiring. When I was told I had won the 2022 Storylines Joy Cowley Award, I thought they had made a mistake. I still can’t quite believe it! Since winning the award I have felt re-energised and rediscovered the courage to start sharing more of my writing with the world.
“It’s been amazing working with Lynette Evans and Penny Scown at Scholastic NZ, and I was over the moon when my daughter was chosen to illustrate the book. Watching Monica breathe life into Tama and the Taniwha has been an exciting process and I have a whole new appreciation for illustrators. We were thrilled to learn our book will also be available in te reo Māori as Tama me te Taniwha. We can’t wait to see the final product!
“Thank you so much to Storylines Trust for making this possible. To anyone considering entering the Storylines Joy Cowley Award, go for it! Take the leap and you never know where it will lead.”
Entries for the 2023 Storylines Joy Cowley Award for an original picture book manuscript close on 31 October. Find out more on the Storylines Awards page.