Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wellington Children’s Book Association Chair’s report 2013-2014

Wellington Children’s Book Association
Chair’s report 2013-2014
AGM held on 27 July 2014 at Mediterranean Food Warehouse, Newtown.

Last year’s AGM was on 31 July 2013 at the Children’s Bookshop, followed by Fleur Beale sharing her Margaret Mahy Medal speech with us.

Events later in the year unfortunately did not include the Storylines Family Day scheduled for Saturday 17 August 2013, but cancelled because of concerns about the venue and possible aftershocks following the earthquake the day before.

On 21 August 2013, we held a panel discussion at the Southern Cross with the title: SEX: How far do you go in young adult fiction? We felt this would be a hot topic, given the controversy over Ted Dawe’s book Into the river winning the NZ Post Young Adult Fiction Award and Margaret Mahy Book of the Year. YA writers Mandy Hager and Bernard Beckett and romance writer Daphne de Jong made for an entertaining and well informed panel, ably chaired by Fifi Colston, but we were disappointed with the low turnout and decided not to hold any more such events until we have a better venue, or can work out why it was so poorly attended .

It was a wonderful evening in November when Mandy Hager was awarded the prestigious Katherine Mansfield  Fellowship for 2014, allowing her to live in Menton, France and carry out research for her novel on the French nun, scholar and writer Heloise d'Argenteuil, and her love affair with Pierre Abelard.

In November 2013, we also ran the Jack Lasenby Junior Award and received a good number of entries. Some schools always encourage their students to go in for this, and we are grateful for their support. The winning entry, chosen by judge Eirlys Hunter, was “A choice to make” by Ben Espiner of HIBS, with four other highly commended entries.

In January 2014, the WCBA was asked by Lift Education (who now have the contract for some ex-Learning Media publications) to see if any of our members would be interested in a meeting planned for 3 March at Te Papa. This was a Ministry of Education information evening for current and potential writers, illustrators and photographers for Lift Education resources such as the School Journal and Junior Journal. We sent in names of those interested and a number of WCBA members attended.

We were delighted to see that Kathryn Carmody had put together such a brilliant programme for Wellington Writers Week (part of the International Festival of the Arts) which included fabulous children’s writers and illustrators such as Leo Timmers from Belgium, Ulf Stark from Sweden and our own Jack Lasenby in conversation with Kate de Goldi. As part of Writers Week, Gavin Bishop delivered the Janet Frame Memorial Lecture as NZSA President of Honour to a full house at the City Gallery on Monday 10 March 2014. We organised several social events around these, including coffee before Jack Lasenby’s talk and a very convivial dinner on Monday night at Felix café, attended by Gavin and other NZSA and WCBA members. There were also a number of impromptu get-togethers before and after sessions.

On a sadder note, we were very sorry to hear of the sudden and unexpected death on Tuesday 25 March 2014 of Margaret Boon, wife of Wellington children's writer Kevin Boon. Margaret shared Kevin's enthusiasm for all things Katherine Mansfield-related; she volunteered at KM house, and helped with the KM walks around Thorndon that she and Kevin organised. Margaret's Requiem Mass was held at St Benedict's Parish Church, Khandallah, on Monday 31 March.

Awards and prizes
It’s great to see WCBA members and other local writers and illustrators shortlisted for a number of awards and prizes this year.

The Storylines Notable Books Lists for 2014 featured books by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins (A book is a book), Ruth Paul (Bad dog Flash), Chris Szekely and Andrew Burdan (Swim - the Story of Hinemoa & Tutanekai  and its te reo re-telling Tahoe - He Pakiwaitara mo Hinemoa raua ko Tutanekai), Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis (Toucan can), Joy Cowley (Dunger), Philippa Werry (Lighthouse family), Mandy Hager (Dear Vincent), Elizabeth Knox (Mortal fire), Fleur Beale (Speed freak), ), Fifi Colston (Wearable wonders), Philippa Werry (Anzac Day) and Gillian Candler and Ned Barraud (In the garden.) Suzanne Main won the 2014 Tom Fitzgibbon award with her manuscript (intriguingly) titled How I Alienated my Grandma.

Wellington finalists for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for Children and Young Adults included Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis (Toucan can), Gay Hay & Margaret Tolland (Watch out, snail!), Fifi Colston (Wearable wonders), Philippa Werry (Anzac Day), Joy Cowley (Dunger), Fleur Beale (Speed freak) and Elizabeth Knox (Mortal fire).

LIANZA Book Awards local finalists include Mandy Hager (Dear Vincent), Joy Cowley (Dunger), Elizabeth Knox (Mortal fire), Fifi Colston (Wearable wonders) and Anzac Day (Philippa Werry).

New books and book launches
Some wonderful new books have appeared this year (we know that more are on the way!), and book launches have included:
·         (In Featherston) Hero of the hill by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Philip Webb (Scholastic)
·         Watch out, snail! by Gay Hay, illustrated by Margaret Tolland (Page Break Ltd)
·         Baba Didi and the Godwits fly by Nicola Muir, illustrated by Annie Hayward (New Internationalist Publications Ltd)
·         Over the hill to Greytown by Tania Atkinson, ill by Viv Walker (Wai Art Press)
·         A book is a book by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins (Gecko Press)
·         Lighthouse family by Philippa Werry (Scholastic)
·         Dappled Annie and the Tigrish by Mary McCallum (Gecko Press)
·         Mr Miniscule and the whale – a Polish children’s classic by Julian Tuwim (Book Island)
·         Night of the Perigee Moon by Juliet Jacka (Scholastic; winner of the Storylines  Tom Fitzgibbon Award 2013)
·         Lucy Bee and the secret gene by Anne Ingram (White Gull Press)
·         Best mates by Philippa Werry, illustrated by Bob Kerr (New Holland)
·         Mrs Mo’s monster by Paul Beavis (Gecko Press)
·         The red suitcase by Jill Harris (Mākaro Press)
·         Lost in the museum (Phoenix Writers)– a collection of stories by 15 authors, including Eileen Mueller.

Other amazing stuff!
We are impressed with all the amazing work (both paid and voluntary) being carried out by WCBA members, from judging awards to running workshops, helping out with the Kids Lit quiz and many other activities – as well as writing! These are some of the ones we are aware of:

·         Around the bookshops blog by Barbara Murison
·         The Blue Dragon fundraising book fairs run by Iona McNaughton and a team of helpers
·         Creative writing workshops run by Helen Fletcher
·         Johanna Knox is taking the Children’s Writing Workshop in Trimester 2 at VUW
·         Eileen Mueller is this year’s coordinator of the Storylines Wellington Family Day on 24 August (which sounds as if it’s going to be amazing!!!) 

Our membership year usually runs from 1 July to 30 June, but this year we are going to experiment with a “sub-free year” (given the amount of paperwork and time involved in administering and following up requests for payments.) So – no need to pay any sub this year, but you will continue to be on our mailing list.

The WCBA committee
Over the last few years our committee has got smaller as committee members have moved out of Wellington, or been busy with travel, family, work or other commitments and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us. Please get in touch if you want to find out more.

In March we sent out a survey to gauge interest in a possible conference/hui to be held next year. Thanks to all those who responded. We would also welcome help from anyone who would like to be involved with this.

As always, we are very grateful for the support provided by the wonderful Children’s Bookshop of Kilbirnie, who sell (and recommend!) our books and are always ready to host a book launch or other book-related events.  

Our current committee is:
Chair: Maureen Crisp 
Fleur Beale 
Johanna Knox 
Sabrina Malcolm 
Ruth and John McIntyre 
Anita Nalder 
Philippa Werry 

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Have a look at this lovely article on the Unity Books website about the event they hosted on Friday 24 October (the day after the official award ceremony at Premier House) for the winners of the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Awards: Jock Phillips (non fiction), Ian Wedde (poetry) and our very own WCBA patron, Jack Lasenby (fiction); as well as Elizabeth Knox, winner of the 2014 Michael King Fellowship.

Unity Books Wellington owner Tilly Lloyd & Jack Lasenby
Unity Books Wellington owner Tilly Lloyd & Jack Lasenby

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creative New Zealand Literature Review Draft Report

Many of you may already have received an email from Creative NZ about their Literature Review Draft Report. If not, you can download the report from here.

The deadline for submissions is 9am on 3 November and we would encourage you all to have a look and fill out the online questionnaire. Pg 20 of the report explains how you can do this by email, letter or on surveymonkey. 

The report is 46 pgs long so it is not a quick read, but it contains important questions about (amongst other things) what genres CNZ should fund, whether they should fund self publishing, whether they have the balance right between awards/residencies/individual writing grants, the New Zealand Post Book Awards and much more. 

You might need to allow at least 15-30  mins to complete the questionnaire part. It is also suggested (by someone who has already completed it!) that you double-check the 1-5 ranking and be sure which means "Most important" and which is "Least important". 

This is an important opportunity to voice your concerns about issues that affect writers for children and young adults, so don't miss it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear WCBA members,

We are delighted to spread the news that our Patron, Jack Lasenby, has been awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in the Fiction section. You can read more on Beattie's book blog here

Jack will be presented with this award at a ceremony at Premier House on Thursday

This Friday (24th), Unity Bookshop in Wellington is having a lunchtime event to celebrate the three winners of the Prime Minister's Awards as well as the winner of the Michael King Fellowship, Elizabeth Knox. (See details below.)

We thought that members might like to come along to support and celebrate our Patron, and possibly go out to lunch afterwards.

Please RSVP to us by Thursday morning if you are interested in going out for lunch. Email:

Jack Lasenby

Creative New Zealand and Unity Books invite you to a free literary event
Four of New Zealand’s finest writers: Jack Lasenby, Ian Wedde, Jock Phillips and Elizabeth Knox, will read and discuss their work with writer, broadcast journalist and historian, Paul Diamond. 

This is a free event at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington on Friday 24th October, 12-12.45 pm. All welcome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wellington Children's Book Assn AGM

Our AGM is coming up in just over two weeks. 

For a change, the committee has decided to hold the meeting on a weekend afternoon in the convivial atmosphere of a cafe:

Dare: Sunday July 27th
42 Constable St, Newtown

The AGM will be brief, and everyone is welcome to stay afterwards for coffee and a chat. 

In order to know numbers for the cafe, we would be grateful for RSVPs (to by July 20th.


With best wishes

The Committee

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book launch: Snowy the Doganaut

Hi everyone

We've been sent this info about a book launch on Thursday 19 June (more info here):


The Embassy of Brazil in Wellington has the pleasure to invite you to the second session of Brazilian Topics at the Embassy for 2014, on Thursday, 19 June.

Brazilian author Diego D’Albuquerque will be visiting New Zealand to launch his book Branquinho, o Dognauta, which has been translated by Peter Dowling and published for the first time in English as Snowy, the Doganaut by Libro International in New Zealand.  Please see in the poster attached all events planned during his visit to Auckland and Wellington.

At the Embassy of Brazil, Diego will do a book reading with kids and also give a presentation about Brazilian children’s literature for adults, together with publisher/translator Peter Dowling.

This special session of Brazilian Topics at the Embassy will be divided into two parts:

1. Reading of the book with kids and book launch. From 4 pm to 5.30 pm. Event suited for children of all ages, but in particular from 5 to 10 years old, and accompanying adults. Reservations:

2. Presentation about the Brazilian children's literature market. From 5.30 pm to 7 pm. Event suited for adults and older kids (from 10 years old). Reservations:

The book will be available for purchase for NZ$ 20.   

About the book:

Snowy is a dog with a difference — an alien canine with ears where he should have eyes, eyes in the back of his head, a tail on the side of his body. He wears a helmet and walks on two legs. A boy finds him in Earth and decides to take him to a veterinarian. Will he be able to transform him into a normal dog, even if he has to travel to Pluto to do it?

About the author:

Diego D’Albuquerque was only 8 years old when he wrote Branquinho, O Dognauta.  He became the youngest published author when Branquinho was released in 1982. He later graduated in Social Communication from the PUC (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) and has pursued a career in television and advertising as a scriptwriter and editor. Diego lives with his wife in Rio de Janeiro.

About the translator and publisher:

Peter Dowling is the director of Oratia Media, a publishing services company that also publishes Libro International books. He has had a long career in book and magazine publishing in New Zealand and overseas. Peter fell under the spell of Brazil when living there in 1990 and has returned as often as possible. Peter is an experienced translator and fluent speaker of Brazilian Portuguese. He now lives west of Auckland with his wife and two children.


The Embassy of Brazil has moved to Level 13, 10 Customhouse Quay, Maritime Tower, Wellington. See map below.

Please keep in mind that building access closes at 6 pm. 

If you have any problems registering through the links above, please send us an email or call (04) 473 3521.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Eat Your Words

 Hi everyone

WCBA members have been among the successful prize-winners in past Eat Your Words competitions. The 2014 competition is now open to entries. (Deadline: 23 May). 

All the details you need are below. Please feel free to forward this to friends or around your networks.

Eat Your Words 2014

Eat Your Words is Whitireia’s biennial café-inspired poetry competition, which has been running since 2010.

This year we are opening the competition to flash fiction as well.

The theme for entries is ‘Words to go with your coffee’.

Entries must be 150 words or under. There is no entry fee.

Prizes and publication
30-40 winning entries will be chosen, and these will receive café-themed prizes and be published in the 2014 Eat Your Words book.

Highly respected Wellington poet James Brown will judge the main prizes.

* All entries – whether poetry or flash fiction must be 150 words or under.
* Entries must not have been published before
* Entrants must be from the greater Wellington region.
* Max – three entries per person

There is no official entry form.

Email your entry to:
 by 23 May.

(No entries by post.)

Prize sponsors include:

Emma Makes (handcrafted literary stationery and more)

Prodigal Daughter (Artisan Italian food)

Poesy (artisan pizza bases with poetry cards)

Deadline: 23 May

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book launches at The Children's Bookshop, Wellington

These three book launches are coming up soon at The Children's Bookshop - we hope to see some of you there. 

Tuesday 8th of April @ 6pm

Best Mates by Phiippa Werry, illustrated by Bob Kerr

An ANZAC story published by New Holland

Guest speaker Kirstie Ross – Curator,
 Modern New Zealand, Te Papa.

Wednesday April 9th @ 6pm

Mrs Mo’s Monster written and illustrated by Paul Beavis
Published by Gecko Press

Join us to welcome Paul, a new author/illustrator 
who has shifted here from the UK  recently with his 
New Zealand partner.

Thursday 24th April @6pm

The Red Suitcase by Jill Harris

Published by Makaro Press

Jill is the author of Sil (NZ Post Honour Award 2006), Missing Toby and At The Lake.

The Children's Bookshop
Shop 26 Kilbirnie Plaza
Wellington 6022

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The New Zealand Festival Writers Week

The New Zealand Festival Writers Week programme (Fri 7 - Wed 12 March) has just been released. It is crammed full of wonderful  talks and sessions - and it's the best Writers Week for years for anyone interested in books (both writing and illustrating) for children and young adults.

This session is top of my list:
Sat 8 March 12.15pm: An hour with much-loved local author Jack Lasenby, in conversation with Kate De Goldi. Jack Lasenby is the patron of the WCBA and it would be great to see lots of WCBA members there. But it's on at the Hannah Playhouse which is not a big venue and tickets have been on sale for some time, so you might need to be quick to get in.


If you are wondering what else to choose, here are a few more suggestions (Sunday in particular looks like a busy day):

Sun 9 March 9.15am: Creating readers - results of a survey of 7,000 young readers about their reading habits, by Kids Lit Quiz creator Wayne Mills and early childhood specialist Celeste Harrington

Sun 9 March 10.45am: Kei reira nga weriweri: Learn to read a classic picture book (Where the wild things are) in te reo Maori.


Sun 9 March 12.15pm: An hour with Swedish writer Ulf Stark, in conversation with his translator and publisher in New Zealand, Julia Marshall of Gecko Press.

Sun 9 March 3.15pm: The man that books built - an hour with Francis Spufford, author of The child that books built, in conversation with Kate De Goldi. (Spufford also appears in another session on Sat 8 March at 12.15pm: Having faith in the 21st century.)

Sun 9 March 6pm: an invitation from Gecko Press to the launch of Mary McCallum's first novel for children, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, at St James Theatre

Mon 10 March 9.15am: Ideas that go bang! - an hour with Belgian illustrator and writer Leo Timmers, in conversation with Simon Waterfield, award-winning designer for Learning Media

Live Drawing with Leo Timmers

Mon 10 March 10.45am: Comicsville - this session includes cartoonist, writer and illustrator Dylan Horrocks.

Mon 10 March 12.15pm: Idea + design + text = ? with Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinksy (who produced the brilliant H.O.U.S.E. and D.E.S.I.G.N. books.)

Idea + Design = Text?

Mon 10 March 4.45pm NZ Book Council lecture by Eleanor Catton. However, if you do book this, be prepared to shove your way out of the crowds at the Embassy and sprint across town for:

Mon 10 March 6.15pm 2014 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture by Gavin Bishop. This is an annual literary "state of the nation" speech sponsored by the NZSA and given by the NZSA President of Honour. This year, Gavin proposes to focus on "the value and standing of children's literature and of illustration." (Gavin's talk is second on my list.)

2014 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture

Wed 12 March 4.45pm: Letting the ghosts in - an hour with Elizabeth Knox, in conversation with Steven Gale

And for some lucky illustrators, there are two workshops:
Live drawing with Leo Timmers, Mon 10 March 2pm (2 hrs; $45)
Icons, symbols and illustration (with the Mizielinksys), Wed 12 March 9.30am (2 hrs; $45)

Most sessions are $18 (some are more) which means you have to pick and choose carefully, but there is also free stuff:
Big ideas for breakfast, from 7.45am on Mon 10 - Wed 12 March at the Jimmy Cafe and Bar, St James Theatre. (Free except for the price of an early morning coffee.)
The Curioseum: stories read by Joy Cowley, Kyle Mewburn, Jo Randerson, Dave Armstrong, Antonio Te Maioha and Elizabeth Knox at Te Papa, Sat 8 March 20pm in Te Marae

The Curioseum

And there is plenty, plenty more - get hold of a copy of the programme or look it up online and try and get along to some of these sessions. It would be great for the Writers Week organisers to see how much we appreciate having talks in there that are directed at members of the children's writing and illustrating community.