Saturday, December 13, 2008


SPINNING GOLD- The New Zealand Children’s Book Writing and Illustration Conference will take place at Capital House, Melrose, Wellington in 2009, September 18 (2pm)-20th (5pm)
Run by the Wellington Children’s Book Association, there will be opportunities for emerging and experienced Writers and Illustrators to learn new skills, network and take their craft to The Next Chapter- into the 21st Century.

The core strands in the conference will be:
  • New Technologies-Escape beyond the pen, the paper and the ‘puter.
  • Business The money and how to legally keep as much as you can.
  • Marketing and Promotion- Getting your name out there... Beyond Traditional Marketing.
  • Professional Development- Publishing without paper- Ways to live without getting a real job.
There will be Master Classes, Workshops, Publishers, Agents, Panels and Informative Keynote Speakers.
There will be social events and a built in trip to a mystery location.
The venue, Capital House, is in an affordable location for a residential conference set in large grounds overlooking the harbour. Bed and Breakfast living in at the conference will be optional (but we recommend it) Come for a day or for all three.
Early bird registrations will open in April 2009
Spaces are limited to the first 80 people!
If you want to register your interest and get on our mailing list for updates and advance warning of registration opening dates... Contact the Wellington Children’s Book Association by email.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kids Lit Stars at the Cross

Well it was a great Quiz night at the Southern Cross with spot prizes, much laughter and scratching of heads to find the right answers and a huge amount of creativity as shown by the results of Limerick competition. We gave everyone the first line:

There was a keen writer from Taita….

We thought they were such fun that they should be published. You should note that none of the authors are identifiable by their team’s name and there was a fair amount of wine involved in the creative process.

The winning limerick team Where the Wild Hair Is channelled alcohol:

There was a keen writer from Taita

He drank as he wrote and got tighter

He drank gin, he drank wine

He ate grapes off the vine

And his writing got shiter and shiter.

Les Blancs knew what desperation is:

There was a keen writer from Taita

Who set fire to his tale with a lighter,

The manuscript burned

No money was earned

So his purse strings got tighter and tighter.

Edward and the Cullenary Delights aimed for literary success:

There was a keen writer from Taita

With his eye on the Pulitzer Prizer

But where talent lacked

His punch it did pack

He found victory; he was a fighter!

The Cherubs penned an important lesson on the value of editing:

There was a keen writer from Taita

Who suffered a heavy all-nighter

As she stumbled on home

She was struck by a tome

Which she wished was a few chapters lighter.

The T.Team went for a bodice ripper approach:

There was a keen writer from Taita

Who found fairytales could excite her

She loved Humpty, Prince Charming

But oh, ‘twas alarming

When the Dragon and George did ignite her!

And the Quizlits were ever mindful of the hips.

There was a keen writer from Taita

Who wanted to be slightly lighter

She gave up on food, which ruined her mood

And made her manuscript triter.

So on that note, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who came to the night and made it such a lot of fun and huge thanks to Johanna Knox, Margaret Cahill and Dylan Owen for coming up with the questions and to Louise Davies for organising the room and the food. The Southern Cross is a great venue and they generously donated a dinner voucher as part of the prize pack. The committee members of the WCBA all worked together to make this a great evening and now it is over we are working on the Conference plans.

We will be making an announcement here on Monday, so check back in then and open your diary to pencil in a weekend in September you won’t want to miss.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Quiz Night!

We can hardly believe it- December is upon us which means just one thing... the Kid's Lit Quiz Night!
Get a team together or come and make up one with others on the night. We'll provide the yummy nibbles and dish out spot prizes. A great evening for lovers of Children's Literature and a fun night out.
Click the image on the right to bring it up in a larger window, print it out, stick to your fridge, brush up your trivia and tinsel and come along!

$10 at the door. RSVP to or the Children's Bookshop ph: 3873905

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winner- Jack Lasenby Award

The winner of this year's Jack Lasenby Award is Sand King by Peter Friend,a story set around a sand-castle competition at Lyall Bay. The judges felt that although some of the other pieces were more polished, the imagination expressed in Sand King, the strength of the voice and even the writing style were more expressive and had a spark that other stories were missing. Sand King was not without faults, but the heart of the story was strong, it was imaginative in a way that few of the entries were, and it left a lot for the reader to infer.

The judges also decided to highly commend three other stories, which were (in no particular order):
Boxing On by Kathy Taylor, Tararua Biscuits by Robin Fleming and Pop and the Crusty Demon by Sharon Stratford. These were all heartwarming and appealing stories based around realistic relationships.

About the Judges

Vince Ford

Vince Ford is an award winning Children’s Book writer and a 2008 Judge for The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. His latest work, the Chronicles of Stone series is a departure from his previous work. Set in the Ice Age in the States it follows the journey of twins, Souk and Trei, as they strive to capture secrets that could change the lives of their people. In the words of Graham Beattie, "I foresee a big, promising international future for the Chronicles of Stone trilogy and for Vincent Ford as a writer for teenagers and beyond. Be sure to bring it before any teenage readers you know, they will not be disappointed."

Philippa Werry

Philippa is a children’s writer who has written over 100 stories, plays, poems and articles for the School Journal and other educational publishers. Her stories have also been broadcast on National Radio. The great chocolate cake bake-off (Scholastic, 2007) was included in the Storylines list of notable books for 2007. Her most recent book, Enemy at the Gate (Scholastic, 2008) is a children’s novel set in Wellington at the time of the1936 polio epidemic.

Margaret Cahill

Margaret is a children's series editor at Learning Media where she reads and assesses a great many children's stories every year. She is the editor of Greg O'Brien's Montana Award winning history of the School Journal,

A Nest of Singing Birds.

Margaret is a past convenor of the WCBA, an occasional writer, and an enthusiastic champion of children's literature.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Invitation

The Goethe-Institut New Zealand is delighted to present the exhibition:

Contemporary Picture Book Illustration from Germany on its tour of Australia, Bangkok and New Zealand. The artists presented cover a wide spectrum of contemporary illustrational art, from water colour and collage to digital experiments. Sometimes naïve, sometimes sceptical, sometimes cheeky, but always delightful, the 13 perspectives give a fascinating insight into the work of leading German illustrators and book designers. With their individual styles and artistic vocabularies they have contributed to the growing success and recognition of picture book illustration from Germany on an international scale. The exhibition will be shown in Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.

The Goethe-Institut together with the Children’s Book Association would like to invite you and your partner to the opening of the exhibition in Wellington.

Where: Wellington Central Library (2nd floor)

When: 4 Nov 2008, 6 pm

For more information please visit our website or contact us: ph 04 385 6924 or

With warm greetings

Christoph Mücher


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Deadline looming!

Just a reminder that the deadline for the Jack Lasenby Award is the 31st October, so get those entries in!

NB: this competion is only open to residents of Wellington, N.Z (area defined by the phone book)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

WCBA member news

New kids’ book illustrated by Weta to be released

Champ the Chopper fans don’t have long to wait now – a new children’s picture book illustrated by the award-winning Weta special effects workshop is due out soon.

The second book in the series about a little rescue helicopter, Kids to the Rescue is written by local author Rebekah Palmer with illustrations done by Weta artist Daniel Falconer.

The picture book will be launched at the Weta Cave in Camperdown Rd, Miramar, Wellington, on Saturday October 11 at 2pm. (For directions and details see

The first book in the series, Champ the Chopper, has proved very popular with pre-schoolers and early readers, says author Rebekah Palmer. “It’s great for getting kids into reading, especially young boys. They love those helicopters!”

“Weta Workshop is thrilled that this series is continuing,” says Richard Taylor. “These stories remind me of the excitement I used to feel as a young boy watching Thunderbirds. Rescue stories are great for providing kids with positive action.”

An animated television series based on the characters is currently in development.

The books are available from all good booksellers as well as through the Life Flight Trust, which operates the real rescue helicopter for the Wellington region.

For more information check out

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Writing for Children Workshop

News flash- This workshop is now full.

Here is an opportunity to attend a writing workshop in Wellington specifically for emerging writers in the Children’s Book genre, led by internationally published children’s book author, creative writing teacher and manuscript assessor, Fleur Beale.

When: Sunday October 5th 2008, 9.30am-4pm
Where: The Arts Centre, Abel Smith St, Wellington
Cost: $50 (includes morning and afternoon tea)

Limited spaces- for bookings and more information, (including assessment of writing sample) email: or write to us at P.O Box 1242 Wellington by September 20th

N.B a $20 deposit will be required and the workshop will be filled on a first come first served basis- bookings essential.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Literary Agent hits town!

New Zealand writers should be the stars of our literary industry.

And what better way than to promote our writing over the ditch? As part of New Zealand Book Month, Sophie Hamley of The Cameron Creswell Agency in Sydney is visiting our fair shores and NZBM and NZSA along with The New Zealand Book Council invite you to attend a light lunch to discuss the Australian publishing scene, and answer your questions. This is a great opportunity for Wellington writers to meet an Australian literary agent and discuss opportunities and developments internationally. Do you want closer ties to Australian agents and publishers? Are you aware that you can submit to agents in Australia and, indeed, anywhere overseas? She’s interested to hear how you feel about rights and what's happening in the industry from your perspective.

International Literary Exchange Luncheon
Saturday 30th August
Te Whaea – National Dance and Drama School – Studio One.
Hutchinson Road, Newtown, Wellington.
$3 contribution at the door
A light lunch will be served from 11.45am to start discussions at 12noon.

Sophie Hamley has worked in the print and online publishing industries since leaving school. She started by doing her time in the bookselling trenches while at university and then, after a year working in children’s books in Vancouver, BC, went to HarperCollins Publishers Australia, starting as an editorial assistant. From there she moved to Penguin, and then into the online world for several years, at the Seven Network, Massive Interactive and CCH. After deciding to move back to books, she worked as a senior editor at HarperCollins across a wide variety of titles, before becoming senior literary agent at The Cameron Creswell Agency in May 2006.

The Cameron Creswell Agency:
The film agency, Cameron's, was established 32 years ago; Rosemary Creswell merged her eponymous literary agency with Cameron's in the 1980s to form The Cameron Creswell Agency. The agency looks after writers of all descriptions — book authors, playwrights and screenwriters for film and TV — as well as other individuals in creative fields, mainly film, television and theatre. This year the literary division has seen the publication of six first novels, as well as children's and non-fiction titles. The client list is eclectic, covering both literary and 'commercial' writers, and many different genres. Our authors are published across the full spectrum of Australian publishing houses, both large commercial houses and independents.

Supported by

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NZ Book Month

Te Papa Book Launch sequence initiated!

The countdown is starting! Te Papa Tongarewa will launch New Zealand Book Month on Sunday August 31st from 10am and we want Wellington kids to show us their stuff!

There’s plenty of content for adults: contemporary Wellington musicians from conceptual group Fly My Pretties, witty conversation from David Eggleton, Jock Phillips, Duncan Sarkies and Joe Bennet, quirky live performances of Kiwi books in the Fruit Salad Sampler and Gregory O’Brien gives this year’s Janet Frame Memorial Lecture.

But this year the kids program is chocka! From making a giant snake, to craft and illustration with Good Morning’s Fifi Colston, The Void at Te Papa becomes a haven for young readers! What’s more we want ukulele’s there- as many as possible – so get your music class practicing and come along with your ukuleles! Expert Mike Dickinson will teach fab ukulele tunes for the Great Wellington Ukulele off! With special guest ukulelers!

Lynley Dodd will also be waiting to be impressed. It’s a fantasy dress up competition so come along as a character from her three fantasy titles: The Nickle Nackle Tree, The Other Ark and The Dungeon is Coming. Last years Hairy McClary competition was fantastic – but we know that Wellington can beat it so we’re hoping for some fantastical creations.
And there’s more!

Kate De Goldi and Jacqui Colley present their popular Lolly Leopold series with readings and badge making, while Capital E National Theatre for Children entertains with their dazzling puppetry and contemporary staging of Kiwi Moon. Finally, the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust will be on hand all day with great Kiwi reading guides for Kiwi kids.
It’s going to be a dazzling day, full of brilliant books, fantasy characters and the chance to meet your favourite writers. We’ll also have fliers for our great Lunch Pack competition – where you can win great prizes! Don’t miss out! Get your class to come along and we’ll see you there.

For full event information on the Te Papa launch event please see below:

KIDS – a feast of foody and groovy titles to munch on- Location - The Void
10.30 – 11am: Capital E National Theatre for Children – Kiwi Moon Puppet Performance
11.30-12 am: Joy Cowley’s award winning Snake and Lizard book comes to life!
12.30-1pm: Dress up competition with Lynley Dodd.
1.30-2pm: Fifi Colston (TVNZ): Craft and illustration for kids
2.30-3pm: Kate De Goldi and Jacqui Colley – with their award winning Lolly Leopold series books: Readings and Badge making for kids.
3.30-4pm: Mike Dickinson will teach kids great ukulele tunes for a great Wellington Ukulele off! With special guest ukulelers!

ADULTS – a menu of taste sensations - Location – Te Marae
10.20-11.00: Opening and Six pack awards
11.30-12.30: Feast my pretties – musicians from Fly my Pretties and The Black Seeds present great kiwi poetry to live music. ( David Eggleton MC)
1pm – 2pm: Books and BBQs – Jock Phillips talks with: David Eggleton , Duncan Sarkies, and Joe Bennett.
2.30-3.30: Fruit salad sampler – Books come to life with live performance of a quirky range of kiwi titles. (MC Dave Armstrong)
4pm-5pm: Janet Frame Memorial Lecture – Gregory O’Brien.

For more information on the national programme of events as part of NZBM, visit or for the Kids Lunch Pack competition

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Invitation from the City Council:

You are invited to discuss the future of Wellington city’s arts sector in a series of sessions facilitated by Wellington City Council’s City Arts team.

Mapping the Future of the Arts in Wellington: FAQs

What is “Mapping the Future of the Arts in Wellington”?
Mapping the Future of the Arts in Wellington is a series of arts sector hui aimed at building a shared vision of Wellington’s arts and identifying some key steps towards realising this vision. The sessions will be hosted by Wellington City Council’s City Arts team. There will be six sessions, each dedicated to specific art forms, with one general session in recognition of the growing culture of cross-art form practice and for people who can’t make other sessions.

Who is it for? Why should I come?
It is for all people working in the arts in Wellington - from emerging artists to established practitioners, from teachers to producers, from arts organisations to amateur groups.
We are going through a time of rapid change. The arts sector faces new opportunities and challenges.
We need all voices of the arts sector represented to work together and ensure the sector’s continuous contribution to the city. These sessions will clarify what the issues are and provide discussion on what we want the future of arts in Wellington to look like and how we can all work together to achieve this.

When are the sessions?
The dates are:
Performing arts [including theatre, dance, circus, comedy, amateur dramatics, etc]
Friday 29 August, 10am–4pm
Visual arts [including 2D and 3D art forms, etc]
Saturday 30 August, 10am–4pm
Music [including classical, contemporary, pop, folk, jazz, etc]
Tuesday 2 September, 4pm–10pm Note that this is an evening session
Māori arts [including kapa haka, visual arts, literary arts, contemporary and traditional art forms]
Wednesday 3 September, 10am–4pm
All art forms: Saturday 6 September, 10am–4pm
Literary arts [including writers, publishers, promoters, etc]
Wednesday 10 September, 10am–4pm.

Where are the sessions?
All sessions will take place at Capital E in Civic Square.

How much is it?
There is no cost for the sessions but it is important that you RSVP to so we can make sure there is lunch/supper for you. Please let us know if you have particular dietary needs.

What will happen at the sessions?
The sessions will be led by Lawrence Green, an experienced arts sector facilitator. Each session will include a combination of structured sessions - that have been informed by preliminary discussions with the sector – and open space to allow for fresh ideas to be explored. We aim to progress these ideas as far as possible before and during these sessions so that we avoid going over the ‘same old ground’.
There will also be presentations from Creative New Zealand about changes to their contestable funding programme and from The Big Idea on their soon-to-be-launched upgraded site, TBI 2.0.

I want to attend, so what do I need to do?
You need to RSVP to letting us know which session/s you’d like to attend. Please RSVP four days before the session you’d like to attend.

Can I come to more than one session?

Absolutely. We encourage you to attend as many as you feel are relevant to you. This is a great opportunity to get an insight into some of the issues present for art forms other than your own area of expertise or interest.

What will happen to the information that comes out of the sessions?
Three things:
The information from these sessions will be available to anyone. We will email this information out to all attendees automatically. If you are unable to attend but would like to be kept informed, then please email to receive this information.
Information, ideas and activity from the sessions will be taken away and put into action by organisations, artists and arts practitioners.
The information from these sessions will also be fed into the current review of Wellington City Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan [LTCCP]. This plan outlines the Council’s intentions for the coming 10 years and is reviewed every three years. Specifically this information will inform the current review of the Cultural Wellbeing Strategy which is one of the seven strategic areas of the Council’s planning process. When the LTCCP is drafted, the Council will consult with Wellington residents before it is finalised.

If I can’t attend, will there be other ways that I can feed into this process?
Yes. Once the notes from the sessions have been distributed you are welcome to respond to these. Or you can feed in at a later stage through the public consultation of the LTCCP.
Who do I contact for more information?
Please contact Briar Monro on

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'Bones' Book Launch

All Welcome to the launch
by Jack Lasenby of:
By Maureen Crisp
Published by Penguin NZ
at The Children’s Book Shop Kilbirnie,
(26 Kilbirnie Plaza)
On Friday 8th August at 6:00pm
R.S.V.P. by 7th August to:
or: The Children’s Book Shop.
Ph. 387 3905

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dinner with Virginia Lowe

‘Stories, Pictures and Reality:Two Children Tell’ studies children's perceptions of reality and imagination in the context of the written and pictured text. It uses a detailed case study of a boy and a girl from infancy to eight. Dr Virginia Lowe, from Australia, an English and Creative Writing Lecturer, author and manuscript assessor, speaks about her findings.
Dinner with Virginia Lowe
Monday 30th June, 7pm- The Parade Cafe; upstairs function room, Oriental Parade, Wellington. Numbers limited, $40 per head; includes main,dessert and tea/coffee
e-mail to book.

Something to get you started

Joy Cowley – Getting Started as a Children’s Book Author
Interested in writing for children? Award-winning children’s book writer Joy Cowley will talk about what’s involved, how to get started, where to send work off to, having an agent, the role of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, what some current gaps in the market are, and much more.

Upper Chamber, Arts Centre, 61-69 Abel Smith Street, Monday, 25 August, 7.30 pm

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Here's the the AGM details for the WCBA and also a dinner evening planned for the end of the month. If you click on the image, it will enlarge in another window. Print it off, put it on your fridge, make a diary date and we'll see you there. All welcome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Children's Writers & Illustrators Conference 2009

Expressions of interest are being sought, by us, for a proposed Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference to be held in Wellington 2009.

We are proposing to host a conference for New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators and the wider Children’s Literature community in 2009.

In the mid 90s three hui for children’s writers and illustrators were held, the first at Joy Cowley’s home in the Marlborough Sounds and then in Wellington. Up to 50 writers and illustrators attended each one. From the first, organized by Joy, the late Gaelyn Gordon and Tessa Duder, came the idea of the Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators, now in its 15th year. Storylines ran Writers’ Hui in Auckland in 2006 and 2008, and will be pleased to support the proposed 2009 conference in Wellington, along with others in the children’s literature community including Kate de Goldi and John McIntyre (The Children’s Book Shop).

What We Propose for September 2009
A two day residential conference, consisting of Keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops and an informal chance to meet others in the industry.

What would YOU like us to offer?
This is your chance to tell us what topics you would like to see covered!
Ideas so far... tax, contracts, master-classes, promotion....
What would you like to do or learn? Let US know!
Are you available to present a workshop, be on a panel, (drink wine)?
Would you like to sponsor something, have a stand or promotion, do business, at the conference? Tell us if you would like to meet other Authors, Illustrators, Editors, Publishers, Agents, Booksellers, in the Children’s Literature community.

Email us at:
With YOUR ideas, and proposed attendance, at the conference, by the end of July 2008.

Or write to us at:
Wellington Children’s Book Association
P.O.BOX 1242, Wellington

This would help us to plan, and apply for funding, to give you the conference YOU deserve.
We look forward to hearing from you,

The committee of the WCBA.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Child's Play: Performing the School Journal

Sarah Delahunty's First Gear Productions performs a set of stories adapted from the book "A Nest of Singing Birds: 100 Years of the School Journal", written by Greg O'Brien. More than a dozen stories have been shaped into a performance by leading children’s playwright and director Sarah Delahunty and a cast of talented teenagers. The stories to be performed include: “The Summit” by Sir Edmund Hillary, “The Lion in the Meadow” by Margaret Mahy and “Wobbling” by Witi Ihimaera.

Together, the performances are called “Child’s Play: Performing the School Journal”. The show will be introduced by Gregory O’Brien and Learning Media are kindly donating sets of ten postcards, featuring School Journal covers from the past 100 years, as a gift for each audience member.

Entry is koha but bookings are advised. To book, please email with the words “Child’s Play” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, contact details and the number of tickets you want.

When: Wednesday 4 June, 7 – 8pm (Café L’Affare coffee available from 6.30pm)
Where: National Library Auditorium, Aitken Street, Thorndon

Many thanks to Pelorus Trust, the National Library of New Zealand and Learning Media for supporting this event.

Friday, April 25, 2008

ANZAC Day Bookcrossing

To commemorate ANZAC day, the WBCA have distributed 5 specially marked copies of the children's book Papa's Island by Nelson author Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Wellington based artist, Fifi Colston.

Somes/Matiu Island in Wellington Harbour was used as a prisoner of war camp for 'Alien Enemies' during the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Papa's Island tells the story of a girl whose Italian father was taken away- and she struggles with understanding 'why?'

We left one on the Dom Post ferry that travels between Wellington and Eastbourne; and stops at Somes/Matiu Island, one in Lower Hutt, one at Island Bay Park in the War Memorial that is dedicated to U.S Submariners, one at the War Memorial in Buckle St and the last at Johnsonville Mall by the Coke machine. We hoped to cover 4 points of the compass this way.

You can check out their progress and perhaps release books into the wild yourself by going to . Its a fun thing to do and everyone benefits from the giving away of a book that might otherwise just linger on your bookshelf. Share it with the world at large!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Panel Speakers

Next Tuesday's event is promising to be a very interesting evening and you can expect some forthright views, so come armed with questions!
Our panel is comprised of:

A Bookseller: John McIntyre- The Childrens Bookshop Kilbirnie, and childrens book reviewer on Nine to Noon

An Editor (well two in fact): Katie Haworth from Mallinson Rendel Publishing who are of course the home of Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd and many award winning childrens books by David Hill, Fleur Beale and other wonderful New Zealand authors.
Plus Margaret Cahill from Learning Media, the educational book publishers so many New Zealand writers and illustrators have been launched from.

A Creative Writing Teacher: Fleur Beale, a Finalist in the NZ Post Childrens Book Awards this year (and many previously). Highly respected for her literary work, Fleur teaches and mentors aspiring writers.

Chair: Fifi Colston, writer, illustrator, Convenor of the WCBA and a judge in this years NZ Post Book Awards.