Saturday, November 20, 2010

Captivating your audience - the report from Club Night 3

Another great evening at the Library Bar began with Holly extolling the value of Toastmasters, and how it can help you become a better presenter. (More details here if you are interested:

We then talked about what makes a good school visit – or a bad one!

How do you introduce yourself? What happens if the kids misbehave, and the teacher takes no notice?
What is the ideal number and length of sessions? How do you run a workshop? These were just some of the questions covered as we discussed the best way to captivate everyone from New Entrants to bored 14 year olds. We even got tips on how to handle the staffroom situation!

Lastly, we heard from Elizabeth Craker from CORE who talked to us about Booktalks: how it is
developing, and what plans are ahead. (

This was an entertaining and incredibly useful evening for anyone who does school visits, or talks in public about their work. Thanks especially to Fifi, Maureen, Fleur and Ruth for sharing their expertise and a few helpful hints on useful activities. And none of us will ever forget Fifi’s story of the welcoming powhiri that went wrong!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jack Lasenby Award Winner

The WCBA has great pleasure in announcing the winner of the Jack Lasenby Award for 2010:

Train Ride by Raewyn Murray, Karori

The judges have also awarded two Highly Commended Certificates:
Chickenpox and Aubergine by Sarah Bainbridge, Paekakariki
Darth Vader and the Wimp by Robyn Cooper, Days Bay

Entries were judged anonymously, and discussion between the two judges over their own particular favourites was robust. Judge William Taylor reports:

Naturally, in a competition of this nature, the individual authors of the twenty-six entries demonstrated a wide range of ability. The rules governing entries, notably the necessity for a Wellington setting, meant that quite a few needed to adopt a degree of artifice;  e.g. take out 'Lyall Bay' and insert 'Herne Bay' or 'Sumner' and the entry could well be set in Christchurch or Auckland!  However, this is in no way true of the winning entry - 'Train Ride'.  

'Train Ride', a rollicking short tale, moves at excellent pace with crisp characterisation, good dialogue - and all set in an undeniably greater-Wellington setting. The suburban train ride of the story brought back very many memories to this reader who, in years well gone, made the same trip on countless occasions.  I am relatively certain that the patron of your association, and in whose name the award is given, would enjoy this story! 

We selected two additional stories for commendation;  'Darth Vader and the Wimp', and 'Chickenpox and Aubergine'.  Both stories are good sound efforts that could possibly be slightly improved with a dose of judicious editing and tweaking here and there.  Both have a domestic base and explore relationships within families;  two cousins in the first story, sister/brother in the second.  The elements of conflict in both are neatly explored and exploited.   

Raewyn Murray will be presented with her trophy and cheque at the WCBA Quiz Night on December 9. You can read an extract from her winning story here.

About the judges:

William Taylor, author and ex school principal, has received many accolades for his work, including the Montana New Zealand Esther Glen Award. In 2004 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children's literature and the community. 

Johanna Knox is a Wellington writer, editor and book reviewer, and a long-standing member of the WCBA committee.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Next Club Night - 'Captivating an Audience'

Our next WCBA Club Night, on Tues November 16, is for authors, illustrators and anyone else who presents to school groups - or may be interested in doing so. Hear anecdotes and learn tips from seasoned practitioners!

Here are the details:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If you're giving children's books this Christmas ...

Here's an event on Thursday 18 November, at The Children's Bookshop in Kilbirnie, that you won't want to miss.

Local authors will be chatting about their books and available for signings. And - in the spirit of giving - WCBA members can bring non-member friends along, and they will also receive the 10% WCBA discount.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shouting from the rooftops - member successes

Congratulations to four WCBA members on their recent launches and awards.


Juliet McIver has launched her first book at the Children's Bookshop - Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam. The event was a treat. She even cooked up 100 pots of yummy home-made marmalade to give away there.
See photos from the event here.
Hear John McIntyre reviewing Marmaduke Duck on National Radio here.

Victoria Jones is publishing her own children's books and finding an enthusiastic market for them. She launched her second book last month. Visit her website here.


Pippa Werry is shortlisted in the 2010 Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing. Read her piece and those of other finalists here.

Holly Gooch is one of 42 runners up from 227 entries in the the 2010 Eat Your Words Cafe Poetry Competition. More about the competition here.

If you're a WCBA member, and have recently had a launch or a literary success of some other kind - drop us a line at