Author Symposium



Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop is a highly acclaimed and  award winning children’s picture book writer and illustrator who lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand. As author and illustrator of nearly 60 books his work ranges from original stories to retellings of Maori myths, European fairy stories, and nursery rhymes. He won the Margaret Mahy Medal in 2000, as well as numerous fellowships and national book awards. His book Weaving Earth and Sky won the non-fiction section and the Book of the Year Award of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards 2003, and was shortlisted for the LIANZA Elsie Locke Medal in 2003. He has won the LIANZA Russell Clark Medal for Illustration four times: Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant (1981); Kiwi Moon (2006); Rats! (2008); and There was a Crooked Man (2010). Among his successful partnerships has been that with writer Joy Cowley, with whom he won the Best in Junior Fiction and Book of the Year at the 2008 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for Snake and Lizard.

His most recent publication is Aotearoa the New Zealand story.

Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi’s short fiction, novels and picture books engage children, teenagers and adults alike. She is the author of the The 10 PM Question, which has been published extensively overseas, and a two-time winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award. Her most recent novel, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle won The Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award in 2016. Kate has a regular spot reviewing children’s books on Saturday Mornings with Kim Hill on National Radio and teaches creative writing in schools throughout New Zealand. She has recently published, with co-editor Susan Paris, Annual 2, the second miscellany of New Zealand writing for 9-12 year olds.

David Hill

David Hill is a prolific and highly regarded New Zealand writer, playwright, poet, columnist and critic. Best known for his highly popular and award-winning body of work for young people, ranging from picture books to teenage fiction, his novels have been published all around the world and translated into several languages, and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast here and overseas.

David has published more than 40 titles over the past three decades. His recent middle-grade novels include My Brother’s War (2012), which in 2013 won the Junior Fiction Award and the Children’s Choice Junior Fiction Award in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the LIANZA Librarian’s Choice Award and was listed as a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book, a White Raven and an IBBY Honour book. This was followed by novels Brave Company (2014) – also a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book; The Deadly Sky (2015); Enemy Camp (2016), which won the 2016 HELL Children’s Choice Award for Junior Fiction; Flight Path (2017), a Storylines Notable Book; and Finding (May 2018).

David is also the author of a number of critically acclaimed picture books with illustrator Phoebe Morris. First to the Top (2015) is their bestselling story of the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, which won the 2016 Children’s Choice Award for non-fiction and was a 2016 Storylines Notable Picture Book. Speed King (2016), about the world-record-breaking achievements of Burt Munro, and Sky High (2017), recounting the life of the daring aviator Jean Batten, were both presented with Storylines Notable Picture Book awards.

Des Hunt

Des Hunt is an award-winning young adult fiction writer.  He was a school teacher for more than 40 years and has published two textbooks.

His novels are set in places that children could visit and recognise. They have a strong environmental care message and emphasise the unique features of New Zealand fauna and geography.

His first novel, A friend in paradise, combined action adventure with ecological themes, and was a finalist in 2003 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Since then many of his titles have been listed as Storyline Notable Junior Fiction books and/or have been listed as finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards (now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults) and the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards.

In 2017 Des received the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal in recognition of his contribution to the world of literature for children and young adults.

David Riley

David Riley grew up in Mangere and attended Viscount Primary, Arahanga Intemediate and Mangere College .

He is a teacher at Tangaroa College in Otara, South Auckland, NZ. He taught English for 12 years, and for three of those years, he led the department. He has also been a Head of Dance and Drama and Specialist Classroom Teacher.

One of the best things I like about teaching is finding ways to encourage young people who don’t have a strong English literacy background. I was lucky to have been brought up with books and reading, but I know that many young people have not had that kind of upbringing for different reasons.

I want students to know that reading can be interesting, fun and inspiring. I also want them to believe that they can become good readers and writers. Sometimes, especially with boys, it’s just a matter of finding something “cool” to read to get them started.

From that foundation young people can then go on to write their own stories, whether it be in the form of novels, plays, lyrics, poetry etc. Young people have amazing stories to tell. They just need encouragement to know they have important things to share and the confidence to believe they can share their stories too. It’s great that they see me publishing my writing because then they can see it’s achievable for them too.

Sally Sutton

Sally Sutton loves writing for different age groups, and experimenting with different styles: from the noisy, rambunctious rhymes in picture books such as Roadworks and Demolition, all the way to the humour and drama of her junior novels. She also enjoys writing plays.

Roadworks won the picture book section of the 2009 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and Construction became a finalist in the 2015 awards of the same name.

2017 saw the launch of her junior fiction series Miniwings.