would have to count as one of the top ten. Her most recent
books have concerned a character called Tiggy Tompson...
She is an established writer and a very good one. Kate
de Goldi, who writes young adults’ books,
is certainly one of the top ten writers ...Janice
Marriott would be another top writer in New Zealand.
She wrote a YA book called Crossroads which, to my shame,
I have not read yet, but our city children's librarian says
it is an underrated masterpiece, and other books of hers
that I have read are highly entertaining and well written.
William (Bill) Taylor has been writing
for years, and I would definitively include him among the
top ten. Joy Cowley has been an outstanding
New Zealand writer over the years, contributing to two very
successful educational reading series but also writing many
trade books. Two of her very simple stories, Greedy Cat
and Mrs Wishy-Washy, have been so popular that they have
broken out of the Educational Publishing area and become
trade books. She has written lively novels for middle school
children and books like The Silent One which have worked
well with older readers. Ken Catran was
the winner of the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the
Year for 2001. He began as a writer for TV, and in the beginning
his books were jazzy but superficial. However he has developed
enormously. He beat me in the New Zealand Post Book of the
Year Award, and I beat him when it came to the Esther Glen
Medal. We sent derisive messages to one another. Jack
Lasenby is a writer for children and young adults
I have admired for years, and over the last two or three
years he has had the notice he deserves. His stories of
a character called Uncle Trev are in the New Zealand tall-story
tradition, but his recent novels beginning with Because
we were the Travellers are science fiction and set in a
post-apocalyptic NZ. Two other writers I would class among
the top in New Zealand are David Hill and
Diana Noonan. I suppose I would include
myself in the top ten NZ authors. I won an award (the Esther
Glen medal) in 2001 for 24 Hours, and I was short listed
for the New Zealand Post Book Awards with the same title.
So far the writers I have mentioned are largely novelists...
well, Joy has done the texts of picture books and so have
I. However there are two author illustrators who deserve
Pamela Allen has done many very successful
children's picture books, illustrating her own texts...
very simple texts but very effective and popular. Gavin
Bishop has illustrated folktale texts, but has
also written his own stories. And last year he did a version
of The House That Jack Built giving it in its very intricate
pictures the theme of local colonisation. It is a picture
book but a picture book that is really intended for older
readers - say eleven or twelve. One has not only to look
at the main picture, but to think about the words that frame
the picture - words in the Maori language, disintegrating
as colonisation intrudes.