GWN May 2023 Newsletter

by | Jun 29, 2023

A busy month for publishing

Congratulations Lisa Hamilton – Gibbs
This book is written and illustrated and designed and published by the same person, giving it a unity of style and purpose that makes it a standout. And tLisa has produced cards, stickers, lesson plans, curriculum links as well. Go to to see the full extent of this resource.

Congratulations David Minty
Another writer/illustrator/ designer who’s good at getting his delightful books out there, to the world, is David Minty who is launching his Coney book soon. Check out where you’ll find many other of David’s books for younger children.

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Congratulations Beverley Teague


Wellingtonian Jim Kennett, was an avid collector of rocks and fossils from a young age, who went on to follow his dreams and become an internationally eminent earth scientist in the field of paleoceanography. Beverley Teague went to school with him. On a rare return back to NZ Beverley asked him if she could write a biography of him. Congratulations, Beverley.

page2image28094448Congratulations Rosalind Harrison  Rosalind has written this very useful book for children about keeping themselves safe. It’s full of wise advice delivered by modern kids for their peers. It shows children how to navigate body safety conversations with ease.  It’s practical, down to earth, and not at all scary. It too has a website www.mybodymy

Congratulations, Jonathan! I knew Jonathan had always taken photos at rock gigs so it was a delight for me to help him with the script for his first book after he had sorted out a compilation of some of his favourite photos.

At Penguin Random House June is the month when they accept unsolicited manuscripts. June is VERY soon.


For the Poets
Holly Fullbrook, Tiny Ruins, says that writing about her experiences is hardwired into her, Be that journaling, poetry or songs, it’s how she’s navigated or made sense of life for as long as she can remember.

Poem of the Month
The Shakespeare 400 Collection – look it up – contains recordings of sonnets read by ten major poets. Each poet chose a favourite sonnet by Shakespeare and inspired by that sonnet, wrote a new sonnet of their own.
These sonnets are included in the Bloomsbury anthology, ‘On Shakespeare’s Sonnets – A Poets’ Celebration.’ The book contains 30 Shakespeare sonnets and new sonnets by thirty poets.

Don’t worry about writer’s block.
It now has an official name, colygraphia, a newly made-up name from Greek words, just to make it seem important. It isn’t important. It’s an excuse. Write when you feel inspired. Develop a routine, a time and place. Persistence always pays off in the end.

“There are no writer’s blocks,” said Jack Lasenby.
He advised that if inspiration didn’t come then just write about what’s around you.
W. H Auden’s definition of poetry is interesting: ‘the clear expression of mixed feelings.’
Trust the words that you use to show your emotions. Trust yourself as a poet.
Trust your internal journey.

Writers Are Always Readers Too

Here are a few more inspiring memoirs to read and be inspired by Straight Up by Ruby Tui
On Never Giving Up by Bernadine Evaristo
Emma Espiner’s memoir, There’s a Cure for This. is very readable. The publisher is Penguin.

It seemed to me that memoir writers were the most popular speakers at the huge Auckland Writer’s Festival that has just ended.

J R Moehringer, the ghostwriter of Spare, the biggest selling memoir ever, says:
“Half the art of memoir is leaving stuff out.
Memoir isn’t about you. It’s not even the story of your life. It’s a story carved from your life, a particular series of events chosen because they have the greatest resonance for the widest range of people.”


Stretch your Vocabulary

A response to the Vocabulary section from last month:
“A “bommy knocker” was also a giant marble when we played marbles at school in the 80’s. A sort after commodity as you can imagine!”

Don’t mix up Procede and Precede

Precede This word has a number of senses that relate closely to the ‘coming before’ portion of its etymology, including “to surpass in rank, dignity, or importance,” “to be, go, or come ahead or in front of,” and “to be earlier than.”
Proceed The meanings of proceed include “to come forth from a source,” “to continue after a pause or interruption,” “to begin and carry on an action, process, or movement.”

The meanings of precede are often related to time, while those of proceed tend to be concerned with movement. E.G. ‘As we proceeded from the house to the pool we were preceded by the children, who were eager to begin swimming’).

The above is a boiled down version of the Merriam Webster dictionary definitions and I find it too confusing. It’s easier, always, to learn with examples.
“The king proceeded down the aisle of the abbey.”
“His mother preceded him as monarch.”

A strange coincidence surrounds my choice of proceed/precede for this newsletter.
After I typed it in I continued to read a new YA fiction book, the one that won the 2022 Tessa Duder Award, Leonie Agnew’s The Impossible Story of Hannah Kemp.
There on Page 124 it reads, “…my reputation proceeds me.”
Even esteemed trade publishers like Walker Books can get it wrong.


Another client’s response to, Why I Write.

“I have always enjoyed writing, but just for me mainly. It has been my therapy since I was young. Journaling, poetry and creating stories were how I learnt to express myself. I always felt growing up I could write the things I could not say. My story writing allows me to be creative its my happy place and the part of me I feel is my truest self, no masks.

Monthly One Liner Tip
Trust the stories and beliefs that are inside you.

For the Writers for Children

Storylines and Kete Books have launched a new monthly bestseller list to help showcase and promote the excellent junior and young adult fiction books written and published in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Created with data collected by Nielsen BookScan, the new list focuses on New Zealand junior fiction, young adult fiction and children’s graphic novels. The first edition of the list features the ten best-selling titles in these categories for April 2023.
Kete Books will continue to release its weekly Nielsen BookScan bestseller list which features the top ten-selling New Zealand children’s titles for the week prior. This list is often dominated by Aotearoa’s well-known and world-class picture books. The new monthly list is an initiative aimed at highlighting the range and depth of the excellent books written and published for older children in New Zealand. See the list on the Storylines website.

Why is Judy Blume still so popular?
It’s a good question to ask because Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, has sold ninety million copies. It’s about a girl navigating puberty, friendship, religion, and a new town in suburban New Jersey.
“One of the great truisms and paradoxes of the Judy Blume phenomenon is that, for millions of fans, her books performed the role of parents—helping guide kids through coming-of-age milestones like periods, erections, and masturbation—while giving parents and kids the freedom to avoid discussing those things. Her books are wise but not preachy, light on their feet, easy to digest. Reading one a little too early isn’t going to mess anyone up. It’s more likely to give you clues to the human mystery—which will, in turn, help you decode your future.”

Something to think about:
Do you think YA books “perform the role of parent.”