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WIS Programme

Feature Author

Lydia Wevers is a literary critic and historian, as well as an editor and reviewer. Her area of scholarship...

About the New Zealand Book Council

Books and reading change lives. Writers shape our culture. We spread the word.

Established in 1972, the New Zealand Book Council is the country’s leading national charity dedicated to supporting our reading and writing culture. Our mission is to champion the lifelong engagement of New Zealanders in reading, and to lead the promotion and nurturing of New Zealand writers, writing and books.

“Not only does the Book Council talk the talk, it walks the talk. I'm constantly amazed at the range of work it does for our books and writers. What would the industry do without it? One great activity it organises is for writers to go into schools. A real author in the classroom? You can't get better than that.’’
– Witi Ihimaera

Reading is one of the most accessible and affordable arts activities and its benefits are well documented – OECD research shows that reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.

We believe books can transform lives and enrich our communities.

Our programmes

The New Zealand Book Council nurtures and supports New Zealand writers and readers through an active programme of public events, advocacy and resources. Through Writers in Schools we are the only New Zealand organisation that connects writers with young readers in schools from the inner city to remote rural classrooms. We work in partnership with our funders, supporters and the literary sector to present lively and engaging programmes for all ages throughout the country.

More details on our programmes.

Our role as a Toi Tōtara Haemata organisation

The New Zealand Book Council currently holds a key role for literature in New Zealand as a Toi Tōtara Haemata organisation, under Creative New Zealand’s funding programme. All our work supports this role, which is to deliver quality programmes and champion literary endeavours around the country. As a Tōtara organisation we:

  • collaborate with publishers and support their writers through events, online content and publicity
  • partner with literary festivals around the country
  • provide opportunities for writers to travel to literary events overseas
  • keep writers and readers up to date with the latest industry news, features and issues
  • run online and live campaigns to encourage reading and storytelling
  • promote the joy of reading and writing to children through our many Writers in Schools programmes.

We start early with young readers

The New Zealand Book Council is the only New Zealand organisation that connects writers with young readers in schools, from the inner city to remote rural classrooms.

  • We are dedicated to inspiring a love of reading because we know the difference this makes to young lives.
  • Our highly regarded Writers in Schools events involve more than 25,000 children each year at 250 events nationwide.
  • We reach out to children in rural and low-decile areas, creating unique opportunities for them to meet New Zealand authors and illustrators.
  • Speed Date an Author events provide intensive creative writing workshops for young people.
  • Books and Brekkie enables children, their family and whānau to meet a writer over breakfast.
  • Our School Library newsletter shares insights about children and books with more than 800 schools nationwide.

We champion New Zealand writing

Our stories shape our culture and identity as New Zealanders. The New Zealand Book Council is a national advocate for New Zealand literature, nurturing and promoting local authors.

  • Our True Stories Told Live storytelling events bring writers, artists, musicians and politicians to New Zealand audiences around the country.
  • Our travelling author programme, Words on Wheels, enables readers in all corners of the country to meet New Zealand writers.
  • Our popular Booknotes Unbound online magazine provides a national platform for new writing, author interviews and commentary.
  • Our website www.bookcouncil.org.nz is a valuable hub for New Zealand readers and writers, profiling unique online biographies of more than 500 New Zealand writers.
  • We work with Creative New Zealand to help New Zealand writers reach audiences at key literary festivals around the world through our International Travel Fund.

We know our programmes change lives

''Writers in Schools is a very valuable resource and we are extremely fortunate to have quality authors available to speak to, and interact with our students.''
– Chilton St James School, Wellington

“I really enjoyed the sessions and since then I have a notebook in my room. I will write really interesting stories now. I also liked how you said a writer’s brain is like a blender.’’
– Year 6 student, Waimate Centennial School

“Creativity, compassion, hope and joy: these are the messages I hope to share through my writing, and also through my work in schools.’’
– Author Mandy Hager

“Reading is best not as an escape from life, but as an enrichment of it. Gustave Flaubert said ‘Read in order to live’. This is what the New Zealand Book Council promotes.’’
– Owen Marshall

Our governance

The Book Council is led by Chief Executive Catriona Ferguson and a governing board, chaired by Peter Biggs, which sets the policy and strategic direction of the organisation. We are funded by an annual Creative New Zealand grant, donations, charitable grants and the subscriptions of a 1700-strong membership made up of individuals, schools, tertiary institutions, libraries and businesses. 

The New Zealand Book Council is a Registered Charity: CC10844


Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand