Meet the team
Before joining the Book Council in May 2017, Jo was the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women (2012-2016) and, before that, Deputy Children’s Commissioner. Being Chief Executive of the Book Council brilliantly combines her two enthusiasms – leading a well-respected organisation into a new era of promoting social, cultural and economic well-being through reading, and supporting our renowned New Zealand writers.
Kathryn’s first job out of school was as a bookseller, and despite a slight change in career path where she thought she was going to be an accountant, has been working with bookish organisations ever since. Most recently, Kathryn has completed a decade with the New Zealand Festival looking after their biennial Writers Week programme. When she’s not working she enjoys… reading.
Marketing Communications Manager
Steph has worked in various sales, marketing and communications roles at publishing houses in Aotearoa and the UK. She has a passion for digital strategy, and is addicted to social media (and the internet in general). When she’s not reading, she likes meeting up with people for tea and cake. Steph is a book critic once a month on Radio New Zealand: Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan. Follow Steph on Twitter.
Joy’s background is in research, technical translation and market analysis, as well as writing, editing, management consultancy, and even a bit of library work! When she’s not at Book Council she works on translation projects (Russian and other Slavic languages to English) and trying to learn new languages (at the moment it’s Romanian). Like the rest of the team, she’s also obsessed with books and reading!
Chair / Elected 2010
Peter Biggs, CNZM
Peter Biggs is Chief Executive at Assignment Group, the Chair of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, and is The Prince of Wales’ Charities Representative in Aotearoa.
Before taking up his appointment in September 2015, he was Chief Executive of Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne from 2006-2014, and before that was Managing Director of Clemenger BBDO in Wellington. During his time at Clemenger BBDO Wellington, the agency was New Zealand Agency of the Year in 2002 and 2004, and he was chosen as Agency Chief Executive of the Year in 2003.
Peter was Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand (Creative New Zealand) from 1999 to 2006. He was also a member of the Prime Minister’s Growth and Innovation Advisory Board from 2002 to 2006, and was on a number of other Boards, including Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, The Asia: NZ Foundation, the New Zealand Institute, and Ngai Tahu Communications.
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Selina Tusitala Marsh is a poet of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English and French descent. Her poetry is published in over 67 anthologies, academic texts, print and online literary journals, and translated into Ukraine, Spanish and Italian.
She was the first person of Pacific descent to graduate with a PhD in English from the University of Auckland, where she now lectures in both creative writing and Māori and Pacific literary studies.
The NZ Listener has described her as the ‘vanguard of contemporary Pacific Literature’ and ‘one of the most important poetic voices of her generation’. Selina was the 2016 Commonwealth Poet. Selina’s first award-winning poetry collection, Fast Talking PI (Auckland UP, 2009) won the NZSA Jesse Mackay First Best Book Award. Her second poetry collection, Dark Sparring (Auckland UP, 2013) received critical acclaim. Selina delivered the 2016 New Zealand Book Council Lecture Tala Tusi: The Teller is the Tale. You can find out more about Selina in her writers file.
Gavin Bishop ONZM
Gavin Bishop (Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Mahuta, Pākehā) is a children’s writer of international as well as local reputation. As a picture book author and artist he has published over 50 books that have been translated into eight languages and won numerous awards. He has also written the libretti for two children’s ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Gavin is a founding member of the Te Tai Tamariki Trust for the Preservation of New Zealand Children’s Literature, established in Christchurch in 2006. In 2009 the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration was established by Random House.
Brian is the Executive Director of Shoreline Partners Ltd which provides Corporate Finance, Strategic Planning and Governance services. He worked in Central and Western Europe and Asia before returning to Aotearoa in 1999.
Brian studied Arts (English Literature) and Business at Victoria University, Wellington. He serves on a number of company boards whose focus includes film technology, iwi, education and fundraising. He is a recently retired cricketer and a keen supporter of Aotearoa theatre. He enjoys reading and exploring cultures new to him.
Mark Fairey is Corporate Services Manager of Workbridge Inc. He has a diverse background, working in senior management and finance roles with companies in the energy, technology, primary and investment areas.
He has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington, is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and completed the Advance Management Programme at Melbourne Business School.
Paora Tibble is the reo Māori writer at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Passionate about reading, Paora has a special interest in young adult fiction.
For ten years, Paora was an editor of Māori language resources at Learning Media Ltd. He has edited reo Māori journals such as He Kohikohinga, Te Tautoko and Te Wharekura. Paora was the inaugural Kapiti Island writer in residence 2008. His book, Ko Anu me Ōna Hoa is popular amongst kura kaupapa Māori children. Paora’s iwi are Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa me Ngāti Raukawa.
Julia Marshall is the founder and publisher of Gecko Press, international publishers of curiously good children’s books since 2004.
Previously she worked in Sweden for 12 years at Appelberg Publishing Agency, a leading Swedish publisher of multi-language company magazines and web communication.
She also translates children’s books from Swedish to English. Julia represents the Publishers Association New Zealand (PANZ).
Linda Clark is a public law specialist and litigator with Kensington Swan. She provides wide ranging legal and crisis management advice to some of Aotearoa's biggest corporates.
Law is Linda’s second career. She was previously one of Aotearoa’s most respected journalists, with an award-winning 20 year career that spanned print, radio and television. She has held some of the most prestigious jobs in the media, including being TVNZ’s Political Editor and Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon host. She has been a regular election night commentator for the past three elections.
Fran Ricketts holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Education, and is a registered nurse. She is a previous Chair of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, and has also served on the NZ Opera board. She is currently a trustee of Auckland Museum Foundation and is a Patron of the Auckland Arts Festival, NZ Opera, Auckland Writers Festival, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland Theatre Company, Silo Theatre, and Tautai: Guiding Pacific Arts.
Bookselling claimed Juliet in her early 20s when she took a part time role at Bennetts Government Bookshop in Bowen House. In mid-1999 she took up a role at the then VUBC as Textbook Buyer, and in 2001 she became General Manager. Now Vic Books, the company has responded to changes in the textbook market by incorporating cafes into both of their sites, and more recently a bar at their Pipitea site, driving community engagement and growing their business outside of traditional channels. Juliet is also a Booksellers NZ Director.