Books and reading change lives. Writers shape our culture. We spread the word.
Our mission is to champion the lifelong engagement of New Zealanders in reading, and to lead the promotion and nurturing of NZ writers, writing and books.
We are dedicated to inspiring a love of reading because we know the difference this makes to young lives. OECD research shows reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.
Click here for a list of our programmes.
BOOKS SHAPE THE WORLD
Books have always shaped the people who shape our world.
Armed with this insight, Colenso BBDO and the New Zealand Book Council joined forces to create a print and poster campaign that reminds people of the power of the written word with the goal of changing how digital natives view great pieces of literature in an online world.
Each of the three executions features the familiar library card and bares the signature of important and culturally significant individuals who’ve been influenced by that particular book.
“Our mission is to champion readers, writers, and books in New Zealand – and this campaign is going to help. We’re incredibly excited about this idea and as this is only the beginning of what we see its full potential to be,” said Catriona Ferguson, CEO of the New Zealand Book Council.
“Everyone that worked on this campaign is passionate about reading, and are thrilled to think some of that might rub off on people who aren’t” said Nick Worthington, Creative Chairman of Colenso BBDO.
In June 2015, Cannes Lions, the world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry, recognised and awarded this year’s most exciting creative ideas across 16 categories, covering everything from traditional print and film communications to technology and product design.
Colenso BBDO in partnership with The New Zealand Book Council scooped three silver lions in the Outdoor category for their Book Shape the World campaign.
You can download the posters here.
Book Council News
Imagine spending four hours picking the brains of some of New Zealand’s best poets, authors, illustrators, journalists and playwrights to inspire and develop your own writing skills.
This is what the New Zealand Book Council offers students all over the country through their hugely successful Speed Date an Author programme. For the last five years it has been one of their most successful education programmes, touring six regions every year. Each event features five writers, and up to 20 schools and 90 students.
On Thursday 17th September, Christchurch City Libraries will be hosting their third Speed Date event at the South Library and Learning Centre. Speed Date an Author has a strong community focus, and is an opportunity for local authors to shine as they share ideas and form links with the next generation of readers and writers.
Christchurch is blessed with some of New Zealand’s finest writers and illustrators. This year the event will showcase poet and playwright Bernadette Hall, graphic artist Spencer Hall, screenwriter Kathleen Gallagher, and poet Jeffrey Paparoa-Holman.
Christchurch students will also have the opportunity to engage with special guest author Ella West, whose novel Night Vision won the Young Adult Fiction Children's Choice Award at the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
“It will be great to meet these students and see what they come up with on the day,” Ella said. “I hope they will be prepared to be challenged about how they think about writing. We’re going to bombard them with new concepts, new ways of doing things and hopefully they will leave full of ideas.”
Between 9.00am and 1.00pm the authors will deliver fast-paced sessions, 25 minutes long, to five rotating groups of students, followed by a prize-giving. The sessions are intended to develop the skills of the young writers, and to encourage them to find their unique voice.
Watch our Speed Date an Author clip here.
The New Zealand Book Council and Poetry Box recently staged The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition. New Zealand Primary and Intermediate Schools were invited to submit twelve poems across a range of ages with no restrictions on style or content. Three winning schools (in the North Island, the South Island and in Auckland) will receive a two-day visit from poet Paula Green.
With the help of CEO, Catriona Ferguson, Paula judged the entries and was delighted with the scope and quality of writing. ‘Every selection had a standout poem or two, a poem that crept in your pockets and was so good you knew it was going to stay with you. We loved poems that surprised us, that used language that made us laugh or gasp or just say ‘wow!’
There were a lot of ANZAC poems, weather poems and family poems. The best of these used great detail, sounded good, and mattered to us. We loved the way poems can do and be anything. You can tell when a child has really enjoyed doing a piece of writing and feels proud of it. It shows.’
The Winner: St Cuthbert’s School
Highly Recommended: Good Shepherd School and Hauraki School
Ormond School, Gisborne
Highly Recommended: West End School and Carnot School in Palmerston North
The Winner: Port Chalmers School, Dunedin
Highly Recommended: Arrowtown Primary School and Russley School, Christchurch
A poem from each of the winning schools:
My Seed Pod Poem
Steep hills create a canoe
Wide dips form a slide
Brown curves build a roller coaster
The dark mahogany ladder
leads to the head of a hissing snake
Sara, Age 11, Year 6, St Cuthbert’s School
am a leafy, lovely tree
am a beautiful tree
staying on the grass
am brownish, yellowish
reddish and greenish
am a smooth tree
can feel the puffy clouds
lying on me
want to see
the marshmallowy clouds.
Ashlynne, Year 2, Age 6 Ormond School
The leaf swishes and sways down to the
ground trying to be the first one.
It’s warm to the touch and red like fire.
The veins fade as the sun burns.
The spiny edges protect it from predators.
It lies dead as other leaves fall.
It rustles in the wind.
The bent stalk is like an umbrella handle.
Autumn has changed the weather to a dark
and cool place.
One sweep and a huge pile is gone.
One more sweep and all signs of life
Only the old and rugged branches of the tree
Louie Y4, Age 8 Port Chalmers School
The New Zealand Book Council is dedicated to encouraging a vibrant reading culture in New Zealand. We are therefore alarmed by the Film and Literature Board of Review’s decision to issue an interim restriction order for access to Into the River by Ted Dawe.
The ban means that a highly regarded, award-winning young adult novel cannot be sold or distributed by anyone, and will not be available to readers until October when the Board will consider placing a permanent age restriction rating for the book.
The New Zealand Book Council does not support the move to introduce a permanent age restriction for Into the River. This would mean that the novel could not be openly displayed on shelves in bookstores and libraries, and will drastically limit readers’ awareness of the novel and their ability to discover it.
The decision to impose an age restriction on a novel will set a dangerous precedent, which could lead to more books being restricted in New Zealand.
Peter Biggs, Chair of the Board of the New Zealand Book Council said that “The New Zealand Book Council is committed to opening up choices for readers and believes that access to books and reading is fundamental. Into the River is a challenging and ambitious novel that explores the reality of what many young people are struggling with in New Zealand today.
Furthermore, placing a permanent age restriction on Into the River will restrict the ability of family and whanau to make a decision on what is appropriate reading for their children; it will limit access for mature, advanced young readers.
Research demonstrates that reading fiction provides opportunities for people to understand real-life struggles that they may not otherwise be exposed to. For those experiencing any of the difficulties that are portrayed in this novel, a ban prevents an opportunity for others to understand, acknowledge or relate to their situation”.
For media enquiries, please contact New Zealand Book Chief Executive:
Phone: +64 4 801 5546
Mobile: +64 210 248 2637
Are restricted ratings on books in our children’s best interests?
Family First did not apply for an interim ban on Ted Dawe’s Into the River, but its national director, Bob McCoskrie, sees it as an opportunity to review how our censorship laws can be better used to protect our children from inappropriate and offensive material. Stricter censorship, he believes, is in our children’s best interests.
Is he right? Are our children better off being unable to access books that might offend or disturb them?
Talking Books Podcast: Interview with Michael Robotham
Our Chief Executive Catriona Ferguson recently interviewed internationally bestselling crime author Michael Robotham during his tour of New Zealand.
They discussed why he chose to write crime novels (it was accidental!), how he comes up with his stories (they’re always seeded from real events), and why he thinks crime fiction is so phenomenally successful (flawed, but not hopeless, characters combined with a compelling story).
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