Phyllis Johnston is a children's writer with a particular interest in New Zealand history. She has been involved in literary organisations for many years, serving as president of the Bay of Plenty branch of the Childrens Literature Association for over two decades. Her stories have appeared in numerous editions of the School Journal and she has taught children’s writing at Waikato University. Her book Dead Dan's Dee was nominated in the Junior Fiction section for the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johnston, Phyllis (1935 –) is a childrens writer with a particular interest in New Zealand history. She has been part of the Book Council's Writers in Schools programme for over 18 years, visiting more than 200 schools to share her love of reading and writing.
Her stories have appeared in numerous editions of the School Journal. Her book titles include My Things and the Hidden Light (1984); A Comet in the Sky (1985); and Then There Were Nine ((1989).
Johnston has been involved in literary organisations for many years, serving as President of the Bay of Plenty branch of the Childrens Literature Association from 1983 - 1996. She has taught children's writing at Waikato University, and been a judge for competitions of writing by children.
A short story for adults has appeared in The Turning Face (1984), and Johnston won the Manawatu Evening Standard Short Story Competition in 1982.
In 1998, Johnston received the Betty Gilderdale Award for oustanding services to New Zealand children's literature.
In 1999, she was the Writer In Residence of the South Auckland Children's Literature Association, and was awarded a project grant from Creative New Zealand.
The Fugitive Solder: A fifteen year old runs away to war (Polygraphia, 2004) is the story of James, a fifteen-year-old brought up on his parents' farm. He left school at fourteen and is working full-time on the farm in 1917. He joins the army almost by accident. The story relates his experiences in the training camps and finally in the trenches in Belgium.
Dead Dan's Dee (Longacre Press, 2007), is the story of Dee, a soldier's daughter, who discovers a secret about her dead father. It was nominated in the junior fiction category for the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2008 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book.
Johnston's latest book, Brother Sister Soldier Cousin, was published by Longacre in 2009.
WRITERS IN SCHOOLS INFORMATION
Phyllis is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme. She can speak to students 10 years and older, and is prepared to discuss being a writer/illustrator and a teen fiction writer. Her preferred class size is 20 -30 students, and she is happy to travel outside of her region.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Phyllis Johnston is available for school visits as part of the Book Councils Writers in Schools programme.
- Interviews with NZ Childrens Authors.
Updated January 2017.