Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tessa Duder wins Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement

Our warmest congratulations to author Tessa Duder, who has won this year's Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement ­– Fiction.

Tessa Duder

Tessa Duder CNZM OBE writes for children and young adults and is also an author of short stories, plays and non-fiction. Her well-known Alex novels (adapted for film and television) are critically acclaimed and have been published internationally and republished again recently.

Oratia is proud to have published two of Tessa's works: the biography The Story of Sir Peter Blake in 2012, and the short-story collection Out on the Water in 2014.

Among Tessa's numerous distinctions are an OBE and the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal. She won the 2003 Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship, was awarded an Artists to Antarctica Fellowship in 2007 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato in 2008.

In 2010, the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for young adult writers was established to recognise her outstanding contribution to children’s literature, both in her publishing output and her work to promote children’s books and publishing.

She was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to literature in 2020.

She is a past president of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc), a former Trustee and deputy chair of the Spirit of Adventure Trust and a Trustee of the Storylines Children's Literature Trust of New Zealand.

Click here to read more about the Prime Minister's Awards.

Peter Dowling

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Kiwi critters star in new picture book from Dawn McMillan, Stephanie Thatcher and Ngaere Roberts

There’s a Weta on my Sweater

He Wētā kei runga i tōku Paraka

Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Stephanie Thatcher

Māori text by Ngaere Roberts


Second book in bilingual nature story series brings fun and games when weta and friends come to school

After the success of her first title in a new nature-driven series, There’s a Tui in our Teapot , bestselling author Dawn McMillan turns her attention to critters in There’s a Weta on my Sweater — to be published in November.

Illustrator Stephanie Thatcher has had a load of fun bringing the gang of Kiwi critters and kids to life, and esteemed translator Ngaere Roberts has rendered it all into lively te Reo.


In the story, weta and friend (including beetle, frog, centipede, stick insect and huhu) come to school with the kids for Show and Tell. 

In the classroom weta marches along while his friends show what they can do — singing, dancing and scaring the teacher! 


But they don’t want to stay in the classroom! Where will they go? Will Koro be able to help his mokopuna keep the critters safe?


There’s not only vivid illustration, hilarious text and a fine Māori translation — but also a fun spread at the end that shares facts about weta, spider, frog and friends and links to find out more

Oratia Books will donate a percentage of sales from the book to the Entomological Society of New Zealand to help conserve and study native insects.


The authors

Dawn McMillan is an internationally recognised writer of children’s books who lives north of Thames. Among her many popular works are I Need a New Bum! and There’s a Tui in our TeapotStephanie Thatcher is an author, picture book illustrator and graphic designer who lives in Huia, West Auckland. Ngaere Roberts is a teacher and well-regarded speaker of Te Reo Māori who lives in Helensville.

Dawn McMillan in her writing studio 

Stephanie Thatcher
Ngaere Roberts

Publication: 4 November 2020  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-76-6 |  RRP $25.99

Hardback, 270 x 210 mm, 32 pages colour

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Bestselling New Zealand Duo Secures Simultaneous Worldwide Release for Latest Laugh-Out-Loud Picture Book


New Zealand author-illustrator duo Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird will see the latest in their bestselling series of hilarious ‘bum’ children’s picture books release simultaneously in North America, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand at the start of 2021.


New York-based Dover Publications and London-based Scholastic UK jumped at the opportunity to purchase rights for My Bum is SO NOISY!  from originating publisher Oratia Books, after previous titles I Need a New Bum and I’ve Broken by Bum achieved bestseller status internationally.


Packed with laugh-out-loud rhymes and zany illustrations, their latest creation follows our hero on comical adventures caused by his bum and the astounding and uncontrollable noises it makes, building to a crescendo of hilarity. 


The first print run for My Bum is SO NOISY! will be over 120,000 copies globally.


“Now more than ever, we could all do with a laugh – and Dawn and Ross’ books bring laughter in abundance,” says Fiz Osborne, Editorial Director, Illustrated Books for Scholastic UK. “We can’t wait to share My Bum is SO NOISY! with readers next year.”


Dawn McMillan conjures up the storylines of the Bum books from her coastal home outside Thames, and Ross Kinnaird brings them to life from his waterside studio on Auckland’s North Shore. 

Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird

"It's been wonderful to see the series reach so many readers worldwide, and we hope that My Bum is SO NOISY!will bring more fun and laughter to kids and adults alike," they say. 


Oratia publisher Peter Dowling reports that CITIC Press also plans to publish the new book in China in early 2021.


“We’re thrilled to be part of Dawn and Ross’ international success, which proves the appeal of Kiwi creativity worldwide,” he says.

Publication: early 2021  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-81-0 | RRP $19.99

Paperback, 230 x 215 mm portrait, 32 pages, colour



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Motoring memories and photos live again in Life with Cars

Life with Cars: New Zealanders’ motoring memories 1950s–1980s

Stephen Barnett

Ordinary Kiwis share stories and pics of their cherished cars in an age of easy motor travel


In these pandemic days, when Kiwis are rediscovering road trips and domestic travel, the golden age of motoring depicted in Life with Cars serves as a timely reminder of the joys of life on four wheels.

This colourful collection harks back to an age when a vehicle was part of the family — pairing cherished personal photos from the 1950s to the 1980s with the words of the contributors, as told to author and auto enthusiast Stephen Barnett.


Life with Cars tells of holidays at the beach, breakdowns in the middle of nowhere, evading the law, Sunday drives and of course posing on, beside or in the beloved four-wheeled family members.

Underpinning the stories are relationships — between owners and their cars, but also between parents and children, partners in life, and young people and their peers — all during a time when cars had character, roads were quiet and petrol was cheap. 

Here we are pictured happily alongside our pride-and-joys — British Vanguards, Austins and English Fords; American Chevrolets, Fords and Pontiacs; Australian Holdens, Falcons and Valiants; European Peugeots, Fiats and Citroens; and, from the mid-1960s, the first Japanese models on the scene. 

Complete with an appendix profiling all the carsthis is a book that will resonate as Kiwis get in the car and drive this summer. 


The author

Stephen Barnett works as a writer and editor. He has written books on social history, popular culture, natural history and children’s fiction published internationally. Steve has a long love affair with cars, travelling many kilometres in his own old car, a 1964 Rover. He lives in Auckland.

Publication: 4 November 2020  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-74-2  | RRP $49.99

Paperback with flaps, 240 x 250 mm landscape, 168 pages, colour


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