Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop is an award-winning children’s picture book writer and illustrator. His nearly 70 published books range from original stories to retellings of Māori myths, European fairytales, and nursery rhymes, all illustrated with his distinctive ink and water colour paintings.

He has won many awards, including the New Zealand Children’s Book of the Year three times.  He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013. Gavin graduated from the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts with an honours degree in painting. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater last year.

He taught art at Linwood High School and at Christ's College in Christchurch, before becoming a full time writer/illustrator. Gavin has also been commissioned to write and design ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company; Terrible Tom (1985) and Te Maia and the Sea Devil (1987). His books Hinepau and Kiwi Moon were adapted for the stage by Capital E in 2005 and 2008. Bidibidi was made into two TV series in 1990 and 1991. Gavin lives and works in Christchurch. 


Festival sessions held

Life Stories

Gavin Bishop in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn

Gavin deftly weaves his own life experiences and adventures into many of his stories. His loyal teddy bear and his childhood in Kingston, beside Lake Wakatipu, are central to the books Teddy One-Eye and Piano Rock. His stories are also revealed in many of his other charmingly written and illustrated works - Katarina, Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant, Hinepau, and The House That Jack Built to name a few. Gavin reflects on his life stories and the books inspired by them. 


Tell Me a Story

Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop session for school-aged children

This dynamic story-telling duo will discuss the pleasure of telling stories through the written word and illustrations, and share effective ways to do just that. There will be some readings too, and a chance to ask questions at the end. Children are encouraged to think ahead about what questions they would like to ask Joy and Gavin.