Joy Cowley

Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand’s best-loved writers for children and a Marlborough Living Treasure.

Among her many awards, Joy was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children’s literature in 2005 and she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in fiction in 2010.

The Storylines Joy Cowley Award recognises the exceptional contribution Joy has made to both children’s literature and literacy in New Zealand and internationally. Joy lives in Featherston, Wairarapa. 

Read more about Joy on her website, Questions kids ask Joy and an article by The New Zealand Herald.

Photo credit: Mark Tantrum


Festival sessions held

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. 


The Long Apprenticeship 

Joy Cowley in conversation with Jane Forrest Waghorn

Joy spoke to a full house audience at our 2015 festival, where she was characteristically charming, entertaining and inspiring. In this special 1.5 hour-long session Joy talks with former children’s librarian Jane Forrest Waghorn about her long apprenticeship to being a “writer”, sharing lessons learned when things went wrong and reflecting on where it all went so right.