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Philippa Werry

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Last updated by Anne Kenneally 

Philippa Werry

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Philippa Werry writes both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults and has a special interest in historical and war-related writing.


Philippa Werry lives in Wellington and writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays for children and young adults, as well as articles, reviews and non-fiction for adults.  She is the author of five published children’s novels, several of which have been named as Storylines notable books, and has also written extensively for educational publishers. Her work has been widely published, broadcast on National Radio and anthologised. Philippa has been shortlisted three times for the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Creative Science Writing Prize and was the winner of the Jack Lasenby Award in 2006. In 2010, she was awarded the NZSA Mid-Careers Writers Award.


Philippa's latest published work includes a picture book about Gallipoli calledBest mates, illustrated by Bob Kerr (New Holland, 2014.) At the end of 2013, she won a place with Gallipoli Volunteers (http://www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/get-involved/volunteer/world-conservation/gallipoli) to visit and volunteer at Gallipoli for Anzac Day 2014 and kept a travel blog called Going to Gallipoli (http://goingtogallipoli.blogspot.co.nz/). She has a special interest in World War One and has taken part in panel discussions and other speaking events on topics to do with war and writing about war for children.


Philippa is an online tutor for the NZ Writers' College, judges writing competitions, visits schools and runs creative writing workshops. She is on the committee for the Wellington Children's Book Association (WCBA) and helped to organise Spinning Gold, the children’s writers and illustrators conference held in 2009. She is also a member of the Wellington branch committee for the New Zealand Society of Authors (since 2007), NZSA National Delegate (since 2014) and a Wellington Writers Walk committee member (since 2013). She has three children and lives with her husband in a house on a hill with a harbour view and lots of wind. Her other interests include reading, baking, swimming, cryptic crosswords, movies and travelling.


Visit her website (http://www.philippawerry.co.nz/) and author blog (http://philippawerry.blogspot.co.nz/)

Philippa also has an author Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PhilippaWerry.writer) and writes a blog on Children's war books (http://childrenswarbooks.blogspot.co.nz/)



Tips for teaching creative writing:

1. The job of a beginning writer is to read. That's how you train, just like soccer players and musicians and dancers have to train. Read as much as you can. There is nothing that is more important. You need to get words into your blood.

2. And don't just read the same thing all the time, but branch out and challenge yourself, eg if you usually read fiction, try non fiction; if you like contemporary realistic  stories, try spy stories or fantasy or historical fiction.

3. Own your own dictionary (they aren't expensive, or you can get them at second-hand book shops or book fairs) and make sure you look up words you don't know. If you can't bear to tear yourself away from the story, make a mental note of the page you're on and look the word up afterwards.

4. Own your own library card and use it. Find out about your local library; when it's open, how many books you can take out. Look out for posters on the shelves or tips on library websites that suggest other books you would enjoy.

5. Practise listening to people. Eavesdropping on buses or in shopping malls, or just listening with attention when people are speaking, can help you to pick up the rhythms of everyday speech.  


The lost watch, illustrated by Alice Bell (Scholastic, 2003; shortlisted for Bilby Awards in Queensland 2004)

Wonderful wheels day, illustrated by Alice Bell (Scholastic, 2004)

Top secret (Gilt Edge, 2006)

The great chocolate bake off (Scholastic, 2007; Storylines notable book for 2008)

Enemy at the gate (Scholastic, 2008; shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2009)

A girl called Harry (Scholastic, 2010; Storylines notable book for 2011)

Anzac Day: the New Zealand story (New Holland, 2013; shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2014 and the Lianza Book Awards 2014;Storylines notable book for 2014)

Lighthouse family (Scholastic, 2013; part of the My New Zealand story series; Storylines notable book for 2014)

Best mates, illustrated by Bob Kerr (New Holland, 2014)

Harbour bridge (Scholastic, 2014; part of the My New Zealand story series)

Waitangi Day: the New Zealand story (New Holland, due out January 2015)


Philippa also has stories, poems, plays and articles in:

·         The Puffin New Zealand storybook (Penguin Books, 1991)

·         Funny stories for six year olds (Macmillan, 1999)

·         Another 100 New Zealand poems for children (Random House, 2001)

·         Poetry pudding (Reed, 2007)

·         Showtime! (Random House, 2008)

·         Out of the zone (Gilt Edge, 2008)

·         Pick 'n' Mix: Volume One (Scholastic, 2010)

·         Pick 'n' Mix: Volume Two (Scholastic, 2011)

·         Great Mates (Random House, 2011)

Stage adventures: eight classroom plays (Playmarket, 2014; contains “Boss of the Beach” runner up in the Playmarket Plays for the Young Competition 2010))

·         and numerous issues of Comet, Explore and Challenge (Australia),  Junior Journal, School Journal, Connected, Orbit, First stories, New heights, Choices, Applications, Rainbow Reading, Speak Out Readers' Theater,  and other educational publications. Ready to Read titles includeSunbears are special(2002), Duckling Palace (2005), Scarecrows from space (2010), Red rattlers (2010) and Dawn parade (2014).



Philippa Werry

Website / Author blog / Children's war books  blog / Facebook