Navigation for Janet Frame Memorial Lectures

2011 Lecture: Joy Cowley on New Zealand’s literature for children

In the 1950s, New Zealand children’s literature struggled to emerge from a poverty stricken background of imported books. Sixty years later, New Zealand books for young people, dominate the publishing industry and are in demand overseas. How did this happen? The 2011 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture explores from the personal perspective of one of the country’s finest writers for children how home-produced children’s literature has stepped into the global spotlight.

Joy Cowley is a prolific, widely-published and much-celebrated writer for children who has enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success both at home and overseas. Joy is a Distinguished Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children’s literature. She has also received an honorary doctorate from Massey University, an OBE, a Commonwealth Medal and the 2010 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction.

As part of her lecture, Joy Cowley will address whether children’s books and writers are now considered the equals of “grown up” writing and books.

The lecture, organised by The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) as part of New Zealand Book Month, was recorded at Te Papa Tongarewa on 3 March 2011.