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Master illustrator awarded the Russell Clark Award

EMBARGOED News Release for use after
19:00pm, Monday 18th August, 2008

Master illustrator awarded the Russell Clark Award today.

Christchurch based author and illustrator Gavin Bishop has received The Russell Clark Award for his intriguing hardcover picture book Rats (Random House), awarded at the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards ceremony at the National Library, Wellington today. The Russell Clark Award was established in 1975 and celebrates a distinguished contribution to illustrated children’s books. Gavin Bishop has been a regular recipient of LIANZA nominations and awards and was the winner of the New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2008 for Snake and Lizard along with Joy Cowley. The judges described Rats as “a brilliant story, from a master illustrator that will be around for a long time.”

Wellington writer and teacher Mandy Hager was awarded New Zealand’s longest running book prize, The Esther Glen Award. The Award was established in 1944 and is given to the author who is considered to have made the most distinguished contribution to literature for children. The prize was presented to Hager for her young adult fiction book, Smashed (Random House) and is defined by judges as “a stand-out story about seeking the truth, with characters that are believable, strong and still in our minds long after we close the covers.”

Graphic Designer Heather Arnold claimed the Elsie Locke Award for her first book Draw New Zealand Birds. A step by step guide. (Raupo). The judges described Arnold’s book as “a timeless professionally written book…” The Elsie Locke Award was established in 1986 and celebrates a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.

The Te Kura Pounamu was presented to Kai Ora! 2 – Tikanga a Iwi series (Hana Ltd) by Kararaina Uatuku, Hana Pomare, Charisma Rangipunga, Hana O’Regan and Che Wilson. The Te Kura Pounamu celebrates a work in te reo Māori that promotes excellence in library resources in Māori and makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children and young people. The judges said this fantastically photographed series was “unique with nothing else available on the topics in Maori or English.”

Judging Panel Convenor Bob Docherty congratulated New Zealand authors, “there is real quality writing and such a variety of genre and style”.

The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards ceremony is sponsored by Wheelers Books. The awards celebrate the unique contribution made to cultural heritage and national identity by New Zealand authors and illustrators. Each award consists of a medal or taonga and $1,000 prize money.


The Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa: Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa (LIANZA) is the professional organisation for the New Zealand library and information services sector.
LIANZA serves and promotes the interests of New Zealand library and information industry and professionals by providing continuing professional development, awards and recognition, publications and resources, advocacy and collegial support. LIANZA plays a key coordination role in the industry and through its regional and special interest group infrastructure provides organisational structure for members seeking mutual support. LIANZA is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). For further information about LIANZA visit

Notes to Editors
1. To be eligible for the 2008 prize, books must have first been published in New Zealand between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2007. The authors or illustrators must be New Zealand citizens or residents
2. A list of previous award winners can be found at:

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