Joy Cowley

Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand's best-loved writers. Her awards include the Margaret Mahy Medal; the NZ Post Children's Book Award 2006; the Roberta Long Medal, Alabama, USA; and the AW Reed Award for Contribution to New Zealand Literature. She is a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Joy Cowley is the winner of the 2008 New Zealand Children's and Young Adults Book of the Year Award for Snake and Lizard, published by Gecko Press.

Joy Cowley was interviewed by Catriona Ferguson for the Sunday Star-Times of 1st June 2008:

'Junior Fiction category and overall winner, to nobody's great surprise (except perhaps her own), was the fairy godmother of New Zealand children's writing, Joy Cowley.  A few days before the ceremony Cowley, who was unable to  make it on the night due to a work commitment in Singapore, told the Sunday Star-Times she was surprised to be even short-listed.  "Normally judges look for NZ content and this hasn't got any."

'Her winning entry (this is the fourth time she has won the Junior Fiction award - "it seems a bit greedy") is a subtle series of fables that explores the complex layers of friendship between two quirky and unpredictable characters.  Snake and Lizard is loosely based upon the relationship between herself and her husband, Terry, and is reminiscent of a not-so-precious Pooh Bear or a more contemporary and surprising Aesop's Fables.

Cowley chose animals to illustrate her point as she felt they created greater possibilities with "light and 'shade" and also offer "a lot more latitude with humour".

She is a keen observer.  "Friendships are very important to children and can be very difficult" and Snake and Lizard is an attempt to help children navigate their way through some of the sticky moments.

She acknowledges that in some ways this is an unusual book and felt "puzzled about where the stories fitted.  Were they one book or a series of short stories?"  but she was delighted with the way it turned out.  "The publisher did a beautiful job of putting the book together.  The whole concept of design is different."

Joy Cowley says the day she is no longer working with children will be the day she stops writing for them.'

New Zealand 
Read the whole interview

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