Friday, May 28, 2010

Penguin & Storylines nationwide short story awards for children

In March this year Penguin Group (NZ) and Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust launched the inaugural Puffin Short Story Awards.
Schoolchildren across the country are invited to show off their writing skills in this unique competition, open now as part of Puffin’s 70th birthday celebrations.

The competition, which aims to nurture young writing talent, culminates in an awards ceremony at the Storylines Auckland Family Day on 22 August 2010. Entries are accepted in three categories: Junior (School Years 4–6), Intermediate (School Years 7–8) and Senior (School Years 9–11).

The major prizes up for grabs are an Apple iPod Touch in the two younger categories, and a Dell laptop computer in the Senior category. Classic Hits radio show That’s The Story will record the winning stories for broadcast on their Sunday morning programme, and present each winner with $150 cash. In addition, all three children will take away 70 Puffin books for their school library.

“We wanted to do something special to mark Puffin’s 70th birthday,” says Penguin’s General Manager of Publicity and Promotions, Sandra Lees. “What better way than to get behind our young writers of the future?”

Storylines Executive Officer Christine Young says the Trust is delighted to partner with Penguin in this new initiative. “Our mission is to promote the importance of reading and literature for all children, and this project will help us further that goal.”

The theme for the competition is “My Puffin”, and is open to broad interpretation. “Stories could be inspired by a favourite Puffin book or favourite Puffin character, or could be about the Puffin bird,” suggested Lees. “Contestants could even imagine that they are writing a story to be published by Puffin.”

In each category, a team of judges recruited by Storylines will short-list up to ten finalists, and the overall winner will be selected by a high-profile children’s author. Penguin has secured Dawn McMillan to judge the Junior category, Joy Cowley in the Intermediate category, and Tania Roxborogh in the Senior category.

“This award is a great investment in the future of New Zealand writing,” declares Cowley, (pic left),who is one of New Zealand’s most successful writers of children’s books, and a patron of Storylines. McMillan is the author of the Puffin favourite Why do Dogs Sniff Bottoms?, while Roxborogh’s young adult novel Banquo’s Son was shortlisted for a NZ Post Children’s Book Award.

“We are confident that the competition will receive widespread support from schools, libraries and others who care about the future of children’s literature,” says Lees. “We look forward to receiving entries from all around the country.”

The competition closes at 5pm on 11 June. Entry forms and full details are available from or

For further information please contact:
Leanne McGregor | Penguin Group (NZ) | Tel: (09) 442 7498 |

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