What is it about the ocean that calls to us? In weaving their stories in and around the sea Aaron Topp and Keryn Powell explore mythology, humankind’s symbiotic relationship with the water, the threats to our existence as the oceans rise and the increasingly urgent need to respond. Skilled seafarer and writer of epic voyages Cristina Sanders will captain the ship.
Aaron Topp is an award winning Hawkes Bay author. His first book, Single Fin (Penguin Random House, 2006), is a coming of age tale about a boy obsessed with surfing, based on a true story. The work won the Young Adult Fiction Honour Award at the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was also listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book.
Creating Waves: How Surfing Inspires our most Creative New Zealanders (HarperCollins, 2009) is an exploration of the relationship of the role surfing and the sea plays in the creative lives of a selection of leading musicians, painters, sculptors, poets and fellow writers.
2015 saw the publication of Topp's Young Adult novel Hucking Cody: A Tale of Betrayal, Jealousy, Brotherly Love and Freeriding (Mary Egan Publishing). The novel tells the story of Cody, a young mountain biker whose unlucky run with girls, his family, and his job starts him on a journey of self-discovery. Hucking Cody received a Storylines Notable Book Award in 2016 and was a finalist for the Young Adult Fiction Award in the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
In the YA novel Nor'east Swell (One Tree House 2022) Topp heads back to the beach with a story about teenager, Witi. His father is listed as having abandoned his family and that’s just how Witi sees it. But when he is on his surfboard, feeling the surge of the sea, he somehow feels close to him. A top 10 bestseller in NZ - Children's and Teens (reported 19 February 2022).
Keryn Powell lives in Napier, New Zealand with her family. Her interests include reading, playing and listening to music, gardening and any activity that avoids housework. When not writing, she works as a GP. Her first novel, ‘Before the Rising’ was published in 2022. She is currently working on a sequel. There are other books brewing…
Cristina Sanders is an historical fiction writer from Wellington, now living in Hawke's Bay. She has a book review blog and writes about history, travel and running. She began her career in the book trade in the Gateway Children's Bookshop and some years with Collins Publishers in NZ, Hodder & Stoughton in London and back to Booksellers New Zealand, followed by a business career. In 2018 she completed the Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing at Whitireia.
Her debut novel, Jerningham, about Jerningham Wakefield and the recklessness of colonial New Zealand, was published by The Cuba Press in June 2020 and shortlisted for the NZ Heritage Literary Awards.
In 2020 she won the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for an unpublished YA manuscript, with a novel about immigrant families in the 1870s. This became Displaced, published by Walker Books in April 2021.
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