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Inspiring kids to read with Joy

Featherston resident and acclaimed writer Joy Cowley is presenting a Writing for Children Workshop next month. PHOTO/WESTON COWLEY

[email protected]

If you’ve ever dabbled with the idea of writing a children’s book, then a weekend workshop with one of this county’s most prolific writers could swing that dream into action.

Celebrated author and Featherston resident Joy Cowley will present Writing for Children Workshop, from February 22 to 24.

All proceeds from the weekend seminar will be donated to Featherston Booktown, which will run over the weekend of May 9 to 12.

Cowley, who is patron for the annual festival, has written more than 1000 reading books to assist in teaching reading skills to schoolchildren.

This was recognised last year when she received the highest honour in the country and became a member of The Order of New Zealand.

She said her flair for words came later in life and came after another creative passion of hers.

“Until the time I was married I painted every chance I got – my teachers thought my future would be art.”

Her parents apprenticed her to the chemist where she was training to be a pharmacist, and she painted when time allowed.

“Art requires space and money for materials, and I had neither once I was married and having babies.

“So visual creativity was expressed in short stories that eventually found their way into the NZ Listener and the NZ School Journals. That’s how it started.”

Last year, Cowley told the Times-Age it was important children saw themselves in the books they read to encourage a life-long love for literature.

Featherston Booktown chairman Peter Biggs said Cowley’s greatest passion was helping children learn to love to read and it was a delight to have her involved with the festival.

“The exclusive workshop with Joy is all about adding to the number of Kiwis who want to create stories that entrance and engage children and young people so that through books and writing they are able – in Joy’s words, ‘to live new lives in new landscapes’.”

Young adult author and poet Jillian Sullivan will assist Cowley during the workshop, which will be held at the Magnificat Retreat Centre, Cross Creek in Featherston.

Accommodation and meals will be provided, with costs being $500 for a shared room, $550 for a single room, and $400 for a day delegate.

For more information and to register contact [email protected]

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