VU Polytechnic teacher, Bren MacDibble, has won two awards at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in the junior (How to Bee) and young adult (In The Dark Spaces) fiction categories.
Both books are also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards, along with Take Three Girls by VU teacher Catherine Crowley. A collaboration between Crowley and award-winning authors Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood, Take Three Girls covers friendship, feminism, identity and belonging.
In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black (aka Bren MacDibble), described by Readings as a “genre-smashing hostage drama”, is shortlisted in the Book of the Year in the Older Readers category. The book received the 2015 Ampersand Prize, given to debut YA and middle-grade fiction writers.
How to Bee is set in the near future and centres around ten-year-old Peony and her family, who work on a farm in the Goulburn Valley. When times get hard, Peony’s mother decides living in the city might be the better option. How to Bee is an environmental story about the importance of family, and the value of community in the face of corporate greed.
In a recent piece in the New Zealand Herald, Bren said although her books are set in dystopian future societies, she wants her books to fire the imaginations of young readers and offer them an opportunity to think about the big issues facing humanity, and to have hope that those challenges can be dealt with.
The CBC winners will be announced at noon on Friday, 17 August.
Interested in professional writing and learning with our award-winning teachers? VU Polytechnic offers these courses: