Bishop wins children's book awards for 5th time

By Will Trafford

Children’s author and illustrator Gavin Bishop has added another top gong to his catalogue of accolades accrued through more than 40 years of publishing.

Bishop (Ngati Pukeko, Ngati Awa, Ngati Mahuta, Tainui) received the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award for the fifth time at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults last night.

Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes, Bishop’s most recent title, was praised for its magical story-telling and integration of mātauranga and te ao Māori.

Atua is an instant classic, a must have for every Kiwi household and library, that is packaged in stunning production values,”  judge Pauline Vaeluaga Smith said.

"The book is much more than a list of gods and legendary heroes - it's a family tree, presented with power and simplicity," she said.

Bishop’s now been awarded the supreme prize more times than any other children's author or illustrator, including the award's namesake Margaret Mahy, who won it twice.

As one of the most celebrated children’s authors in Aotearoa, Bishop has published more than 70 books, which have been translated into more than 12 languages.

In 2013 Bishop was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to children's literature and in 2019 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement.

In addition to taking home Book of the Year, Atua also won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction and the Russell Clark Award for Illustration.

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