Kelly, Lindy

Kelly, Lindy



In Brief

Lindy Kelly writes literature for adults and children. Her first collection of short stories for adults, Weka's Treasure, was published in 1995. Her writing for younger readers has appeared in a wide range of New Zealand and Australasian journals and educational publications, winning awards including the Australasian Free Xpression Literary 2000 short story award. Her plays for children have been performed extensively throughout New Zealand. Lindy Kelly is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools Programme.


Kelly, Lindy (1952 –) writes for adults and children. Her first collection of short stories for adults, Weka's Treasure (1995), was published under the pen name Hermina Luks.

'Weka's Treasure is an apt title for a rewarding volume of 21 short stories that are consistently good, and often exquisite,' writes Peter Payne.

'The writer hears when the story should end and never prolongs it. She is not afraid to mine the emotions and is at home with characters of both genders.'

More than 60 of Kelly's short stories have been published in New Zealand and Australia, winning awards including the Australasian Free Xpression Literary 2000 short story award and the Southern Scribe children's short story award.

Her plays for children have been performed extensively at schools around New Zealand, and a play for adults was runner up in the Artery National One Act Play Competition.

Her short stories and poetry have appeared in the School Journal, magazines and anthologies.

Lindy Kelly's titles for children are Ronald's Rollicking Good Circus (1996); Susie and Pinky (1997); Hana's Birthday Surprise (1997); Gala at Enner Glyn (1997); Birthday Badness (1999); Pets Day (1999) and Kaleidoscope for Kids (2002).

Other books by Lindy Kelly include Taking Teddy Tramping (2001); Visiting the Birthday Tree (2001); Picnic in the Bush (2002); Music of the Bush (2002); and Fern of Maru Bay (2002). Additional books, co-authored with Ian McDonald and Taitamariki Mihaere, include: Te Hikoi a Teri (2001); Torona te Rakau Whanau (2002); He Kai Pikiniki i Roto te Ngahere (Kauri Press, 2002) and Nga Puoro Ngahere (Kauri Press, 2002).

The play Riotous Death was runner up in the Playwright's Assn of New Zealand 2002 National One Act Play Awards.

Other titles include Carlos Tries Out (Learning Media 2002); A Cool Vacation (Learning Media, 2002); Two Good Brothers (Learning Media, 2002); Lovey Huggins Knows Best and other stories (Kauri Press, 2003) and Night-Time in the Bush (Kauri Press, 2003).

The New Zealand Bush series (six books) won an Environmental Award in 2003.

Lindy Kelly has also written The Faithful Fergie (Kauri Press, 2004) and Te Rakau Huritau (Kauri Press, 2004), translated by Brian Morris.

Lost in the Bush, a junior survival guide, is Lindy Kelly's most recent release, published in 2010 by HarperCollins.


Lindy Kelly is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme. She is prepared to discuss anything to do with writing with the students and is happy to speak to classes of any size. She is also prepared to run workshops by prior arrangement. Please continue down the page to see Lindy's answers to a list of questions provided by school students:

KAPAI: Kids' Authors Pictures and Information

Where do you live?
I live on a farm, up a steep winding road, in the hills above Nelson. I am surrounded by gardens full of pretty flowers and native bush and I live with my family and animal friends. If I stand on the hillside above the house I can see right out over Tasman Bay.

What sorts of books do you like to read?
All sorts. I read factual books to learn things from, interesting, relaxing stories at night, thrillers when I travel on aeroplanes and magazines in waiting rooms. Also, I still enjoy children’s books, which I read to my granddaughter.

Who is your favourite author?
I have two favourites; Roald Dahl because I love his mischievous, black humour. The other is Dick Francis because his novels are always set in a racing scene. I too love horses and have been involved with riding and racing them so I really enjoy his books and can’t wait for his new one to come out each year.

How do you think up your ideas?
Easily. It's finding time to write them all down that is hard. I get ideas from everything that I hear, see or experience. An example is the other day when we had a digger working here. I started asking the driver questions and he was so interesting that immediately I thought of a children’s story about a digger. I went home and wrote it.

What is the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is being able to do a job that I love. It gives me real satisfaction and pleasure to see people enjoying my stories and plays. I think it is terribly important to have a job that you enjoy.

Some questions from Primary School students

Do you have any pets?
At present, I have dogs, cats, goats, guinea pigs, canaries and doves.

Do you have a favourite colour?
Every shade of blue.

Do you have a favourite food?
Spanish crème – I make it on my birthday every year.

Do you have a favourite movie?
Fried Green Tomatoes.

Do you have a favourite game?
I like lots! Perhaps treasure hunts or Scrabble.

What is the most fun thing about being an author?
Doing something I love and being my own boss – it’s great. Some of the greatest fun I’ve ever had has been watching children perform my plays. At one play, Ronald’s Rollicking Good Circus, people were laughing so hard they were falling off their seats. I laughed my head off. Ha ha ha ha clunk!

How do you make books?
Easy. You write a story, type it, print out the pages and staple them together. YOU have a go!

Where do you like to go for your holidays?
Nowhere usually. I live in such a lovely place, it’s like being on holiday all the time.

What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?
This page isn’t big enough for all the naughty things I did at school, but probably the worst was lassoing the teacher. I knocked her glasses off, and she didn’t think it was very funny at all! (No sense of humour).

Some questions from secondary school students

How did you get started?
I first started to write for my children when they were little. They loved me making up stories where they were the heroes e.g. the Giant Killer.

Who inspired you when you were getting started?
I wasn’t inspired by a person but by people's pleasurable reactions to my stories. It made me feel good about my work and want to write more.

What advice would you give to an aspiring young writer?
Becoming a good writer is like becoming a good soccer player; you need to keep learning new skills and practise, practise, practise. Try to write something every day, no matter how small.

Is it difficult to make a living as a writer in New Zealand?

It depends on what you consider a living is. Some people aren’t happy unless they’re earning big incomes, but there’s an old saying, ‘money doesn’t make you rich’. I personally think the most important thing is to be doing something that you enjoy and have a talent for. You need to be flexible with your writing to start with (until you become famous) and be prepared to try different genres and lots of outlets. With hard work and determination you can earn a living here, even if it’s not a fortune.

What were you like as a teenager?
I was idealistic, romantic, sporty, adventurous and determined. I explored Europe on my own at 18, so perhaps you had better add crazy to that list!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve always loved animals and had a huge menagerie as a child, including a pig, ducks, bantams, geese, calves, lambs, guinea pigs, mice, horses, an aviary full of budgies, baby hedgehogs, a pukeko and an opossum. (Didn’t I have wonderful parents!).

When I was seven, my teacher was reckless enough to appoint me class monitor. As soon as she left the classroom at the end of the day I told the other kids that it was pet’s day the next day and they were to bring all their pets.

Sure enough, the next morning they all arrived with their animals and we had a most marvellous day playing with them all. I took my pet lamb, Bimbo. They made such a noise and a mess that we didn’t get any work done all day. It was great! That was last time I was asked to be class monitor. A few years ago I wrote a children’s play based on this called Pet’s Day and lots of children have now had fun re-enacting that day.

Updated January 2017.