McKay, Sandy

McKay, Sandy



In Brief

Sandy McKay is a children’s book author, and a freelance writer. Her novel for junior readers, Recycled, was published in 2001 and won the Junior Fiction category in the 2002 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Losing it (2007) was McKay's first book for teenage readers, and was nominated for the Esther Glen Awards in the 2008 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. Sandy McKay is available for school visits as part of the Book Council's Writers in Schools programme.


McKay, Sandy (1959 –) is a junior fiction writer.

McKay was born and raised in Dunedin. Although McKay knew she wanted to write, she chose instead to try her hand at fruit picking, waitressing, and various office jobs. After attending the University of Otago, McKay opened a fruit shop, which she ran until 1987 when she became a freelance writer.

As a freelance writer, McKay’s wrote features for Next, More and the NZ Women’s Weekly. She also writes a regular humorous column for Kiwi Parent Magazine.

After the birth of her daughter Meg, McKay decided to write a junior novel. Recycled was published in 2001 and won Best in Junior Fiction at the 2002 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, in addition to being listed as a 2002 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book. My Dad, the All Black and Becky’s Big Race were published in 2002. My Dad, the All Black was lsited as a 2003 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book.

McKay was Writer in Residence at Dunedin College of Education in 2002.

Colin Goes Bush was published in 2003. Colin Kennedy thinks about the big things- like cleaning up our environment. And he doesn’t just think; he acts. He’s an eco-warrior.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
was published by Longacre in 2004. When Hannah's family wins the lottery, life seems like it's going to be great. But then her best friend won't talk to her and a newspaper story about the win means the family is suddenly getting a lot of negative attention — someone wants them to hand over their money and Hannah has an idea of who it might be.

In 2005, McKay's book Barry and Bitsa was published as part of Puffin Books’ Kiwi Bites series. It was followed by I'm Telling on You in 2006, which also appears in Kiwi Bites.

One Stoppy Jocky (Longacre) and Losing It (Longacre) were both published in 2007. Losing It is a hard-hitting book for teenage readers, which looks at the contrasting lives of Jo, a girl confined by anorexia to hospital, and her best friend Issy, who is dealing with the everyday hassles of school and family. The work was listed as a 2008 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book.

Me and Jason Ballinger
(Penguin Kiwi Bites series), Eureka! (Mallinson Rendel) and Spiders In My Stomach (Wendy Pye Publishing) were all published in 2008.

Mr Tripp Smells a Rat was published in 2011 by Walker Books. This was followed by Mr Tripp Goes for a Skate in 2012, also published by Walker Books Australia.

Sandy McKay's junior fiction novel When Our Jack Went to War was published by Random House NZ in 2013.

Charlotte and the Golden Promise
(Penguin) was published in 2014 as part of their NZ Girl series. McKay's stories were anthologised in Stories for 7 year olds (Random House) and Stories for 6 year olds (Random House), published in 2014.


Sandy McKay is able to speak to students aged 5-18 years about being a writer/illustrator, and a teen fiction writer. She prefers to speak to 12 students per session, with a maximum of 20 at one time. She can run a wide range of sessions, and is able to travel outside of her region for Writers in Schools visits.


Updated January 2017.