Nagelkerke, Bill

Nagelkerke, Bill

Information

residence
Canterbury

In Brief

Bill Nagelkerke is a children’s author and translator, and former children’s librarian, living in ŌtautahiChristchurch. He was convenor of the 2009 judging panel for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for children and young adults; and in 2006 and 2008, he was a member of the international jury for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards. Bill’s short stories, poems, plays and articles have been published over four decades in the School Journal and its Australian equivalent, the NSW School Magazine, as well as appearing in nearly thirty local and overseas anthologies. Since 1997, Bill has written more than two-dozen books for both trade and educational publishers, including two titles in the Ready to Read series. The Ghosts on the Hill (The Cuba Press) was a 2020 Storylines Notable Book and joint winner of the 2021 Storylines What Now Kids’ Pick Award. In 2013, Bill was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for his distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Nagelkerke (1958–) is a children’s author and translator, and former children’s librarian, living in ŌtautahiChristchurch. ‘I suspect I’m one of those writers,’ he says, ‘who thinks, deep down, that the story should do the telling, not the person who wrote it. Nevertheless I know from talking with other writers, and children in schools, that making the connection between the story and the writer is important.’
Bill’s stories, poems and plays have appeared in many New Zealand and overseas magazines and anthologies including, most recently, A treasury of New Zealand poems for children (2014). His self-published collection of poems, The night the moon fell down (2019), contains many pieces previously published in magazines such as The School Journal.

Bill’s first book for children was Dream Boat (1997). It was followed by The Walk (2002), a ‘green level’ reader, an account of a walk from the city to the sea. The pictures, by Bruce Potter, show a landscape that will be familiar to those who know the Port Hills of Christchurch. Going Bananas (2003) was a title in the Kiwi Bites series. Hot Money (2009) and Hippo Ears and the Stargazer (2011), were both titles in the Nitty Gritty series, published by Pearson.

Old Bones (Scholastic, 2006) was Bill’s first full-length children’s novel. It is set in Christchurch by the banks of the Avon River. Reviewers commented: ‘Bill Nagelkerke conjures up a classy ghost story…’ (The Dominion Post); ‘Unputdownable’ (Around The Bookshops); ‘This is writing of the highest quality, taking a difficult subject and making it exciting and moving’ (The Source). Old Bones was selected as a Storylines Notable Book for 2007.

Publishing in the notable fictional diary series, My Story, Bill’s novel Sitting on the Fence: The Diary of Martin Daly (Scholastic, 2007) tells the story of the controversial Springbok rugby tour in 1981. Sitting on the Fence was a finalist in the Junior Fiction section of the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (now known as the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults). A new edition was published in 2021 with the title Stop the tour!

Bill’s most recent book, The Ghosts on the Hill (The Cuba Press) - a short historical novel as well as a ghost story - was a 2020 Storylines Notable Book and joint winner of the 2021 Storylines What Now Kids’ Pick Award.

As well as writing his own books Bill has, since 2006, been translating other people’s books from Dutch to English. These have included books, novels and information texts, commissioned by publishers in New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. His most recent translation, I’ll keep you close, written by Jeska Verstegen and published by Levine Querido in the USA and by Allen & Unwin in Australia, received a starred review in Kirkus Magazine.

WRITERS IN SCHOOLS INFORMATION

Bill Nagelkerke is available to talk to students over the age of 5 as part of the Writers in Schools programme. He is happy to discuss being a writer and a translator. Bill can give an introduction and talk, readings, a Q&A session, a writing workshop: all to fit in with the school’s requirements. He would prefer to talk to groups of around 30 to 60 students (considerably fewer for writing workshops) but is also happy to address assemblies. He is prepared to travel out of town for school visits.

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated March 2022.