Parker, John

Parker, John

Information

residence
Deceased

In Brief

John Parker was a writer in a wide range of genres, principally children's literature but also journalism, radio scripts, and reviewing. Parker published almost 130 fiction and non-fiction books for children. Many of his poems, stories, articles, and plays appeared in the School Journal and other publications, and broadcast on Radio New Zealand and BBC School Radio. In 2006 he was nominated in the Non-Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Parker, John (1939-2019) was a writer in a wide range of genres, primarily in children's literature but also journalism, radio scripts, and reviewing.

Born in Christchurch, he graduated from the University of Auckland in 1964 with degrees in English and History, before commencing a teaching and lecturing career in secondary schools, polytechnics and training colleges. He took a five-year break from education in the 1970s to sing in England and Europe as a professional singer in opera, oratorio, and recital, and left the teaching profession in 1990 to take up full-time writing.

John Parker published almost 130 fiction and non-fiction books for children. They include picture-books, junior readers, chapter books, novels for early teens, and a 4-volume history of New Zealand, Frontier of Dreams, The Story of New Zealand (Scholastic New Zealand, 2005) - the latter making the final of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the shortlist for the Elsie Locke Award, and winning the Spectrum Print Book Design Award for Best Educational Book.

Around 100 of his poems, plays, articles, and stories appeared in the School Journal and other publications. Radio New Zealand and BBC School Radio broadcast a number of his children's stories and radio plays.

Among the picture titles are I Love Spiders (Scholastic NZ, 1987); Amanda, the Amazing Marino (Waiatarua, 1990); Pavlova and Presents (Scholastic NZ, 1996); and Poppa McPhee Gets the Eggs (Scholastic NZ, 2006).

Longer titles include TTs Terrible Tuesday, about a cat's encounter with a vet's dog (Scholastic NZ, 1995 and 2005); Dragonspell, about a young prince's battle with a dangerous dragon (Scholastic, 1994 and 2004), Storm Tide, about a boy being washed out to sea (Rigby Heinemann, 2001); Piddles, about a cat that steals golf balls (Penguin, 2004); and Sucked In, about a vertically-challenged teenager's attempts to be tall (Walker Books Australia, 2008).

In 1999, he was awarded a Creative New Zealand project grant to write a teenage novel.

Frontier of Dreams: The Story of New Zealand was listed as a 2006 Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book. What Is On Top? (Scholastic New Zealand), written by John Parker with photographs by Glenn Jowitt, won the same award in the following year.

His adult work included around 400 pieces for varied magazines, many of these pieces on golf, tramping, travel, and skiing; book reviews for 'Nine to Noon' on Radio NZ National; and two series of stories, totalling 35 episodes, (which he also narrated) for Radio New Zealand National. He also wrote, edited and proofed for a number of businesses and educational institutes.

He was a sought-after author in the Writers in Schools programme.

John Parker passed away in 2019.

Updated February 2022.