Williams, Mona

Williams, Mona

Information

residence
Wellington

In Brief

Mona Williams is a storyteller, children's writer and educator. She has written numerous books, and has performed her work at various storytelling festivals and schools. The titles of her books give an idea of the vast, magical world they present, from The ant who refused titles (1975), to How we made a colour television show (1973). She published her autobiography, Bishops: My Turbulent Colonial Youth in 1995 and is working on a sequel. Originally from Guyana, Mona made Aotearoa her home in the 1970s.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Williams, Mona (1943 - ) is a Guyanan storyteller, children's writer and educator whose action-packed stories and dramatic presentations enthrall audiences of all ages.

Born in Guyana - then British Guiana - she secured a place at the exclusive girls' school Bishops. The school lends it name to her autobiography, Bishops: My Turbulent Colonial Youth (1995) which recounts her experiences at the school, both destructive and enriching. On one hand Williams quickly discovered her place at the school as 'poor, black and unknown.' On the other, she embraced the joys of English literature, music and culture, reading Dickens, singing Anglican hymns and cooking roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in the sweltering equatorial heat. Mona went on to attend Stanford University as a Fullbright scholar and a Ford Foundation scholar. Her 1971 story-telling programme, Roots and Branches, won an Emmy award.

Mona Williams is the author of more than twenty four books, mostly for children. Their titles give an idea of the vast, varied, and magical world they present, from The ant who refused titles (1975) to How we made a colour television show (1973). She was the 1993 Waikato University Writer-in-Residence and was a senior lecturer for English at Massey University's College of Education.

Her titles include: How we made a colour television show (1973); The turtle who longed to be a bird (1973); Christmas in Guyana (1974); The day I swam the river (1974); How the goat lost his voice (1974); Old Medicine (1974); The ant who refused titles (1975); Granny (1975); Father Martin Heale (1975); Old Bell (1975); When I went to the pictures (1975); Stealing the gooseberry jam (1975); Thinking about it (1975); Speaking the truth (1975); You really saw my father? (1976); A tale to match (1977); Spell wool (1977); Sharing (1977); The outsider (1977); Secrets (1978); The Bicycle (1978); Old Mrs Davidson (1983); The strange cure (1984); Two of a kind (with Joy Cowley) (1984); Bishops: My Turbulent Colonial Youth (1995).

Mona Williams has visited more than 50 foreign countries. She taught writing in the Middle East for ten years, and performed there as a storyteller at various festivals, conferences and weddings. The towns and cities where she performed include Rotterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Selkerk, Salmiya (Kuwait), Bergen (Norway), Ontario (Canada), Tembagapura (Irian Jaya), and Norfolk Island.

Mona Williams lives in Wellington and is a valued member of the Writers in Schools programme.

MEDIA AND LINKS

Updated February 2022.