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Catran, Wendy
Writer's File

Wendy Catran

Canterbury - Waitaha
Catran, Wendy
In brief
With a background in writing for television in both Australia and New Zealand, Wendy Catran now writes for children. She published her first book for young readers in 1987, and since then has written fictional books that are based in fact, with a particular focus on issues of cultural and historical significance. Catran’s junior novel The Swap was a finalist for The Esther Glen Award at the LIANZA Children's Book Awards and was also included in the 2005 Storylines Notable Books list.


Catran, Wendy (1948 –) writes for children.

Wendy Catran was born in Wellington. She completed her BA at Auckland University and later a Diploma in Secondary Teaching (Distinction) at Auckland Secondary Teachers College.

After studying Catran spent 10 years in Melbourne where she wrote primarily for television. She wrote scripts for popular programmes including The Box, Bellbird, The Sullivans, Holiday Island, Neighbours and Skin Deep. She also wrote the script for the award-winning documentary film, Swim Therapy for Retarded Children.

When Catran returned to New Zealand she continued to write for television, including scripts for Moonjumper, Gloss and Shark in the Park. She was involved with the initial scripts for Shortland Street. She also worked on independent projects for the Wilson Home and the Child Development Foundation.

Catran published her first book for young readers, Moonjumper, in 1987. Moonjumper was followed by Not Raining Today (2001) and Katie Raven’s Fire (2003).

In the New Zealand Herald Margie Thomson writes, ‘Catran is a sensitive storyteller, and with this, her first book, she demonstrates the power of an individual story to convey a much wider story, of the destruction of one culture by another’.

Catran’s second book, Katie Raven’s Fire, was described in the Magpie Review as a novel that ‘has a conservation theme — the protection of animals and the havoc wreaked by bushfires.’ The review went on to say that ‘this is a well-crafted novel — full of adventure and mystery … her characters well developed. A satisfying read’.

Catran writes that her books are 'fiction based on fact, with particular attention paid to issues of cultural and historical significance.'

Wendy Catrans latest book is The Swap (Lothian Books, 2004), a beautifully told, poignant story of intertwined lives. 'Enemy alien', they called Sakura, the little Japanese girl internee that Maree glimpsed during World War II. She was to be hated; to be feared. But now, in the cosy fifties, Maree dreams of stardom, America, and worries about her brother Alan, on R&R in Japan after fighting in Korea.

The Swap
was a finalist for The Esther Glen Award at the LIANZA Childrens Book Awards 2005. It was also included in the 2005 Storylines: Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand Notable Books list.

Summer Tiger
(lothau, 2007) is young adult fiction, about a teenage girl who reluctantly spends her summer holidays with her uncle and twin cousins at their New Zealand Wildlife Park, and has an adventure that changes her life.

Wendy Catran lives in Waimate and participates in the Writers in Schools programme.