Tania’s books (6)
Roxborogh, Tania (1965 - ) is a children's writer of Ngāti Porou descent. Her works range from gritty young adult novels to Fifteen Minute Shakespeare. Roxborogh teaches English full-time at Columba College and reviews young adult books for the Otago Daily Times.
Born in Christchurch, Roxborogh moved town many times as a child, attending the first of seven schools in Te Puke. 'I have a very clear picture of the two teachers there,' she writes. 'One who was lovely and taught us all sorts of wonderful things and an old bag who strapped me for taking a pencil. I decided then that I was going to be a teacher and be like the nice one and definitely not like the old bag.'
Educated at Massey University and the Auckland College of Education, Roxborogh has worked as a high school English and drama teacher since 1989. Her first published book was a drama handbook, Performing With Purpose (1996).
Roxborogh's other teaching resources are Fifteen Minute Shakespeare (1997); Three Funny Plays (1997); Twenty Minute Shakespeare (1998); Three Spooky Plays (1999); English Basics (1999); and More English Basics (2000).
The inspiration for her first novel for young readers, If I Could Tell You (1997) came when Roxborogh was pregnant with her first child. 'I wondered what she would think of me if I should die and she read my journals.'
Roxborogh's stories deal with the anxieties and problems of teenagers in an engaging, realistic manner. Her characters are far from squeaky clean, but she doesn't glamorise their high-risk behaviour.
Runaway (1998) follows a thirteen year old boy who escapes from his latest foster home to look for his distantly remembered father. Grit (1998) tells the dramatic story of Sophie who must go for help after a car she is riding in crashes on a remote Northland road.
The protagonist of Compulsion (1999) turns to alcohol and drugs when he faces the troubled realities of his sixteen-year-old existence.
Roxborogh had three titles published in 2002; Whispers, Limelight and The Ring. Third Degree was published by Longacre Press in 2005. Fat Like Me, an autobiography of her 10 year battle with obesity, was published by Penguin in 2005.
In 2006, Roxborogh was a Writer in Residence at the Dunedin College of Education.
No, it’s Not Okay (Penguin, 2007) tackles the issue of bullying – offering strategies for parents and caregivers in tackling bullying – whether it’s your child being bullied or your child is a bully. Kids Behaving Bravely (Penguin, 2008) is about building a resilient child and hopes to offer parents ways through life’s tricky moments. . .
Space Gum (Longacre Press, 2008) is a children’s novel. Carl just doesn't get it - he's always in Mum's bad books. If only she could lighten up and see the humour in the practical jokes he and Dad play on one another. From eggs to toilet seats, nothing's sacred when they're dreaming up pranks. But Carl's world is turned upside down when his father introduces him to an elusive ex-NASA scientist, who gives Carl a peculiar gift - one that contains a secret. What does Carl have that could possibly be so valuable? Who is responsible for the break-ins? Where have the two strangers taken Dad in the black van, and is he safe? Carl summons all his intelligence and inventiveness to unravel the mystery. A page-turning novel about science and subterfuge and one boys problem-solving skills put to the test.
Young Adult novel Banquo's Son (Penguin NZ) was published in 2010. The first in a trilogy, Banquo's Son tells the story of Fleance, the boy who escaped murder by Shakespeare's Macbeth. Though set in the 11th century, the love affairs and intrigue of Roxborogh's novel appeals to all ages. Banquo's Son was listed as a 2010 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. The work was also a finalist in the young adult fiction category of the 2010 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and won the inaugural YA award at the 2010 LIANZA Book Awards.
The second book in the series is Bloodlines (Penguin NZ, 2010), the narrative of which further develops Fleance's struggle between duty and love. Bloodlines was shortlisted for the 2011 LIANZA Book Awards. Ending the trilogy is Birthright (Penguin NZ, 2013), which explores the unrest that lingers even after Fleance has married and ascended to the throne of Scotland. Will the rebellion simmer, or will it culminate in the greatest battle the nation has ever seen? Birthright, along with the other two titles in the series, was awarded a 2014 Storylines Notable Book Award.
The trilogy has since been republished by UK publisher Thomas & Mercer under the name A Crown of Blood and Honour.
In 2017 Roxborogh won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction for her novel My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point (Scholastic). The judges praised the book for its deft and sensitive touch. “Race relations in the 1970s are revealed to the reader through the eyes and heart of a young Māori girl wondering what is wrong with the grown-up world around her. Here the true craft of Tania Roxborogh’s writing is revealed. We can wonder with her.”
In 2021, her book Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea (Huia 2020) won the Margaret Mahy book of the year award, as well as the Esther Glen Award for Junior fiction. Alan Dingley, on the panel of judges, said in a Stuff NZ article that the book told a “uniquely NZ story,” and that the disability of the main character “added depth to the story while not being the focal point, as did the underlying issue of humans disturbing the natural environment.”