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Torckler, Gillian
Writer's File

Gillian Torckler

Otago - Ōtākou
Torckler, Gillian
In brief
Professor Gillian Torckler is a writer, medical scientist and diver, and she writes books for children and adults. Her published writing often focuses on the underwater world of New Zealand. Her book titles include New Zealand Birds of the Week/Ngā Manu o Te Wiki (2023), and My Aunt Honor (2023). Many of her books feature the work of her husband, professional photographer Darryl Torckler. Gillian Torckler is available for school visits as part of the Writers in Schools programme.

Torckler, Gillian (1964-) is a writer and professor.

Born in England, Gillian Torckler immigrated to New Zealand in 1977. Educated in Canada and in New Zealand, Torckler began her medical career as a Cardiac Sonographer, then completed a PhD to become a Medical Research Scientist (Ultrasound)—work she continues to do today as a Professor at the University of Otago.

Gillian Torckler writes books for children and adults. Her books include 24 Hours on the Kiwi Seashore (2020); 24 Hours in the Kiwi Bush (2020); and New Zealand Birds of the Week/Ngā Manu o Te Wiki (2023), all of which feature the work of Torckler’s husband, professional photographer, Darryl Torckler. She also writes picture books, including The Stuck There Forever Boat (2008) illustrated by Bruce Potter; My Name is Henry Fanshaw (2021), and My Aunt Honor (2023), both of which are illustrated by Adele Jackson.

Torckler lives between Dunedin and Warkworth and is available for school visits through the Writers in Schools programme.

My Name is Henry Fanshaw (2021) tells the true story of the RNZAF’s 75 Squadron during the Second World War through their Mascot, Henry Fanshaw

My Aunt Honor (2023) focusses on the role of women in active military service during the Second World War, including Gillian’s great aunt who served in the Royal Air Force and died in active service

24 Hours on the Kiwi Seashore (2020) and 24 Hours in the Kiwi Bush (2020) take readers on a journey through these unique environments over a 24 hour period, showing the different activities of the animals that live there. Includes full colour photography.

New Zealand Birds of the Week/Nga Manu o Te Wiki (2023) by Gillian and Darryl Torckler is based on the poem Monday’s Child and introduced young readers to common New Zealand birds through full colour photos and informative text.

Further books include, Underwater Wonders of New Zealand (1999), Kiwi Adventures – Snorkelling (2002), Kiwi – Adventures – Trout Fishing (2002) What Am I? (2003), What Am I? In the Bush (2004), Life-Size Guide to New Zealand Fish (2003), Real-size Guide to the New Zealand Rocky Shore (2004); Destination Southern Lakes (2006); Destination Auckland (2007); The Stuck There Forever Boat (2008); Top New Zealand Dive Sites (2008), You've Only Just Begun (2009), Your Heart Will Sing Again (2010), Hats to Knit (2016), Knitting for the Outdoors (2016), New Zealand Coastlines (2020).


Gillian Torckler is happy to speak with any age group, and is willing to travel outside of her region for school visits. Torckler can talk about being a picture book writer, a photographer, a writer/illustrator, and a non-fiction writer. She can give an introduction and talk, a reading, and take a Q&A session. She can also run workshops, a gifted and talented talk, and a performance with props. She can also undertake an extended school attachment. She can speak about the underwater world of New Zealand and the Pacific, snorkelling, diving, adventures, photography and the marine environment. Gillian Torckler would prefer to speak to 20-30 students at a time, though is comfortable talking with larger numbers.

July 2023
July 2023
Torckler, Gillian
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