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Trussell-Cullen, Alan
Writer's File

Alan Trussell-Cullen

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Trussell-Cullen, Alan
In brief
Alan Trussell-Cullen is a prolific children’s book author, and his writing often has an educational focus. He has written several series, including his popular Factivity series that combines literacy learning with the world of factual information. Trussell-Cullen’s books are published in New Zealand as well as in the United States, and in addition to books, he has also written for radio, television, and the stage. Alan Trussell-Cullen is part of the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme.


Trussell-Cullen, Alan (1941-) writes children’s books with an educational focus.

Trussell-Cullen was born in Papakura. He spent his childhood in Ohura, Te Aroha, Ohaupo and Mount Maunganui before settling in Auckland. He attended Auckland University and then went on to work as a teacher.

Trussell-Cullen left teaching in 1998 when he began to write full-time. He is a prolific writer who has published over 120 books, including his new and innovative series of 72 books called Factivity – a series that combines literacy learning with the world of factual information.

Trussell-Cullen has published 15 titles in the Carousel series. He has written Teacher’s Guides to Traditional Tales and Aesops Fables. A complete list of his publications is available at

Trussell-Cullen’s books are published in New Zealand as well as in the United States. In addition to books, Trussell-Cullen has also written for the radio, television and the stage.

He is part of the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools scheme.

Trussell-Cullen lives in Auckland.

Poisonous Stuff (Picture Puffin, 2008) is an informative guide on what to do when stung, bitten or your children drink something they shouldn't have!

Smelly Stuff (Picture Puffin, 2008) is 'packed with whiffy facts.'


Alan Trussell-Cullen is available to visit schools (preferably primary) within Auckland as part of the Writers in Schools programme. He is happy to discuss writing stories, poems, plays, TV scripts, non-fiction and fiction. He also enjoys playing with ideas, word games and being creative with the students. He would prefer to speak to normal class sizes, but is flexible.


Some Questions for Alan Trussell-Cullen

Where do you live?

Auckland, but I travel to the USA twice a year.

What sorts of books do you like to read?

I read stories, non-fiction, poetry and plays.

Do you have a favourite author?

Lewis Carroll.

How do you think up your ideas?

I don’t really know – they sort of happen. I daydream a lot!

What is the best thing about being an author?

The fun you can have playing with ideas.

Some Questions for Primary School Students

Do you have any pets?

I have 3 cats – and one of them appears in a series of stories about Einstein. His real name is George.

Do you have a favourite colour?

Red – at the moment at least.

Do you have a favourite colour?

Avocado – at the moment.

Do you have a favourite movie?


Do you like to play any games?

I like word games of all kinds.

What is the most fun thing about being an author?

Seeing some children reading your book. It’s even better if they laugh at the funny bits.

How do you make books?

I write them on my computer and then email the manuscript to the publisher – and they do the rest. You could look at my book How I Met Einstein.

Where do you like to go for your holidays?

Usually I got to the United States.

What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?

At the high school I went to, we used to slip over the back fence and go eeling in the nearby creeks during the lunch hour.

Some Questions for Secondary School Students

How did you get started?

I started writing for radio, then television (The Billy T James Show) and then I started writing book for children.

Did anyone inspire you when you were getting started?

Everyone I read – and one or two great teachers.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Read lots – Write lots.

Is it hard to make a living as a writer in New Zealand?

Yes. Especially if you want to write what you really want to write.

What were you like as a teenager?

I was a bit shy, but I loved doing goofy things. Practical jokes and word were my speciality.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us?

I have a piece about how I write on my web page. Please feel free to use anything from that – you can find it at

I am happy for children to have my email address. I included it in the author note for Charlotte's Web Page and have had great fun reading emails from children all around the world. One reader said my character Charlotte was too hard on New Zealand. The reader lived in New York State in the United States, she said had heard the New Zealand was really a very nice place and that I should go there myself to find out!