Philippa Werry


I grew up in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and New Plymouth, and studied English and Greek at the University of Auckland, graduating with an MA in Middle English. Later I worked at the Parliamentary Library, and as a law librarian in Wellington and London. I now live in Wellington.

I write fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry, primarily for children and young adults. My work has also appeared in the School Journal and other educational publications and in various anthologies and has been broadcast on radio. I visit schools around the country with the Book Council Writers in Schools scheme, and enjoy the challenge of presenting history and science to a young audience.

I have been shortlisted for the Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (three times) and the Text Publishing Prize, and won the 2010 NZSA Mid-Career Writers Award. In 2014, I travelled with the Gallipoli Volunteers (a branch of Conservation Australia) to help with volunteer services at Gallipoli for Anzac Day. In 2016, I was awarded the Anzac Bridge Fellowship and developed a community project to link up two WW1 bridges at Kaiparoro, northern Wairarapa, and Brooweena, Queensland. Also in 2016, I won a place on the Antarctica NZ community engagement programme (formerly Artists and Writers to Antarctica) and spent a week at Scott Base. I held the Michael King Writers Centre Easter residency in 2019.

I am on the NZSA list of mentors and assessors and was on the NZSA Board for six years. I am also Chair of the Committee of the Wellington Writers Walk, an initiative of the Wellington branch of the NZSA.

Selected bibliography:
Iris and me (Cuba Press, 2023; Runner-up, NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize 2022; Winner, Young Adult Fiction Award, NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2023; Longlisted for ARA Historical Novel Prize 2023)
Quarantine (Scholastic, 2022)
The Other Sister (Pipi Press, 2021)
Enemy at the Gate (Scholastic, 2008; shortlisted for NZ Post Book Awards 2009; reprinted 2020 by Pipi Press)
The Telegram (Pipi Press, 2019; shortlisted for Children’s and Young Adults Book Awards 2019; Fiction Special Mention, NZ Heritage Book Awards 2019)
Harbour Bridge (Scholastic, 2014)
Lighthouse Family (Scholastic, 2013)

Picture books
The Water Bottle, illustrated by Burak Akbay (Oratia, 2022)
This is Where I Stand (Scholastic, 2021; shortlisted for Children’s and Young Adults Book Awards 2021)
Best Mates, illustrated by Bob Kerr (New Holland, 2014)

New Zealand Migration (Oratia, 2023; The NZ Series)
New Zealand (with André Ngāpō, consultant) (Norwood House Press, 2022; Series: Voices from around the world: Pacific Islands)
Our Incredible Dogs (New Holland, 2020)
Antarctic Journeys (New Holland, 2019)
The New Zealand Wars (New Holland, 2018; shortlisted for the Children’s and Young Adults Book Awards 2018)
Armistice Day: the New Zealand Story (New Holland, 2016)
Waitangi Day: the New Zealand Story (New Holland, 2015)
Anzac Day: the New Zealand Story (New Holland, 2013; shortlisted for NZ Post Book Awards 2014 and Lianza Book Awards 2014)

Oral history:
Island Bay Medical Centre: a short history (2010)

For more information: see


  • Editing
  • Photographic research
  • Public speaking
  • Research
  • Writing


  • Biography
  • Childhood
  • Defence/military
  • Family
  • Migration
  • Women