Tessa Duder trained as a journalist and has published more than forty works of fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults, plays and anthologies. Her best-known work Alex (1987) was published in five languages and adapted for a 1993 movie. Her recent books include biographies of Margaret Mahy, Sir Peter Blake and Auckland’s pioneering ‘First Lady’ Sarah Mathew. Her latest is about the charting of New Zealand by James Cook and her four Alex books were in 2019 published as Alex the Quartet.
Her awards include a number of children’s fiction prizes, the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal (1996), the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton (2003), an Artists to Antarctica award (2007), the OBE (1994) and the CNZM (2021). She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato (2008) and won the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (Fiction) in 2020. She serves on the board of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust of New Zealand and was for twenty years a Trustee of the Spirit of Adventure Trust. She has four daughters and two grandchildren and lives in Devonport, Auckland, where she enjoys sailing, concert-going, teaching creative writing and reading. www.tessaduder.co.nz