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Gavin Bishop

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Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator
Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator
Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator
Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator
Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator
Gavin Bishop llustrator New Zealand children's book illustrator


Gavin Bishop was born in Invercargill of pakeha, Tainui and Ngati Awa descent. After high school he studied painting at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury graduating with Honours in 1967. In 1968 graduated from the Secondary School Teachers' College with Distinction. Taught art at high school level for 30 years. Gavin now lives in Christchurch and works full-time writing and illustrating books for children.

Since 1981 Gavin Bishop has written and illustrated over 27 picture books that have been published in New Zealand and overseas. Many have been translated into other languages.


  • Wrote about his Maori tupuna - 'Katarina' and 'Hinepau'
  • Retold and illustrated many of the classics from European folklore 'Chicken Licken', 'The Three Little Pigs' and 'The House That Jack Built'.
  • Wrote many original stories that cater for children of a wide range of ages.
  • Wrote two TV series based on his first book, 'Bidibidi' 1990 and 1991
  • Special commission to write and design two ballets for the Royal NZ Ballet Company, 'Terrible Tom' 1985 and 'Te Maia' 1986
  • Produced a large number of graded reading books for educational publishing. These have been published all over the world and especially in the USA.
  • Wrote extensively for locally produced children's television programmes,
  • Illustrated many books for other authors such as Joy Cowley and Phil Bailey.



A major exhibition of the original art from four Bishop books, Mr Fox, Chicken Licken, Katarina and The Horror of Hickory Bay was held at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch from17th July - 8th December.
The same exhibition was shown at the National Library, Wellington from March to June and at the National Library, Auckland from September to November 1993.


ARTISTS OF THE PAGE Sylvia and Kenneth Marantz, published by McFarland & Company, Inc. USA. An interview with Gavin Bishop was included in this book along with 29 other children's book illustrators and writers from around the world.
Lectured and ran workshops in China on Children's Literature at the invitation of UNESCO


Judge for the NZ Children's Book Awards.


Featured in 'WINTER IN JULY; VISITS WITH CHILDREN'S AUTHORS DOWN UNDER' by Jan Barley, Scarecrow Press, Ohio, USA
Work included in 'CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY' edited by Peter Hunt, Oxford University Press, England.


Guest lecturer for 4 months in the Illustration Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA.
Guest lecturer at the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, USA.


At the invitation of UNESCO, Gavin Bishop lectured and ran workshops in Jakarta on Children's Literature.
Member on the Creative New Zealand Literature Grant Assessment panel for several years.
Visiting schools through out New Zealand to promote books and reading.
Regularly featured in all the major Book Festivals throughout New Zealand. Taking part in the Wordstruck, (Dunedin) Books and Beyond (Christchurch) and Storylines (Auckland) festivals.
Currently a member of Christchurch BOOKS AND BEYOND Festival trust.


Guest speaker at the CHILDREN'S BOOK COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Conference in Canberra, May 11th -14th
Presented two papers at the18th WORLD CONGRESS OF READING, Auckland, July 2000
WORDS ON WHEELS TOUR of MARLBOROUGH and NELSON - with Elizabeth Knox, Vincent O'Sullivan, Catherine Chidgey, Briar Grace Smith and Lydia Wevers. February 2000


LEADER of WORDS ON WHEELS TOUR- NORTHLAND-MARCH with Eirlys Hunter, Kate Camp, Damien Wilkins, Carl Nixon and Tina Shaw,
Judge for the Noma Concours Children's Picture book Art Competition in Tokyo.


WRITER IN RESIDENCE at the University of Canterbury.


  • NZ Children's Picture Book of the Year, 1982, 1994 and 2000
  • Russell Clark Medal for Illustration in 1982
  • Runner-up in the Noma Concours for Children's Picture Book Illustration in Japan 1982
  • Grand Prix in the Noma Concours for Children's Picture Book Illustration in Japan 1984
  • NZ Children's Book of the Year 2000 and 2003
  • Spectrum Print Award for the Best Use of Illustration in a New Zealand Book 2000
  • Margaret Mahy Medal for Services to Children's Literature 2000 New Zealand's Highest Honour for Children's Literature
  • Christchurch Writers' Walkway Bronze Plaque 2002
  • Writer in Residence at Canterbury University 2003
  • Smash Palace Art and Science Collaboration Grant with the HIT Lab, Canterbury University 2003
  • Jury Member for the Noma Concours -competition for International Picture Book Illustrators, UNESCO, Tokyo, Japan, 2001
  • NZ Children's Non Fiction Book of the Year 2003
  • Silvia Ashton Warner Fellowship for Services to Literacy 2004

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