The Elsie Locke Writing Prize 2023

Toitoi and the Elsie Locke Trust are proud to announce the 2023 winner of the Elsie Locke Writing Prize is Sophie Vare, age 12, from Berkley Normal Middle School in Hamilton. Sophie has won with her incredible poem, Ahumai Te Paerata, which has been published in Toitoi 33 with illustrations by Max Carter, age 15.

Read the winning entry

Elsie Locke Talks About Children's Writing

In this 1987 interview, Elsie Locke tells interviewer Eileen Cook about her career as a children’s writer, and expresses her views on New Zealand history and environmentalism.

Image and interview courtesy of Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Listen to the interview

The Elsie Locke Writing Prize 2022

Toitoi and the Elsie Locke Trust are proud to announce the 2022 winner of the Elsie Locke Writing Prize is Emma Geddes, age 12, from St Andrews College in Christchurch. Emma won with her beautiful poem, Boy and the Grasshopper, which has been published in Toitoi 29 with illustrations by Max Senior, age 13

Read the winning entry

A National Treasure

Elsie Locke lived an extraordinary life and continues to inspire many young writers.

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About Elsie Locke

Elsie Locke was a writer, broadcaster, social historian, environmentalist, and an activist for peace and civil rights. She campaigned for women’s rights, nuclear disarmament, social justice, and the environment.

Learn more about Elsie's life here.

Elsie was also a writer. She wrote stories and books about New Zealand and its history for children and for adults, and enjoyed writing by young people as much as writing for them. Elsie was a contributor to the School Journal for more than 40 years.

You can read some of her stories here.

Elsie learned to speak te reo Maori as an adult and used her analytical skills to support iwi to research the history of their land. She was also a keen tramper and swimmer, and brought up four children.

See some photos from Elsie's life here.

The Elsie Locke Writing Prize Submission Guidelines

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Artist credits (left to right and down): Ahumai Te Paerata, Toitoi 33, pictures by Max Carter, age 15; Elsie Locke, photographs courtesy of Don Locke; Boy and the Grasshopper, Toitoi 29, pictures by Max Senior, age 13.