12-year-old Sophie Vare from Berkley Normal Middle School in Hamilton has won the prestigious Elsie Locke Writing Prize for 2023 with her poem, Ahumai Te Paerata.
“This work is clever with form. A vivid story told through two peoples’ thoughts. An intense and short interaction speaking to a deep and complicated relationship between
Elsie would have loved this personalised exploration into historical fact. Delving into the colonisation of Aotearoa. It is so important that children get to read (and write) texts like this.
Elsie would have been especially pleased to read a story that ends in decisions or actions of peace.”
— Jessie Moss, granddaughter of Elsie Locke, and judge of the Elsie Locke Writing Prize 2023
The poem has been printed in the Spring issue of Toitoi. Beautiful illustrations by 15-year-old Max Carter from Rangitoto College, engage sensitively with the text and bring it to life.
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.
Follow the link below to read the judges’ comments from Elsie's granddaughter, Jessie Moss.
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.
Follow the link below to read the judges’ comments from Elsie's granddaughter, Jessie Moss, and great-granddaughter, Kaahuia, age 12.
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.
Thank you to everyone who sent us thier writing for this year's prize.
The Elsie Locke Writing Prize is offered by the Elsie Locke Memorial Trust. It provides a wonderful opportunity for young writers ages 5-13 to develop an original piece of writing for publication inspired by New Zealand history and Elsie's work for peace, the environment, women’s issues, and our community.
Submissions can be any writing on a topic - past, present or future - that you think would have been of interest to Elsie. We would be delighted to accept writing in English or te reo Māori.
We will announce the winner in Term 4, and the winning submission will be published in Toitoi 33.
Elsie Locke lived an extraordinary life and continues to inspire many young writers.Learn more
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.