Inaugural Festival award for much-loved Dunedin Children’s writer-illustrator

Dunedin (Tuesday 30th October) – Ignition Children’s Book Festival are delighted to announce that the recipient of this year’s award for services to Children’s Literature is Dunedin-based writer-illustrator Robyn Belton.

The award will be presented at the Festival’s Booklover’s Banquet at the University of Otago Staff Club on the opening day of the Ignition Children’s Book Festival, 7pm Friday 2nd November 2018.

Festival organiser, Phillippa Duffy, is pleased that the Festival will be paying tribute to Ms Belton’s work in this way. “Robyn has made a sustained and dedicated contribution to children’s literature and illustration over a lifetime of work. Her illustration style has a particular focus on the detail of everyday life that brings a whimsical touch and transitional metaphor through the books she illustrates, like a story within the story”, she says. “Robyn also has the ability to capture a child’s view of the work in a manner that enables the story to transcend a particular age, leading to universal appeal and exploration of the universality of the human condition/experience.”

A common theme of Ms Belton’s work, and one that is of particular appeal to her readers, young and not so young, is her determination to champion the place of animals in our lives. Her books are filled with a delightful assortment of brave animal characters who feature as prominently in the stories as their human counterparts (Bantam and the Solider; Herbert; Greedy Cat).

As well as collaborating, mentoring and fostering talent, Ms Belton has a genuine interest in, and support for, booksellers, and a tireless commitment to schools and children, particularly those of low decile.

Ignition Children’s Book Festival is a partnership between the University Book Shop Otago and Dunedin Public Libraries, and will run over the first weekend of November each year. The 2018 Festival begins on Friday 2nd November and promises a packed programme of entertainment, thought-provoking discussions, stories, workshops and fun for all ages.

Kay Mercer, Events Coordinator for Dunedin Public Libraries is pleased to see Robyn Belton being honoured as the inaugural recipient of the Ignition Children’s Book Festival Award. “Robyn has supported many children’s book events at the Library over the years, and it is always a marvel to watch her work, bringing characters to life on the page, full of humour and heart. She is such an inspiration to children and fellow writers, and we are very proud to have the opportunity to celebrate Robyn’s contribution to the world of children’s books in this way,” she says.

We’re counting down to Ignition!

Visit  for the full Festival programme, and follow the Ignition Kids Facebook page to join the NZ children’s literacy discussion.


Kay Mercer, Events Coordinator, Dunedin Public Libraries, 03, 474 3419,

Phillippa Duffy, General Manager, University Bookshop Otago, 03 474 5401 extn 888,