Tessa Duder trained as a journalist and has published more than forty works of fiction, non-fiction and anthologies for both children and adults. Her debut novel Night Race to Kawau (1982), recently re-issued in a 40th anniversary edition, was followed by the classic young adult novel Alex
(1987) published in five languages and adapted for a 1993 movie. Recent works 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 in 2019 the four Alex books were published
as Alex the Quartet.
Her awards include a number of children’s fiction prizes, the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton, an Artists to Antarctica award, the OBE and in 2021 the CNZM. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato and won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (Fiction) She serves on the board of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust of New Zealand Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa 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, concertgoing, teaching creative writing and reading.