I would love to give an author talk at your school. You can book me to come to your school through NZ Book Council, Getting Kids into Books speakers agency, or contact me directly if you have any questions. I am prepared to travel around the country but will need to charge for travel and accommodation expenses outside the greater Auckland area.

If you are a school in Australia and would like me to visit please contact Speaker’s Ink and they’ll arrange my visit. I’m visiting Australia all the time and can add school visits onto each trip.

I could visit your school from 9am to lunch time or better still for the whole day (author talk until lunchtime, then workshops until home time). If you book a full day of author talks/workshops I’ll do a free talk to teachers during lunch time or after school, about incorporating non-fiction into the language and reading programme.

What I bring to a school or library visit:

  • My talks are interactive. Children will participate in a puppet performance and or a role play. They’ll ask and answer questions and quizzes.
  • I make my talks inspirational (targeting mostly 7-14 year old children). I also give tips on how to write stories and share my writing process.
  • I’m passionate about books and writing and aim to pass that passion on to children.
  • Many of my books fit in with school curriculum subjects and I can tailor my talks to fit in with a social studies or science topics.
  • I have over 20 puppets, and made or bought props to go with most of my books.
  • I always spend several hours before a talk preparing for it to tailor it to your needs.
  • I have a Bachelor of Education degree, Diploma of Teaching, and a Graduate Diploma of Journalism Studies.
  • I’ve taught Primary and Intermediate aged children in New Zealand schools for ten years.
  • I’ve studied literature for many years and continue to do so. I’ve attended lectures, workshops, conferences with many of New Zealand and Australian’s best authors, illustrators, and educational speakers.
  • I’ve presented many talks and workshops since 2002. I write every day, have had over 60 books published.

I offer 1½ hour writing workshops on the following subjects:

  • Creative Non-fiction writing
  • Writing Biographies
  • Plotting picture book stories
  • Readers’ Theatre Script Plays

Plus four mini workshops with the maximum of 20 students for one hour during school or after school on the following:

Workshop One: Exciting Beginnings (how to start your story in seven different ways)

Workshop Two: Plot Fantastic (how to structure a story)

Workshop Three: Lively Language (includes passive vs. active writing, show don’t tell, using imagery)

Workshop Four: The Finale (includes peer editing, and satisfying endings)

Afterwards, I’ll critique the students’ finished product and give them a certificate. For more information please email me.

For Teachers I offer talks on non-fiction in the Language and Reading Programme

Email me for further information.

If you live outside the Auckland area – you will need to contact me directly. I am very happy to travel to your area but I will need to organise other school visits while I am in your town/city to make it cost effective. If you can pass the message to schools in your area that I am available (for a fee) – I would be most grateful.
If the rate is not what you had budgeted for, can I suggest you charge your students a $2 gold coin to contribute towards it. Many schools have been doing this for a while for other speakers. Alternatively, you could ask a local business if they would like to sponsor it.
My talks are entertaining, educational and inspirational to children.

What you can do to make the school visit successful:

  • Prep the children before the visit that I’m coming. They can visit my website.
  • You could print out a poster and do a display of my books in your classroom or your library.
  • Children could prepare questions to ask me.
  • Could the teachers/aides please forget their marking and relax and enjoy the talk.
  • Could teachers please monitor their own classroom’s behaviour. I’ll leave discipline up to you as you know your children best and they know you. If a child is misbehaving I’d appreciate it if you removed them, as they will distract us.
  • Could someone in your school please help me to set up my talk on your school projector. Every projector is different in every school. I can do the talk without a Powerpoint but I find visuals engage another sense and help children stay focussed.

What I’ll need for the talk:

  • Projector and screen for PowerPoint.
  • Trestle table – to put props on.
  • Drink of water.
  • Long cord to connect to laptop or iPad.
  • Speakers.
  • Microphone for talks to over 300 children.
  • Children set up in usual lecture formation; facing a screen.

If I am visiting your school during Book Week I would be very happy to sell my books to you at a discounted rate so that you can sell those to students and make a profit from them. Please email me if you require more information. I can send you a book order form so that teachers and students can buy the books direct from me or you can buy them on Long White Cloud Books.

Please do put the photographs on your website or newsletter, as parents love to see their children engaging in the talks. Could you please send me a copy of some of the photographs. I would love to put them on my Facebook site or website if I can get permission from the parents.

I look forward to hearing from you.


I also can give writing workshops at your school.

These are my workshops:

  • Creative Non-fiction writing
  • Writing Biographies
  • Plotting picture book stories
  • Readers’ Theatre Script Plays

To ask about book writing workshops, please email me.

School Visit Feedback

“We had a wonderful time with you – thanks. I bragged you up on the Library Listserve – every school should have you visit!”
Gerri Judkin

“We thoroughly enjoyed Maria Gill visiting Hebron Christ College. She gave an excellent presentation, engaging our students in the closer examination of non-fiction books, and giving them new ideas for their own writing and research. Since then we have made a poster of Maria and her books, which constantly reminds children of ‘when the author came to visit.'”
Lois Huston, Hebron Christian College

“We appreciated Maria’s presentation because the children, and the teachers, not only found her engaging and inspiring, but it was refreshing to gain an author’s perspective of non-fiction writing.”
Ann Parnell, Mangawhai Primary

“We had 93 children and 9 adults watch you for a whole hour – and ready to stay longer, too, if they didn’t have to get back for other commitments. As I mentioned in my introduction, we have had very few opportunities for children’s author visits to our library in the 3 years of my tenure here and it was a great pleasure to host you at this event.”

Write Like an Author Workshops

I also teach Write Like an Author workshops around the country. I’m in Hamilton and Tauranga in the April School holidays, Wellington and Palmerston North in the July holidays, and Christchurch and Dunedin in the October holidays.

Students aged 8-14 years old learn tips and techniques from a published author, as well as playing fun writing games throughout the day. At the end of the three-day workshop, students will have started a story of their own. They’ll also find out how to edit their work and information about competitions they can enter. For younger students we also have a one-day junior camp and for older students (and students who have completed the 3-day Intermediate workshop) they can enroll in the Advanced camp. For more information go to If your students are more art inclined, they can find out about the popular workshop.

Resources & Links

Teacher’s PDF Resources

Other Resources

  • Sustainable Living: A Cross Curricular Approach*
    Essential Resources
    Book 1: Ages 7-10
    Book 2: Ages 11-14
  • Talk It Up: Oral Language activities for the Classroom
    Essential Resources
    Book 1: Ages 7-10
    Book 2: Ages 11-14
    Available Term 1, 2013
  • Non-fiction in the Classroom: Language and Reading Activities to enhance students’ ability to engage with Non-fiction
    Essential Resources
    Book 1: Ages 7-10
    Book 2: Ages 11-14
  • Critical Essay Writing
    Essential Resources
    Ages 14-16
  • Big Book of School Journals
    2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
    For more information please email me directly.
  • CSI Chapters
    South Pacific Press
  • CSI Comprehension Strategies Instruction
    South Pacific Press