Marion Day


Posted on 18th Jan, 2018

Simple Delights

The world of children’s writing brings all kinds of delights. And there are none better than those from children themselves. Yesterday I had two in one day.

The annual Hopai Sports event is held in the remote Pelorus Sound in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand, to which families flock early in January, many by boat. This year I was lucky to be able to have a stall for my children’s books with a donation of $5 from each book sold. These five-dollar notes would end up as part of the donation to local charities including the Westpac Rescue Service, a worthy cause, especially in our isolated area where St John ambulances cannot travel.

The first delight came from a grandmother and grandson who stopped at my table to buy a book. Gran’s grandie came from the city and loved reading, so she’d already travelled to the town library to ensure he had a supply of books for the holidays. In the children’s section, she’d asked, “Who’s your favourite author?”

“Joy Cowley and Marion Day.”

What an honour!

The second delight came when my eleven-year-old niece telephoned on her Christmas present – the latest Apple iPhone. This girl is a live wire. When she was nine, her bio read:


My niece (as usual) had no time for pleasantries. “I have a deal for you,” her fast-talking, authoritative voice began.

“And what’s that?” I asked.

“Firstly, are you working on any books at the moment?”

“Yes. Pepe & Tute. The story of a rare New Zealand beech forest butterfly. Why?”

“When you’ve finished, I want you to write a book called ‘The Ugly Bride’. And I’d like to draw one of the pictures.”

“Sounds pretty interesting,” I said. “But what’s in it for me?”

“The story I’m giving you, of course. AND the picture.”

A deep breath put me in place before I continued. “Well, you may have to write me a brief story outline. And don’t forget, I’d like to have a happy ending.”

“She gets married, doesn’t she!”

Another deep breath. “Can you give me an idea of what you’re thinking?”

“She’s ugly and comes from a baking family, but that’s not a bad thing because her husband is very, very rich. And he loves her for what’s inside of her.”

At this point I can visualise my niece raising her hand, shifting her glasses and matter-of-factly swishing her blonde hair. “OK. When can I expect your story and your drawing?”

“Would the end of the month suit you? And … oh, by the way … if I saw The Ugly Bride on a shop shelf, I’d certainly be buying it.”

Well, it looks like I will be writing a new book aptly named The Ugly Bride with her illustration as the cover!

Contact me

Marion Day
801 Manaroa Road, Clova Bay
Picton 7282
P: (64) 03 579 8448

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Marion won the Rural Women's New Zealand National Short Story Competition - Present category. Her story will appear in the 2025 RWZZ Centennial Book, available in bookshops when published. Wellington City Libraries has chosen Pakupaku Pīwakawaka to have its pages transformed into billboards for a nature trail in one of Wellington's central parks. WCL works with the city's Parks, Sports, and Recreation staff on a project called Te Ara Pukapuka (Book Pathways). The billboards will be placed throughout nature trails and reserve pathways in Wellington for tamariki and their whānau to discover while exploring the region.

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Marion is a member of:

  • New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA)
  • Storylines
  • Rural Women New Zealand
  • NZSA Top of the South
  • Writers of Marlborough
  • Writers in Schools Programme