Gaelyn was born in Hawera, Taranaki, in 1939. She left her job teaching English and Drama at Hamilton Girls' High School after suffering from a disease that left her deaf in one ear. It was this illness that got her started on a writing career: a career in which she gained great recognition.
Gaelyn was also one of New Zealand's most prolific (meaning she wrote a lot) authors. She wrote many books, and wrote for very young children, older children and teenagers, and for grownups.
Her achievements included winning the Choysa Bursary for children's writers in 1989, becoming Frank Sargeson Fellow in 1992, and receiving the Queen Elizabeth the Second's Arts Council Scholarship in letters in 1993.
Her books include Several Things Are Alive and Well and Living in Alfred Brown's Head, 1990, Stonelight, 1988, Prudence M Muggeridge, Damp Rat, 1991. Her recent work was the lovable and popular title, Duckat, 1992, as well as The Life Sized Inflatable Whale, printed in 1998.
Gaelyn always disliked children's books which 'talked down' to readers, so when she wrote she tried to keep herself out of the book and tell the story entirely from the characters' point of view.
Gaelyn was keen on theatre, and working as an actor and director enabled her to remain 'honest' in her work.
She said, "I think this has helped my writing because stage work, if it is any good, has to be honest &emdash; you have to know why the characters do and say what they do, otherwise your audience won't accept them."
Sadly, Gaelyn died on May 17 in 1997, while she was still in her fifties. Many people were very sad about this, but we still remember her when we enjoy reading her books.
A List of all her books for children:
books for Teenage & Younger Readers:
Picture books :
Plays for children :
The Marvellous Machine