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William Taylor has written novels for adults but now regards these as his ‘apprenticeship’ for his successful fiction for children and teenage readers. Born in 1938 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, he worked in banking before attending Christchurch Teachers’ College. His teaching career includes a year in London and the years 1979–86 as principal of Ohakune Primary School, a time when he was also a solo parent, part-owner of a restaurant and (1981–88) mayor of Ohakune.