Marie Connolly Books

In the beautiful South Island of Aotearoa...

I write academic books, fiction, and children’s storybooks as I look at the lovely Banks Peninsula...

Marie Connolly Books

My Career

Throughout my career I have worked as a professional social worker in child welfare, and then as an academic specialising in the areas of children’s development, children’s rights and child protection systems. I now bring these experiences to the writing of adult fiction and children’s storybooks. On the pages of this website you will find links to my publications, new books and older books that remain in print. I hope you continue to enjoy them.

Academia and Government

I started working at the University of Canterbury as an academic in 1990. It was a very supportive scholarly environment where I was able to use my professional child welfare social work experience in my research and teaching. It was where I wrote my first books and where I established my academic career. I worked as the head of social work and founding director of the Te Awatea Violence Research Centre. In 2005 I left my Associate Professor position to take up the senior executive role of Chief Social Worker in the New Zealand government where I provided advice in my specialist area of child welfare.

Professor, The University of Melbourne

In 2010, I moved to Australia to take up the position of Chair and Head of Social Work at the University of Melbourne. It was an exciting move that enabled me to lead an exceptional team of academics, and to consolidate my own research profile. I provided advice to governments nationally and internationally on matters relating to child welfare, and my research projects that analysed international child protection systems took me across the Western world and also to places such as Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives. In 2018 I was awarded the Hislop Medal for services to social work.

Writer of fiction and children’s books

While I remain affiliated to the University of Melbourne as Professor, in 2019 I retired from my academic role and returned to Aotearoa New Zealand. Having published 20 academic books, I decided it was time to turn my writing energies to novels and children’s story books. I write in the beautiful environment of Akaroa in the South Island of Aotearoa. In retirement I also chair the Akaroa Community Arts Council (ACAC), and have recently become involved in the Christchurch branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA).

FILM REVIEWS...                  
I also enjoy writing reviews of both films and miniseries. You will find my Friday Film Reviews here. I do hope you consider subscribing to my regular reviews. I have made a freely available PDF of all my reviews that you can download in book form  see: 

Marie Connolly Books

My Books

My writing spans three very different areas...

Academic non-fiction

Throughout my career I have published extensively in my area of scholarship, including 18 books. There is a list of books remaining in print here and a full list of publications, including articles can be found on Google Scholar or on ResearchGate 

I have written on Family Group Conferencing, children’s rights and the development of responsive child welfare systems across international settings.

My textbooks have also been widely adopted, Social Work Context and Practice (Oxford University Press 2017), is now in its 4th edition. Similarly, Social Work Theory and Practice, (Cambridge University Press 2019) is now in its 3rd edition.

My two most recent academic books, Strategic Leadership in Social Work Education (Springer 2019) and Service Navigation (Macmillan International 2020) explore the ways in which professional systems can be more responsive to the challenges of 21st century practice.


Currently I am looking to engage publishers for my two novels...

Coinciding in Time
Molly and Tom had visited the National Library in Wellington many times. In fact, it was one of Tom’s favourite places. But one Saturday morning their lives changed unexpectedly when an incident in the library threatened the very essence of their relationship. Coinciding in Time is a novel about trust, infidelity and forgiveness, and the ways in which human misunderstandings and unarticulated feelings impact on lives far beyond single events.

The Legacies of Kate Lindemann
Kate Lindemann is a Shakespearean scholar at the University of Melbourne whose life is turned upside down when the police tell her that her partner of fifteen years has committed suicide.

Children’s storybooks

In 2020 I joined up with Jenny Lee, artist and wonderful children’s book illustrator, to develop the Our Backyard children’s storybook series. We know that developing a sense of place is important to a child’s growing sense of belonging and identity. Generally children are eager to learn about their environment and through their experiences they come to know that they have connections to the physical world - that they are a part of, and share, a wider cultural life. Through our books we want to build children’s connections to Aotearoa - whether they live in New Zealand or not - we want them to remember Aotearoa’s stories, and to encourage a sense of adventure in years to come.

In 2021 we completed a six-book South Island series based on adventures in Akaroa, Punakaiki, Rakiura Stewart Island, the Waitaki valley to Dunedin, Golden Bay, and a train trip to Picton . You can read about and purchase them at the Our Backyard Store

Marie Connolly Books


POSTED 18 August 2023

I am pleased to let you know that a new book has been published by the Akaroa Community Arts Council, Fantabulous Fables, a collection of once-upon-a-time tales retold by local writers from Banks Peninsula.  It is available in Akaroa shops, and also online at Pohatu Penguins:

If you have any trouble accessing a copy just let me know. 

POSTED 8 August 2023

I am delighted to let you know that a 4th edition of Social Work: From theory to practice, has been published this month by Cambridge University Press:

POSTED 13 March 2023

As some of you know, I write a regular film review blog that is available on this website. Some of you are subscribers to the blog and receive a notice from me when there is a new post. I am now pleased to let you know that I have now published a freely available book of the posts in PDF format that I hope you will enjoy reading. If you download it to iBooks, it should display with the usual ease of content page access etc. This means you can dip into reviews without having to search back through the blogs. You will find the link here:

POSTED 21 December 2022
Just a short note to thank everyone for their interest and contributions to my website this year, and I hope you all have a splendid festive season.
If you you are looking for a children’s storybook, you will find them on the Our Backyard website:

POSTED 21 October 2021

This week Jenny Lee and I published the last two books in the Our Backyard children’s picture book series - six books in all. The last two books - ‘Ella and Tai See Golden Bay’, and ‘Ella, Tai & the Train to Picton’ completes their adventures in the South Island. The books are available in South Island bookshops, and on our website:

POSTED 2 September 2021

I am thrilled to say that despite lockdowns Jenny Lee and I have published two new children’s books in the Our Backyard series. In the first new book Ella, joined by her cousin Tai, take a big trip down South to Dunedin, travelling through the beautiful Waitaki valley on the way. In the second book they go down even further and visit Rakiura Stewart Island. If you are interested in seeing these books, go to our website:

POSTED12 November 2020
I am delighted to report the announcement today that Jenny Lee and I have been awarded a grant from Copyright New Zealand to complete the South Island series of the Our Backyard children’s storybooks! See...
From 9am to 3pm on 15 November 2020 we will have a table at the Our Backyard Book Fair, to be held at the St Columba Community Centre on Vermont Street, Auckland. Jenny will be available to talk about the books, and about her wonderful artwork that brings the Our Backyard series to life. If you are in Auckland do pop in and see her.
Marie Connolly Books

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