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Locke, Elsie (1912–2001)

Locke, Elsie (1912–2001)

New Zealand children's writer. Name variations: Elsie Farrelly Locke; Elsie Violet Locke. Born Elsie Violet Farrelly, 1912, in Hamilton, New Zealand; died April 2001; youngest of 4 children of a builder and a women's-rights activist; educated in Waiuku; attended University of Auckland; married Friedrich Engels "Freddie" Freeman, 1938 (div. 1940); m. John Locke (progressive), 1941; children: (1st m.) Don Freeman (philosopher); (2nd m.) Keith Locke (MP), Maire Locke (social worker), Alison Locke (school councilor).

During the Depression and after the Queen Street Riot, joined Communist Party (1933), remaining a member until 1956; worked as editor of progressive magazine, Woman To-day; was a key founder, with Lois Suckling and Jean Dawson, of the Sex Hygiene and Birth Regulation Society (1936, later New Zealand Family Planning Association); wrote 1st children's novel, The Runaway Settlers (1965); other fiction and histories for children, which often explore relations between the Maori and Europeans, include The End of the Harbour (1968), Moko's Hideout (1976), The Gaoler (1978), Journey Under Warning (1983), The Kauri and the Willow (1984), Two Peoples, One Land (1988), Mrs Hobson's Album (1990) and Peace People (1991). Won Katherine Mansfield Non-Fiction Award for an article in Landfall (1958).

See also autobiographical Student at the Gates (1981).

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