Fabulous and FREE!

This October, coming to a library near you (if you live in Christchurch, anyway), New Zealand Society of Authors, in association with CreativeNZ, would like to present…



That’s right, we’ve got ourselves some funding. AND we’ve got ourselves a jaw-dropping line-up of workshop presenters.



I can hardly believe it myself.


All this hype… trust me, it’s gonna seem like understatement once you see who we’ve got.


And without further ado (or gifs), ready or not, here they come…

NICKY HAGERtinynicky

Nicky Hager is an investigative journalist and author. He has written six books about New Zealand politics, intelligence, public relations and military subjects. His most recent book, DIRTY POLITICS, was about an orchestrated campaign of personal attacks using right-wing blogs and the damage this causes to politics and freedom of speech.

Nicky’s session:

How I research and write a book

Nicky will talk about how he plans and carries out research, and organises his material. He will also talk about the processes of writing a book—based, as the title implies, on his own experience.


Rachel McAlpine lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and visits other parts of the world for work and play. She has been equal parts writer and teacher all her life.

Rachel has written four novels including Farewell Speech and Humming, eight collections of poetry, six stage plays, and various works of non-fiction including Write Me A Web Page, Elsie! and The Passionate Pen.

She has taught in schools, universities and corporate settings in New Zealand, China and Japan, and for ten years designed online courses in digital writing. Now she makes video courses about writing for health and happiness, instead of money and fame. Family, friends, singing and dancing are priorities.

Her new novel FIXING MRS PHILPOTT comes out this September! It’s about one Zoe Philpott, who packs up her yellow caravan and drives away from post-earthquake Christchurch and her in-denial husband. Her very identity is under threat, and the caravan acts as a magnet for other women with secret struggles and satisfactions.

Rachel’s current project is making a video course called Write Over Divorce: Write your way back to a happy life after divorce or separation.

Rachel’s workshop:

Write Into Life

Get inspired all over again and recover the joy of writing!

Have you reached a turning point in your writing life? Forgotten why you used to love writing? If so, it’s understandable—and it’s not your fault.

Rachel McAlpine has weathered five decades of accelerated change in the literary world and survived to tell the tale. Through discussions and exercises, this session will revive your love of writing, clarify your writing goals, and uncover new reasons to write.


I’m going to do to the truly fan-girly thing here… I am SO excited to get along to Rachel’s workshop. Her book REAL WRITING was one of the first books I read about writing. It’s a gold mine of inspiration and aid. I’m working my way through NZ’s second-hand book shops to collect back-up copies, just in case. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. (PS. Any chance you’ll e-publish, Rachel?)


Jillian Sullivan lives and writes in Central Otago, New Zealand. She is published in a wide variety of genres and teaches workshops on creativity and writing in NZ and America.

Her awards include the Highlights Fiction Award in America, the Tom Fitzgibbon Award and Maurice Gee Prize for young adult novels, and the Kathleen Grattan Prize for poetry.

Her forthcoming book, A Way Home, (Potton and Burton) is the memoir of building a new life, and a strawbale house, in Central Otago. A dogged cyclist and lime plasterer, she is the grandmother of eight grandchildren.

Jillian is currently putting the finishing touches on an adult novel, a project she put aside to build the house and write about it. She is easing her way back into the characters. She is passionate about natural, sustainable homes people can build themselves. We need a revolution!

Jillian’s Workshop:

The Emotional Hero’s Journey

In this workshop we’ll examine through story, myth and our own lives the choice between wants and needs a character must make to complete a hero’s journey.

MANDY HAGERtinymandy

Mandy Hager is a multi-award winning writer of fiction for young adults. And just yesterday the IBBY Congress confirmed the fact! Congratulations Mandy!

She has won the LIANZA Book Awards for Young Adult fiction three times—for SMASHED (2008), THE NATURE OF ASH (2013), and DEAR VINCENT (2014). Her book THE CROSSING won the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for YA fiction in 2010. TOM’S STORY won an Honour Award in the 1996 AIM Children’s Book Awards, and JUNO LUCINA and RUN FOR THE TREES won Golden Wings Excellence Awards in 2002 and 2003.

Mandy was awarded the 2012 Beatson Fellowship, the 2015 Waikato University Writer in Residence and in 2014 she took away the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, one of NZ’s most long-standing and prestigious awards.

In 2015 SINGING HOME THE WHALE was awarded the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, and the Best Young Adult fiction Award from the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. (This is the book that won the IBBY honour award, oh, yesterday.)

Mandy is a trained teacher, with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (Whitireia) and an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University. Her BLOOD IN THE LAMB trilogy has been published in the US by Pyr Books. She also writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles, and currently tutors the Novel Course for Whitireia’s Creative Writing Programme.

She is currently working on an historical novel for adults set in 12th Century France, about nun Heloise d’Argenteuil. It has been two and a half years in the making so far – some might call it an obsession!

Mandy’s Workshop:

How to Build a Powerful Story

Suitable for writers of both children’s and adult fiction, the workshop will show how to build structure, theme and unique character voice from a simple idea. Safe to say, she knows her stuff!

And, believe it or not, we still have four more speakers up our sleeves. So be sure to watch this space for the announcement of the other presenters and workshops.


Just in case, pencil it in your diary now:

NZ Society of Authors FREE writing workshops
Friday 21-Saturday 22 October
@ South Library, Colombo Street

Written by Amy Paulussen, Canterbury branch chairperson, NZ Society of Authors.


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