FREE October Writing Workshops

Thanks to those who came! Wasn’t it brilliant. Once again, I’d like to thank Creative New Zealand for sponsoring the weekend, and all our speakers. You were fantastic, the lot of you!

Watch this space for links to notes and resources from the workshops.


What was on?


tinynickyNicky Hager: How I research and write a book

Friday 21 October, from 5.30-7pm at the South Library Boardroom.

Nicky has investigated tricky subjects and high-profile people.The stakes can be incredibly high in his line of work. It’s important to consider the processes as much as the finished (written) product.

In this session, Nicky will talk about how he plans and carries out his research, as well as the processes of turning all the raw material into a finished, cohesive book.


BrianTurnerBrian Turner: No More Mr. Nice Poet

Friday 21 October, from 7.30-9pm at the South Library Boardroom.

Brian will focus on the crucial role of New Zealand writers in addressing our environment.

Many writers express concern about the natural world, but we tend to be mild-mannered and polite about it. No doubt this comes from a desire to appear fair-minded, understanding and reasonable. Though our natural world is suffering extreme damage, we don’t want to come off as screw-loose extremists. But is our writing bold enough to trigger change? Is it time to find the courage to be combative? At what point is the only reasonable response a caustic one?


tinyrachelRachel McAlpine: Write Into Life

Saturday 22 October, from 9-10.30 am at South Library.

Rachel McAlpine has weathered five decades of accelerated change in the literary world and survived to tell the tale. She’ll tell us how in this interactive writing workshop.

Through discussions and exercises, this session will revive your love of writing, clarify your writing goals, and uncover new reasons to write.


sarah laingSarah Laing: Telling Tales in Technicolour!

Saturday 22 October, from 9-10.30 am at South Library.

In Sarah’s comics, she weaves images and words together into cohesive stories. Doing this well requires so much more than swish skill with a pencil. Sarah will discuss her process, how she draws from her life, snatching words and images from the real world, and translating them into a succinct narrative.

I’ve been amazed by what Sarah can do with only a handful of apparently simple drawings and snippets of dialogue and captions. I can’t wait to see behind the curtain into how she pulls this off.


Harry RickettsHarry Ricketts: Borrowing the Editor’s Eyes

Saturday 22 October, from 11am-12.30pm at South Library.

Harry has been reworking his own words and wrangling other people’s for decades now. How great would it be to borrow his editor-lenses for a day?

Harry’s going to give us some insight into how he edits his own writing and how a professional editor approaches submissions. Want to make your work shine? Want to sashay to the stop of the slush pile? And be adored? And published?

Bring along one page—the first page of something you’d like to submit—and you can apply Harry’s advice right then and there!


tinymandyMandy Hager: How to Build a Powerful Story

Saturday 22 October, from 11am-12.30pm at South Library.

Mandy’s stories pack punch and she has the awards and back-list to prove it. Her workshop is suitable for writers of both children’s and adult fiction. Regardless on genre or category, readers (and writers) want stories to be powerful.

In this workshop Mandy will teach us how to build structure, theme and unique character voice from a simple idea.


rachel o'connorRachel O’Connor: Landing a London Literary Agent

Saturday 22 October, from 1.30-3pm at the South Library.

Rachel is represented by Literary Agent Judith Murray, of Greene & Heaton in London. In this workshop, Rachel will share with us how she found an agent: the ups and downs and lessons learned… She will cover targeting, contacting and building a working relationship with a literary agent, including preparing your manuscript, synopsis and query letter, as well as managing records of submissions and responses.

If you’re looking to find an advocate for your manuscript in the wider world of publishing, this session will be a great jumping-off point.


tinyjillianJillian Sullivan: The Emotional Hero’s Journey

Saturday 22 October, from 1.30-3pm at the South Library.

Jillian will prompt us to examine the difference between a characters’ wants and needs and the choices that characters must make to complete a hero’s journey. We will look to story, myth and our own lives to hone our characters and to amp up the depth and conflict of our stories.


For more info on the speakers, go here and here.

Our next weekend workshops will take place in May 2017. More information coming soon!

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