FREE Writing Workshops – May 2018

Once again, we’ve put together a fantastic line up of NZ writers, for a weekend series of writing workshops. And thanks to Creative New Zealand, they’re free! Register here, now!


5.30 pm

Novels for Old and Young, with Mandy Hager

Mandy Hager is a multi-award-winning writer for both young adults and adults. Her most recent novel is ‘Heloise’, about 12th century French nun Heloise d’Argentuiel and her controversial philosopher lover, Peter Abelard. Mandy tutors novel writing at Whitireia.

7 pm shared Kai and drinks

7.30 pm

On writing columns and matters arising, with Joe Bennet

Joe will talk about the business and technique of writing in general and of columns in particular. (No reason why the subject of flying plane-taxis shouldn’t crop up, but he thought it was too narrow to base the whole thing on.) Audience questions are required or he says he’ll dry up after ten minutes.Joe was born in the UK in 1957, taught English in a few safe countries, and came to NZ to teach for just one year in 1987. In 1998 he gave up teaching and has since made a living as a writer. He lives in Lyttelton.


9.30 am: Please choose between…

Narrative Poetry & Writing Articles and Essays


Narrative Poetry, with John Newton

Since the birth of the novel in the 18th Century, we have come to expect stories to be told in prose rather than verse. But the history of narrative in verse is a much longer and more complex one. And it’s a mode that’s seen a notable revival in the last few decades. In this talk John will discuss the history of poems that tell stories, talk about some of the problems, and read from a verse novel in progress.John Newton is a poet, literary historian and occasional musician. He was a lecturer in English at the University of Canterbury 1995-2009. Since then, he has been the Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University (2010), and Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato (2014) and the University of Canterbury (2017).  His most recent publications are Family Songbook (VUP 2013) and Hard Frost: Structures of feeling in New Zealand Literature 1908-1945 (VUP 2017).  At present he’s working on a novel in verse, provisionally titled Escape Path Lighting.

Writing Articles and Essays, with Jane Higgins

Short form, creative non-fiction: what makes it memorable? In this workshop you’ll examine some of the pleasures and pitfalls of this form of writing. Please bring along an essay or article that you like so much you wish you’d written it.Jane Higgins is a sociologist working in community-based research and evaluation.  She is the author of two young adult novels, The Bridge and Havoc (both from Text Publishing, Melbourne), and co-author of The Children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school (Otago University Press). She has written numerous research based articles on young people in transition, and is a contributor to Tui Motu magazine.

11 am Morning tea

11.15 am: Please choose between…

Creative Characters & Writing the Environment


Creative Characters, with Jenny Haworth

Creative Characters is a workshop on the various elements that go into making up realistic and fully rounded characters. Jenny will discuss not only what you should decide about your character before you start but also how to develop that character during the writing.Jenny Haworth is a well-known Christchurch writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She has had three novels and many works of non-fiction published. She is currently working on her 4th novel based on the story of New Zealanders in Italy in World War II. She also runs a small publishing company, Wily Publications Ltd.

Writing the Environment, with Teoti Jardin

What does the environment mean to you? Teoti will work with you and take you through how to write with, about and of the environment – how you find it and how it finds you.Teoti Jardine is Waitaha, Kati Mamoe and Kai Tahu. He graduated from the Hagley Writer’s Course 2011. His work has been published in The Press, London Grip, Ora Nui Vols 2 and 3, Te Karaka, JAAM, Catalyst, Aotearotica Vol 3 and Flash Frontier.

12.45 pm Lunch break

1.45pm: Please choose between…

Tripping the Light Fantastic & Publicity and Writing


Tripping the Light Fantastic – writing fantasy for young people, with James Norcliffe

Exploring strategies for writing fantasy for young people. Explore magic, mind manipulation and scares with one of New Zealand’s best fantasy authors. James Norcliffe is a poet, fiction writer and educator. He has written collections of poetry and short stories, and several books for young adults. His writing has been featured in journals and anthologies, and he has also worked extensively as an editor. Norcliffe has won awards and prizes, and has been the recipient of prestigious fellowships, including the 2006 Fellowship at the University of Iowa. For his children21q12s book The Loblolly Boy (2009), Norcliffe won the Junior Fiction Award at the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Publicity and Writing, with Jenny Nagel

Jenny is CEO of The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ) and a member of the Storylines Management Committee. She has a long, varied and extensive career in publishing and is currently a director of OneTree House, an independent children’s press. Jenny’s passion for children’s and young adult writing and education has pervaded all and she is committed to the success of OneTree House. Jenny is a member of the Storylines Management Committee and a member of SLANZA.

3.15 pm Afternoon tea

3.30pm: Please choose between…

Tips and Tools for Revising & Portraying Mental Illness


Tips and Tools for Revising Your Novel, with Joanna Orwin

Learn what to do to turn that flabby mass of words of a first draft into tight, taut prose. Christchurch writer Joanna Orwin has a background in environmental sciences (research and editorial) and a lifelong interest in New Zealand’s landscapes and history. She has published award-winning books that range from commissioned historical, social and environmental non-fiction to historical and adventure novels for children, young adults, and adults. She is currently revising her second adult historical novel.Attendees need to bring along a double-spaced print-out of one chapter of their work (or part chapter – at least one complete major scene) to use for the exercises.

Portraying Mental Illness in Fiction, with Finn Bell

Is my main character a psychopath? Explore writing mental illness in fiction. What’s the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths? How do traumatized people behave? How do you distinguish depression from feeling depressed and how do you reflect these in your writing.Finn Bell is an award winning, Amazon bestselling author. He lives in the far south of New Zealand where he writes full time. To find out more about him or his books visit

Register here, now!


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