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Writers in Schools: Still young at heart
By Book Council Education Manager Sarah Forster

It has been 37 years since screenwriter Arthur Baysting went to Bream Bay College in Ruakaka in Northland on the Book Council’s first Writers in Schools visit, and we’re thrilled that students and teachers in over 200 schools a year continue to be inspired by visits from experienced and passionate writers.

In May, we invited the Hon Chris Finlayson, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Vlasta Shanahan, one of the Book Council’s longest-serving board members, to come and see Writers in Schools in action. We wanted to show off and we were pleased to see that Writers in Schools can still impress.

Mr Finlayson attended a workshop by Kate De Goldi with students at Scots College, and found himself ‘as interested in what she was saying as they were. It was great to…see how enthusiastic the response was from the students… This sort of direct engagement can only assist in developing the next generation of New Zealand writers’.

Our writers’ visits typically see a writer talking to a group of students about the journey they’ve taken to become a writer, followed by a discussion of one or more of their writing projects. Writers talk about how they get ideas, where to look for inspiration, and give a performance of their work. Writers are then guided by the teacher as to the focus of the rest of the session. Students' curiousity is encouraged with plenty of opportunity for questions and answers.

Vlasta Shanahan was inspired by her visit to Parnell Primary School with Writers in Schools poet Paula Green. ‘The pupils were well prepared, attentive, extremely lively and interested and interacted with her very well. She brought to life her own poems by showing the children how to read them, to deliver clearly and well. The children were then invited to all make up a short poem of their own, to choose each word very carefully, and then to say it to the whole group out loud, bringing it to life’.

Many schools request a writing workshop. The chance to work directly with a writer is often where the real value of an author visit lies. Seeing the great benefits for students of this kind of attention from experienced writers, we launched a Creative Coaching Writers’ Residencies programme late last year. Writers spend a longer period of time in classrooms, deepening the Writers in Schools experience. A student from Waiotahe Valley School, involved in a Creative Coaching Writers’ Residencies experience said, ‘I’ve been making paragraphs. I didn’t used to make paragraphs. I didn’t know how to, but now I’ve improved a lot.’

Do your kids receive the benefits of Writers in Schools? Talk to their teachers, and send through a link to our education pages so they can find out more. There is even a great section for Parents to find out more about our wonderful New Zealand writers!

Five Easy Questions with Pip Adam

Pip Adam was winner of the 2011 NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction with her short story collection, Everything We Hoped for. She is currently working toward her PhD in Creative Writing at Victoria University, exploring new ways of representing the large built forms of architecture and engineering in imaginative writing.

1. How would you describe Everything We Hoped for in five words?
Sundry people doing their best.

2. What is the weirdest thing you’ve found out about architecture and engineering in your PhD research?
A lot of engineering language sounds sexy. Things are forever coupling or being forced into each other and there's frequent mention of rigid members. I went through a strange adolescence around this. Engineers don't a bat an eyelid and at first I was very pleased with myself for noticing this hilarious joke while everyone else had straight faces. Then as I learnt more about engineering I began to suspect that I wasn't so clever, that there was something past my arrogance that I might never get and I became desperate to get it. So I let go of being clever, and listened. I've started to see that building structure is this elegant embrace of form and force and now when I see it I get this deep twist of excitement and wonder. So, I guess the weirdest thing I've found is that I'm a bit weird for buildings.
3. Which short stories do you read again and again?
At the moment I can't stop reading 'The Pugilist at Rest' by Thom Jones.

4. What’s the best bit of advice anyone has ever given you?
Damien Wilkins is my PhD supervisor and he was my MA supervisor and often when I come to him with a huge problem I'm having with a story he says, 'Just keep writing,' or 'Try and write your way out of it.' This invariably works.
5. What’s on your bedside table?
C by Tom McCarthy, The Secret Lives of Buildings by Edward Hollis, and Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg.

Book Council News

Improvements for Book Council members

We’d like to let Book Council members know that we are making some changes to our membership administration.

For the past few years, new memberships, renewals and member information have been handled by a subscription agency, The Magazine Marketing Company.

From July 1, we are bringing all our membership administration back in-house. We expect this will enable us to get closer to our members, and to handle enquiries and requests more directly and efficiently.

You will receive will more information about what these changes mean in practice when your membership comes up for renewal. We will be sending this information by email if we hold a current email address, and it will include details on how you can now renew your membership and update contact information securely online.

In the meantime, you can contact us on 04 801 5546 or at if you have any questions about membership or the Book Council’s activities.

And of course we always welcome new members. Visit for more information, or call us on 04 801 5546.

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True Stories Told Live
Watch True Stories Told Live at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival online by clicking through to our homepage via the image below.

Residency, workshop and competition applications

Please note this is only a sample of literary opportunities from the news page on our website:

Kāpiti Island Māori writer's residency announced for 2011

The Tau Mai e Kāpiti Māori Writer's Residency, funded by Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand and hosted by Kaitiaki o Kāpiti Trust, was held for the first time in June and July 2008, allowing a Māori writer to live and work on Kāpiti Island for eight weeks. John Barrett of the Trust says, "It’s great news that the residency has received funding for a third year". A stipend of $4800 is attached to the residency.

"We're looking forward to applications from a new group of writers from all genres, and to assisting another potential Māori best seller into the world of literature,‟ John says. The northern end of Kāpiti includes the island's last remaining Māori-owned land, adjoining the internationally regarded predator-free nature reserve Kāpiti is well-known for.

‘The idea is that the writer gets a chance to hear some of the stories of the island, historical and contemporary, and to create their own writings in this extraordinary natural environment,’ says Minnie Clark from the Kaitiaki o Kāpiti Trust.

The closing date for applications is 15 July 2011. The selection panel's decision will be announced by the 5th August, with the residency commencing at the beginning of September 2011. For an application form, write to: Minnie Clark 'Tau mai e Kāpiti' Māori Writer's Residency 2011, P O Box 28 Otaki 5542 Aotearoa / New Zealand or email

The Montreal International Poetry Prize
A new and ground-breaking poetry competition opened on March 24 of this year, which will award $50,000 for a single poem. The Montreal International Poetry Prize will award $50,000 for a single poem in any style and in any English dialect. The organisers will also produce an annual global poetry anthology.

To reflect its global perspective, the Montreal Prize has assembled an editorial board of accomplished poets from Australia, Canada, England, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Nigeria, Northern Ireland and the US. These poets will select 50 poems for the competition's shortlist, which will be published in a unique global poetry anthology, representing the very latest work from around the world. From these finalists, Andrew Motion will select the winner of the prize.

Find out about this ambitious, fun and inspiring new project for poets here: The final entry deadline for the competition is July 8.

The Caselberg Trust Creative Connections residency

The Caselberg Trust will be funding a new Creative Connections residency at its cottage in Broad Bay, Dunedin. The residency, which will be offered on an annual basis for a period of between 3 and 6 months, is open to people residing in New Zealand, and will pay a stipend of $6000 for the successful applicant.

Applications for the 2012 Creative Connections residency open on Monday 6 June, and run through to Wednesday 31 August.

The Trust is looking specifically for projects that reach out, and make links, across a variety of creative media, professional disciplines, and/or communities relevant to the planned project. For more information visit The Caselberg Trust website.

The Kathleen Grattan Prize 2011

This annual competition is run by International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc, and has been made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust. There is one prize of $2500 payable to the winner for a sequence of poems. The prize is shared equally if there is more than one winner. Entrants to the competition must be members of International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc, having joined by 1st July 2011, and must be resident in New Zealand.

Membership is $25 if electing to receive newsletter by email, otherwise $30. Copies of the rules are on the International Writers' Workshop website - - go to the competitions page.

The NZ Writers' College 2011 Annual Short Story Competition

For emerging writers in New Zealand and Australia. This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the short story genre. The contest is open to any writer residing in New Zealand and Australia who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format (print or digital).

First prize: $1000.00; Second Prize: $500.00. The top two entries will be published on the college site and the top five winners will receive individual editorial feedback on their submitted work. Deadline: 30 September 2011. Entries must be sent via e-mail to Nichola Meyer at Entry is free. Theme: The Curveball. For more information visit the NZ Writers' College website.

The New Zealand Book Council receives core funding from Creative New Zealand. We are extremely grateful to our funding partners, who enable us to deliver our programmes. We also value your membership, which supports our work in schools and communities throughout New Zealand.

The winners of the two poetry packages, courtesy of Victoria University Press, which include The Best of Best New Zealand Poems, Vincent O'Sullivan's The movie may be slightly different, and Jenny Bornholdt's The Hill of Wool, are Marlene Brown of Mt Albert, and Helen Anderson of Totara Heights.

We have two copies of The Larnachs by Owen Marshall to give away, courtesy of Random House New Zealand.

Enter by emailing with the name 'Larnachs' in the subject line, and your New Zealand postal address in the body of the email. Entries must be received by 12 noon on 12th of July.

Each month an industry insider tells us about books they're looking forward to seeing in the bookshops in the weeks ahead.

This month Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb, bookseller at University Book Shop Otago, gives us her pick of July releases. Read more about the store in their Booksellers NZ member profile.

We are very excited about the collection Small Holes in the Silence: Collected Poems by Hone Tuwhare (Random House). A few of the poems are previously unpublished, and some newly translated into Māori. Tuwhare is still so very popular, indeed loved, and most collections are now unavailable. It is great to have him back on the shelf in a new guise.

Great, a new book from Ann Patchett, the author of Run and Bel Canto! State of Wonder (Allen & Unwin) focuses on Marina Singh, a pharmaceutical researcher, who sets off into the Amazon jungle to find the remains and effects of a colleague who recently died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Along with the jungle’s unforgiving humidity and insects, Dr. Singh must face her own disappointments and regrets as well as her estranged former mentor. This sounds atmospheric, intense, unsettling and beautifully crafted - can’t wait to read it.

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon by Martin Edmond (Auckland University Press) will be a must-read for McCahon fans and those intrigued by the strength and vulnerability of our minds. In 1984, New Zealand artist Colin McCahon went missing for 24 hours in Sydney. Found the next morning, kilometres from where he started, he had no memory of who he was or where he had been. In this fascinating work of creative nonfiction Martin Edmond explores the possible wanderings of McCahon, physical and psychological, as well as the nature of art and the foundations of faith.

James Francis won first prize in the inaugural BNZ Literary Awards Short Short Story Award for his story 'Whoo eh!'. It was chosen out of more than 300 entries to the world-first competition, run entirely on Facebook, by blogger Graham Beattie.
The 2011 Icon Award recipients are writer Barbara Anderson, photographer Marti Friedlander, filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson, sculptor Greer Twiss and concert organist Dame Gillian Weir. Read more about The Icon Awards here.
The finalists in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards have been announced. The Category Award winners and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in Wellington on 27 July 2011. For more information about the awards please visit Booksellers NZ website. The full list of finalists in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards by category are:

The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Group NZ)
The Night Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, Random House NZ)
Their Faces Were Shining by Tim Wilson (Victoria University Press)

The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls by Kate Camp (Victoria University Press)
The Radio Room by Cilla McQueen (Otago University Press)
Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English – Whetu Moana II by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan (Auckland University Press)

General Non-fiction
99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry by Paula Green and Harry Ricketts (Vintage, Random House NZ)
Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of NZ Popular Music 1918-1964 by Chris Bourke (Auckland University Press
Mune: An Autobiography by Ian Mune (Craig Potton Publishing)
No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson by Paul Millar (Auckland University Press)
The Tasman: Biography of an Ocean by Neville Peat (Penguin Group NZ)

Illustrated Non-Fiction
Brian Brake: Lens on the World by Athol McCredie (Te Papa Press)
Pounamu by Russell Beck, Maika Mason and Andris Apse (Viking, Penguin Group NZ)
Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton by Nigel Watson and Jane Ussher (Murdoch Books)
The Dress Circle by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Claire Regnault and Lucy Hammonds (Godwit, Random House NZ)
The Passing World: The Passage of Life: John Hovell and the Art of Kowhaiwhai by Dr. Damian Skinner (Rim Books)

Also announced are the three New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards Winners. The Best First Book Awards for Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers. Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner receives $2,500.

Wellington writer, Pip Adam wins the 2011 NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction with her short story collection, Everything We Hoped for (Victoria University Press).

The 2011 NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry goes to Kapiti Coast writer, former psychologist and counsellor, Lynn Jenner, for her collection, Dear Sweet Harry (Auckland University Press).

Dunedin-based, Māori academic, Dr. Poia Rewi, wins the 2011 NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction for Whaikōrero: The World of Māori Oratory (Auckland University Press).
LIANZA (The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) received over 100 nominations for their 2011 Children’s Book Awards with the prestigious LIANZA Esther Glen award receiving the highest number of submissions by publishers. Awarded by librarians for outstanding children’s literature in New Zealand, the LIANZA Awards are for excellence in Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Illustration, Non-Fiction and Te Reo Māori. For a full list of finalists please visit the LIANZA website.
The Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers, formerly known as the HUIA Short Story Awards, were set up in 1995 and held in an effort to find Māori writers. Huia Publishers has since published hundreds of books, including many award-winning titles, and continues to host the Pikihuia Awards with the support of the Māori Literature Trust. The 2011 Pikihuia Award Finalists have been announced and can be viewed on Huia Publishers website.
The Sir Julius Vogel Awards recognise excellence in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror by New Zealanders. The awards are given for work by fans and professionals that was undertaken, completed or released in the year previous to voting. This year the works being voted on are from 2010. To view the award winners visit the Awards website.
The shortlisted titles for the PANZ Book Design Awards have been announced. View shortlisted titles and high-resolution images of the books at

Please note this is only a sample of events from the events page on our website:

Writers on Mondays, Wellington
11th July, 12.15 to 1.15pm
Writers in Mondays 2011 kicks off with multi-author event, featuring Airini Beautrais, Jenny Bornholdt and Bernadette Hall. Chaired by Bill Manhire.
Venue: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa, Cable St, Wellington
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