Writers In Schools

What is Writers in Schools?

In 2017, the Writers in Schools programme involved over

  • 40,000 students
  • 5,000 teachers
  • 500 schools
  • 200 Kiwi writers

The New Zealand Book Council Te Kaunihera Pukapuka o Aotearoa Writers in Schools programme has been at the core of our charity work for over forty years. It inspires tens-of-thousands of children and teenagers to develop a love of reading and writing by bringing a writer or illustrator into their classroom.

Not only does the Book Council talk the talk, it walks the talk. I’m constantly amazed at the range of work it does for our books and writers. What would the industry do without it? One great activity it organises is for writers to go into schools. A real author in the classroom? You can’t get better than that.

– Witi Ihimaera

“Writers in Schools is a very valuable resource and we are extremely fortunate to have quality authors available to speak to, and interact with our students.”
– Chilton St James School, Wellington

“I really enjoyed the sessions and since then I have a notebook in my room. I will write really interesting stories now. I also liked how you said a writer’s brain is like a blender.”
– Year 6 student, Waimate Centennial School

“Creativity, compassion, hope and joy: these are the messages I hope to share through my writing, and also through my work in schools.”

– Author Mandy Hager

How does it work?

We bring writers and illustrators to your school, either in person or through a Skype session.

We have over 200 of Aotearoa's best novelists, journalists, poets, playwrights, non-fiction writers, storytellers and illustrators registered as part of the Writers in Schools programme.

They span the length and breadth of the country, and our booking form matches your needs with a suitable guest.

As well as one off classroom visits, the Writers in Schools programme provides a range of options for participation in creative writing workshops, literary tours, public events, book festivals and more:

  • Classroom visits
  • Skype visits
  • Playwright visits
  • Regional writers’ tours
  • Speed Date An Author events
  • Literary festival events
  • Museum and public library events
  • Words on Wheels regional tour
  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults events
  • Annual Schools’ Community Project

How much does it cost?

If your school is a current member of the New Zealand Book Council Te Kaunihera Pukapuka o Aotearoa, you can apply for a subsidised Writers in Schools visit.

The subsidised visit includes:

  • Paying for a writer or illustrator to host an online session, or to visit your school for a morning or an afternoon (maximum of three hours).
  • A contribution of up to $100.00 towards their travel costs.
  • This means that an online session or a half-day visit from a writer living within 40km of your school could be fully covered by the funding.

When you want a writer to visit your school in person, you can extend their time to a full day, have workshops included, bring someone in from outside your region, or have them stay on for professional development with your teachers – if your budget allows for the additional costs.

Additional costs (excl. GST)

Workshops: $55.00
The Book Council defines a workshop as anything where the students produce a piece of their own work, or create something, under the guidance of the writer or illustrator during a visit. Often these take additional time to prepare and involve the provision of additional materials. A writer can repeat the same workshop for different groups of students.
Full day extension (anything over three hours): $95.00
Extra travel time: $90
Professional development (up to two hours): $355
Author flights
Airport transfers and other travel reimbursements
Per diems

A quote for these expenses is always provided before the visit is confirmed.

Key dates and deadlines for booking a Writers in Schools visit

Mon 16 Oct 2017
Bookings open for Term 1, 2018

Fri 15 Dec 2017
Bookings close for Term 1, 2018
Bookings open for Term 2, 2018

Thur 29 March 2018
Bookings close for Term 2, 2018
Bookings open for Term 3, 2018

Fri 22 June 2018
Bookings close for Term 3, 2018
Bookings open for Term 4, 2018

Fri 14 Sept 2018
Bookings close for Term 4, 2018

Mon 15 Oct 2018
Bookings open for Term 1, 2019

Fri 14 Dec 2018
Bookings close for Term 1, 2019

Apply for a visit

Sign up for membership

Renew membership

Annual Schools Community Project

The Ōtāhuhu schools community project is about reading and writing, but it’s also about family, identity and culture. It’s about the relationship between writers and readers, and what happens when feelings and thoughts are explored through words. Through this project, we make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people.
Previous NZ Book Council CEO Catriona Ferguson.

Our Writers in Schools programme has been running for more than 40 years, and part of its success is down to our commitment to keeping things fresh and finding new and innovative ways to engage students in reading and writing. This was the starting point for our annual schools community project in Ōtāhuhu.

The Ōtāhuhu journey started in 2013, when we began an informal conversation with the National Library and the Reading Together programme (which is a project based in low decile schools that encourages family and whānau to read to their children) about collaborative projects that would make a real difference in the community.

The annual Schools Community Project gives students the chance to get up close and personal with some fantastic writers, provides some alternative role models for children, and uncovers some budding writers.

Every year, five low decile schools in Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland host five diverse Aotearoa writers in residence over terms three and four. The writers encourage and inspire the students to develop their creative writing talents, and help them to publish their work in a series of anthologies.

I love working with the children to get their perspectives and experiences of the world down on paper. I look forward to every visit to the school. Their good humour, high spirits, and willingness to work and improve make my sessions there happy, productive and energising.
Paula Morris, writer.

Families in the community also have the chance to participate in workshops, exploring the ideas their children write about. They give the writers suggestions of what might draw their children out. And some, much to their own surprise, do some writing themselves.

And let’s not forget the teachers – over 100 of them enjoy writing workshops and professional development sessions with our five writers, which spark ideas to get their students enjoying all that a good book has to offer.

Classroom teachers who are giving out every day crave nourishment, and you provided it in spades.
Liz Horgan, St Joseph’s Principal.

Every year the project culminates in a celebratory book launch for students and their families at the Ōtāhuhu Pātaka Kōrero Ōtāhuhu Library.

Read out CEO Catriona Ferguson’s reflections on the 2015 celebration at Ōtāhuhu Pātaka Kōrero Ōtāhuhu Library.

Read writer Paula Morris's experience of being a writer in residence for our 2015 community project..

Read author Melinda Szymanik's experience of being a writer in residence for our 2016 community project.

Participating schools and writers

  • Ōtāhuhu Intermediate hosted Paula Morris in 2015 and 2016.
  • St Joseph’s Ōtāhuhu hosted Lino Nelisi in 2015 and Selina Tusitala Marsh in 2016.
  • Ōtāhuhu Primary hosted Vasanti Unka in 2015 and 2016.
  • Panama Road School hosted Grace Taylor in 2015 and Melinda Szymanik in 2016.
  • Fairburn School hosted Paula Green in 2015 and Tony Williams in 2016.

For more information on our annual schools community project, email our Programmes Manager Kathryn Carmody kathryn@bookcouncil.org.nz

Speed Date an Author

One morning. Four 25-minute workshops. Four of Aotearoa’s best writers and illustrators. What can your students achieve in this time? What ideas will you take back to your classroom?

Interactive workshops are a great way to learn, and Speed Date an Author events allow your school’s budding writers the opportunity to train with some of Aotearoa’s best poets, journalists, novelists, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators.

We organise six Speed Date an Author events every year. New Zealand Book Council Te Kaunihera Pukapuka o Aotearoa member schools are alerted first so that they can secure a booking early, and are offered a discount rate.

Schools can select ten of their most deserving pupils to take part in one of these fantastic mornings, which are usually held at a high school, local library or museum. Students are divided into four groups, with a maximum of twenty students in each.

The groups rotate around the workshops, enabling them to work closely with every writer and illustrator. Teachers who accompany their students have the chance to participate, get some great professional development, and network with colleagues.

For information email our Programmes Manager Kathryn Carmody.