NorthWrite 2019: Expanding Horizons

Save the date for this major Northland event for all writers.TEST2

NorthWrite 2019: Expanding horizons – 30 August–1 September 2019 Barge Showgrounds Event Centre, Whangarei.

An exciting programme of master classes, workshops and conversations for fiction and non-fiction writers, poets and editors.

Confirmed presenters include Catherine Chidgey, Kate de Goldi, Simon Minto, Harry Ricketts and Leeanna Morgan.

Entertaining speakers, a meet and greet event and a formal dinner will also feature.

NorthWrite 2018: Information for Participants

Book Sales

We will have a book stall operating over the weekend and you are invited to sell your books on the stall on Sunday. Once you have registered, you will be contacted with more information about this. In the meantime, make sure you have a supply of your books on hand to sell.

Workshop Descriptions

Saturday 10 March 5.30pm

Panel discussion: Diversifying Your Work – Making Your Writing Pay

The Saturday evening panellists, Kathryn Burnett, Whiti Hereaka and Janice Marriott will talk about how they make writing work for them. Their varied writing experiences and writing paths will suggest many possibilities for making your writing pay.

Sunday 11 March 9.30am (Participants choose one workshop)

The Ideas Clinic
Kathryn Burnett

Whether you’re looking for a brand new idea or just want to improve your creative problem solving, this fast and furious idea generation workshop will teach you new brainstorming techniques and leave you re-energised and firing.

Creating Natural Dialogue
Whiti Hereaka

Sharpen your dialogue skills in this session. Learn tips and tricks to create realistic and distinctive dialogue for your characters.

Writing Non-Fiction
Janice Marriott

In a show rather than tell session, Janice will use her own books and experiences to show you how to choose a subject and how to make your writing goal achievable.  She will give you plenty of tips and advice, as well as telling you humorous and moving stories to illustrate her points.

Sunday 11 March 11.30am (Participants choose one workshop.)

Turning Your Idea Into Story
Kathryn Burnett

So you’ve got a great idea – where do you start to turn it into a story? This dynamic, practical writing workshop will help participants take a germ of an idea and expand it into a basic story structure.  Come with pen and paper – and your awesome idea!

New Stories from Old
Whiti Hereaka

Walt Disney built an empire telling new stories from old. This workshop will look at various approaches to developing new works from classic fairy tales and myths and explore the advantages and disadvantages of using well-known works for inspiration.

Writing Memoir
Janice Marriott

This presentation will empower participants to write their own memoirs, of themselves or of other people.  Everyone has stories to tell. The trick is to know how to shape them into a record that gives you and your readers satisfaction. Janice will give examples of how to make recollection come alive. She will include tips about researching, interviewing, and writing. Janice’s presentations aim to entertain as well as inform.

Sunday 11 March 2pm (Participants choose one workshop.)

Smash Your 2018 Writing Goal
Kathryn Burnett

A practical and interactive workshop that gives writers the tools to set achievable writing goals and then smash them. You’ll even discover how you can carve out more time to write!

Publisher and Agent Panel
One Tree House and Vicki Marsdon

Panellists will discuss what publishers are looking for; market trends; preparing work for submission; the editing process; preparing work for self-publication; the role of an agent and the dos and don’ts of approaching an agent.

NorthWrite 2018 Presenters

Kathryn Burnett

Kathryn Burnett is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, story consultant and workshop facilitator who has worked in film and television for over 20 years. She has significant television and film credits – most recently as co-writer on the TVNZ children’s series The Cul de Sac. Kathryn has been shortlisted for the 2017 Adams Best New Play Award and she has a feature film project in pre-production and several other TV projects in development. She wrote the multi-award winning short film Shelved, which was produced by Media Design School in 2012 and was accepted into South by South West and NYC International Film Festivals. In 2011 she created a series of screenwriting and creativity workshops and has been helping writers be their creative best ever since.


Janice Marriott

Janice Marriott is a multi-award-winning writer of novels, memoir, short stories, poetry and children’s books. She has written Kiwi Kidsongs, radio stories and plays and TV scripts for Weta Workshops. Janice has won the NZ Post Junior Fiction Award, Aim Senior Fiction Award, Aim Book of the Year and the Esther Glen Medal for Fiction.

She has co-authored four books of memoir examining the differences between urban and rural living, Common Ground, Common Table, Common Lives, and Changing Lives. She has written a weekly gardening column in the Herald on Sunday, Weekend Gardener, and for five years a shared column in NZ House and Garden. Her short stories have been published in More, Metro, Australian Woman’s Weekly, and North and South and in many anthologies. Her latest book, a series of interviews, Grandparents Talk, is an examination of the role grandparents play in modern New Zealand society.

Janice now helps other people write their stories and achieve their publishing goals at She is a passionate and humorous speaker whose assessment, tutoring and mentoring business shows how writing can soothe us, challenge us, and give us satisfaction and friendship.

Whiti Hereaka

Photo credit Greg Bal

Whiti Hereaka is an award-winning novelist and playwright of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa and Pākehā descent, based in Wellington. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

She is the author of two novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice and the award-winning YA novel, Bugs.

In 2012, Whiti was the recipient of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. Her play Rewena, written during her writer in residency at the Michael King Writers Centre, has been performed nationally and was published in the anthology Here/Now in 2015.

Whiti is a board member of the Māori Literature Trust. She has been involved with Te Papa Tupu, an incubator programme for Māori writers, as a writer, a mentor and a judge.

In 2013, Whiti was invited to the prestigious International Writing Program in Iowa to participate as a writer in residence. She has held a number of writers’ residencies in New Zealand.

Whiti attended the Taipei Book Fair 2015 as one of the authors representing New Zealand as the Guest of Honour country. She participated in the Auckland Writers and the Singapore Writers Festivals in 2015.

Whiti is working on a novel for adults, Kurangaituku, which retells the story of Hatupatu from the bird woman’s point of view.

Jenny Nagle

Jenny Nagle began her publishing career in Hodder & Stoughton’s New Zealand educational division, before moving across the Tasman as Marketing Director. Since then, her 30 years’ experience includes working at Thomas Nelson, HodderHeadline, School Supplies, BestStart Educare, and APN (Kid’s Club). Jenny founded an independent distributor, Addenda and created The Bookie for specialist institutional supply. Jenny served for 4 years on the Australian Publishers’ Association Trade Book Marketing Committee and the NSW Children’s Book Council. She later managed the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Final Programme in NZ.

In June 2017, Jenny became CEO of The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ) and a member of the Storylines Management Committee.

In 2017, Jenny , along with Christine Dale, established One Tree House, an independent children’s press committed to publishing quality children’s literature.

Christine Dale 

Christine Dale has more than 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry. During her time as Publishing Manager at Scholastic NZ Ltd Christine extended the publishing list from 5 to 50 titles a year, over 30 of which went on to win awards. During her time with Scholastic, the company became the leading publisher of children’s books in New Zealand.

Christine is an experienced manuscript assessor. She is also a writer and illustrator. Her first illustration commission in the late 1980s, The Big Block of Chocolate, written by Janet Slater, has recently been reissued in a special edition.

Christine is the current chair of the Storylines Management Committee. In 2017, along with Jenny Nagle, she established the independent children’s press, One Tree House.

Vicki Marsdon

Vicki Marsden’s career in publishing began in the sales and marketing department of Heinemann Education, before she took on the role of their Educational Publisher. She developed the successful children’s list at Reed Publishing NZ and has been Children’s Publisher at Penguin and an Associate Publisher at Harper Collins NZ.

After four years with Wordlink NZ, Vicki has started her own agency, High Spot Literary, with business partner and fellow agent Nadine Rubin Nathan. She is iinterested in working with talented authors across a range of genre, in particular thought-provoking commercial fiction, high quality non-fiction and children’s books.

NorthWrite 2017: National Flash Fiction Day Workshop and Readings

This year’s NorthWrite event will be held at Kings Theatre Creative, Kawakawa, on 25 June 2017 in conjunction with National Flash Fiction Day. It will consist of a one-hour, flash fiction workshop, followed by flash fiction readings from Northland writers. Flash fiction writer, Vivian Thonger, will facilitate the workshop accompanied by improvised music from Ambients. The workshop is $10 per person and can be paid in cash on the day or by internet banking. (Please complete the form below if paying online.) The workshop will run from 1.30 – 2.30pm, followed by an afternoon tea break and then flash fiction readings from 3 – 4pm.


Since ancient times, people have understood that our senses feed off one another, mixing together sensory input in ways that inspire creative impulses and actions. The word synaesthesia describes a condition that a few people consciously experience: seeing sounds or hearing colours, for example. In this workshop, psychologist and flash-fiction writer Vivian Thonger guides participants into the world of sound, specifically improvised music, stimulating writing ideas to emerge and develop. Through a series of linked exercises, everyone is enabled to experience some form of sensory mingling and crossover. The aim is for every participant to generate, singly and in collaboration with others, a significant body of words, phrases and sentences that combine to form the beginnings of flash pieces and stories to take home. Because writing is usually a solitary activity, group work can have a powerful impact in kickstarting new ideas, new creations and fresh productivity. This intensive workshop is designed to have value for writers ranging from novices to veterans. You will leave with a whole heap of inspiration.

Vivian Thonger

Vivian Thonger of Kerikeri, is a writer, poet, performer and musician with degrees in psychology, art and creative writing. She moved to New Zealand in 2014, having previously lived in London, Cornwall, the Netherlands and Washington DC. A master moderator and qualitative professional for 30 years, Vivian has conducted hundreds of creativity sessions and trainings, for corporations, small companies, non-profits and clubs.

Her flash fiction has been published online on the Write Up North website, Flash Frontier and International Flash Fiction. This year’s highlights include her stint as resident poet at CollaboratioNZ 2017, a biennial international art event, and being asked to judge Whangarei District Libraries 2017 Flash Fiction Competition. She is a co-founder of the Bay of Islands Writers Group.

Vivian is also an enthusiastic member of Whangarei’s ImprovMob, purveyors of acting games and chaos, Northland’s Poetry Posse and co-founder and percussionist with Ambients, an ensemble creating spontaneous musical atmospheres.

Please complete the following form if you wish to pay by internet banking

NorthWrite 2016: Competition Judges

We have already started receiving entries for the NorthWrite 2016 writing competition and look forward to many more. A reminder that this competition is open to Northland writers only and the prize is attendance at a National writer’ conference. You can find the guidelines and entry form here. The closing date is Monday 28 March. As this is Easter Monday entries postmarked 29 March will be accepted. Our judges are Mandy Hagar and James George.

Mandy Hager

Mandy HagarMandy Hager is a multi-award winning writer of fiction for young adults, and is a tutor on Whitirea NZ’s creative writing programme. Her most recent award is the 2015 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year with Singing Home the Whale, and in 2014 she was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, one of New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious writing awards, which enabled her to spend six months living in Menton, in the South of France as she researched a new project.

She has won the LIANZA Book Award for YA fiction three times (Smashed, 2008, The Nature of Ash, 2013, Dear Vincent, 2014), the New Zealand Post Book Award for Young Adult fiction (The Crossing, 2010), an honour award in the 1996 Aim Children’s Book Awards (Tom’s Story), Word Weavers Excellence Award (2002), Golden Wings Award (2003) and five Notable Book awards. Her Blood of the Lamb’ trilogy has been published in the United States by Pyr Books. She has also been awarded the Beatson Fellowship (2012) and Writer In Residence at Waikato University (2015).

As well as the above books, she writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles, and has a passion for writing “stories that matter”.

James George

James GeorgeJames George is a fiction writer of Ngāpuhi, English and Irish descent. His first published novel was Wooden Horses in 2000. His 2003 novel Hummingbird was a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2004 and the Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize 2005. An excerpt from Hummingbird, Zeta Orionis, won the premiere award in the Māori Literature Awards 2001. His third novel, Ocean Roads, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in the South East Asia and South Pacific region. In 2007, he was the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. He has recently completed his fourth novel, Sleepwalkers’ Songs, due out mid-2016. He is a tutor at the AUT Centre for Creative Writing, and has previously taught creative writing at the University of Auckland (Continuing Education) and Unitec. James is a trustee of Toi Māori Aotearoa – Māori Arts New Zealand and is the current chair of Te Ha, its literature committee. James is based in Auckland, but sees Northland as his “ancestral and spiritual home”.

NorthWrite 2016: Writing Competition for Northland Writers

We have been a bit quiet lately organising our NorthWrite event for 2016. This year it is a competition open to writers residing in Northland. We realise a number of our followers are not from Northland but please do continue to follow us as we will be organising open events in the future. And if you happen to know a Northland writer who might not be following us then please pass on this information.


Registration at a 2016 national writers’ conference of your choice to the value of up to $700. For conferences where the registration fees are less than this amount, the balance of the prize may be used to cover travel and/or accommodation costs (receipts are required). A list of the conferences covered by this prize is set out below.

The competition

Entrants are asked to submit one piece of unpublished writing of up to 2000 words in length that has been inspired in some way by the land, people or history of Northland. This may be in any genre (short story, flash fiction, novel excerpt, essay, article or poem).

Competition guidelines

Entrants must:

  • be 18 years old or over
  • be permanent residents of Northland*
  • complete the attached entry form (download here), including a short statement of up to 500 words explaining how attendance at the conference will support their progress as a writer. (This statement will be taken into account by the judges.)

One entry per person only.

The entry must be the original work of the writer and must not have been published, either in print or online.

The writer’s name and contact information must be on the entry form only. Any submissions with the writer’s name or other details on the writing entry will be disqualified.

Entries should be 1.5 or double spaced and printed on one side of the paper only.

Post two copies of the entry form and two copies of your writing submission to:

NorthWrite Competition

PO Box 841

Kerikeri 0245

Entries close on Monday 28 March at 5pm.

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Copyright of entries will remain with the writers.

The results and judges’ comments will be published on the NorthWrite website.

The Northland Branch of NZSA reserves the right to publish the winning entry on their NorthWrite website.

Should the winner be unable to attend their chosen conference, the prize may be awarded to another finalist at the organisers’ discretion.

Entry fee

The entry fee is $15, to be paid by internet banking or at a bank to ANZ account number 06-0493-0251640-00. Please use your surname/family name and initial as a reference when making this payment.

*The Far North, Whāngārei and Kaipara Districts make up Northland. If you live in one of these districts you are eligible to enter.

Auckland Writers Festival
10 – 15 MAY 2016

The Auckland Writers Festival brings the very best local and international writers of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, scientists, economists, poets, journalists and public intellectuals together with audiences to explore ideas, share stories and experience brilliant conversations. We celebrate curiosity and a sense of intellectual adventure and our programme is driven by the desire to spark ideas, to get us talking and to give us a time and place to engage with the world.

Click here for more information

Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ) Conference
12 – 14 AUGUST 2016

Keynote speaker, Michael Hauge, will be conducting his Story Mastery full-day workshop on Friday and speaking throughout the weekend. Kathryn Burnett (script and screen writer) will also present. The line-up of speakers over the weekend will inspire, educate and entertain writers at all stages of their writing journey. More information on other speakers will be posted as it comes to hand.

Click here for more information

IBBY Congress
18 – 21 AUGUST 2016

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organisation representing an international network of countries and people, mostly volunteers, dedicated to bringing books and children together.

Nearly two decades into the 21st century it is time to reflect on and to redefine what it means to be literate and what young people’s literature might ‘look like’ in a future where story is conveyed, not only through written and oral modes but also, increasingly, through visual, gestural, spatial and digital modes. This Congress offers a forum for delegates from throughout the world to discuss these challenges and offer solutions.

Click here for more information

Going West Books and Writers Festival
9 – 11 SEPTEMBER 2016

This annual literary festival takes place in Waitakere City each September and is dedicated to celebrating the writing of New Zealand authors. Going West will sponsor a double ticket if the winner selects this festival.
Click here for more information

National Writers’ Forum
17 – 19 SEPTEMBER 2016

The National Writers’ Forum is an exciting new event on New Zealand’s literary calendar.

It is for people who write – books, graphic novels, poetry, flash-fiction and interactive forms.

The National Writers’ Forum will deliver detailed information on particular subjects with master classes, workshops, case studies, keynote speakers and panel discussion.

It is a two day intensive where writers will talk, learn and share information about the craft of writing and the business of getting published – traditional, hybrid and indie – print and digital. It will discuss the prospects for writers in the new democracy of the digital world and the state of play in New Zealand right now.

Māori Writers Festival
15 –16 or 22 – 23 OCTOBER 2016

This will be a fabulous conference for Māori writers. We will keep you informed as dates are confirmed and as other details come to hand.

Registrations for NorthWrite 2015 are open

Welcome to Northwrite 2015. This year we are organising a one-day event focusing on self-publishing and exploring the steps involved in producing a successful publication. We are planning two workshop streams, one for those interested in writing for their families and/or local communities (whānau publishing), and another for writers planning to publish for the commercial market. These will be held at Maungatapere School (10 minutes west of Whangarei) on 18 April 2015 from 9am to 4.30pm. Our member and guest presenters will share their experiences of self-publishing and provide practical and relevant information. The two workshop streams will ensure that those writing for the trade and those writing for their families or community will receive tuition targeted to their needs. We plan that NorthWrite 2015 will benefit both writers and a more general audience that includes historians, genealogists, and people who support those nearing the end of their lives to record their experiences and their memoirs. The event will open with a panel discussion where Northland branch members will discuss their self-publishing experiences. This has been designed as an opportunity to share practical information and we hope that their experiences will generate further discussion during the day about the work and practice of being an “indie” writer.

After the panel discussion the commercial stream will offer presentations on:

  • project management
  • writing and editing
  • design
  • pricing and distribution
  • marketing
  • ebooks
  • contracts

Our guest presenters are:

  • Gay Hay and Brenda Martin of Page Break. They have self-published three picture books. Their third is currently being printed and will be hot off the press in April and their fourth is being illustrated. Their books have been shortlisted for a LIANZA Award in 2012 and the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2013. They have also published a non-fiction handbook book for teachers, which has been a commercial success.
  • Marie Low, an Auckland designer, who will discuss the contribution that good design makes to a publication. Marie has been shortlisted for the PANZ Book Design Awards on a number of occasions. She won the Pearson Award for best Educational Book in 2009 with Esther Chua.
  • Gillian Hughes, an experienced public relations specialist, who will cover marketing issues. Gillian worked in the advertising industry in New Zealand and overseas, before joining New Holland Publishers in 2002. She then moved to Allen & Unwin Publishers as Senior Publicist, working on a huge list of international authors. In 2009, Gillian set up her own PR business. She works for publishing houses and with self-published authors. Gillian recently joined Lighthouse PR.
  • Annemarie Florian who has published a number of children’s book including the award-winning Kiwi: The Real Story. She is the owner of Storytime Books in Whangarei. Annemarie has extensive knowledge and experience in the New Zealand book trade. She will give us the lowdown on the current distribution options available in this country.

The whānau stream will offer presentations on:

  • project types (memoir, poetry, photography, community history)
  • research, writing, and editing
  • the choice and placement of photographs, maps, and other illustrations and images
  • design issues and publication formats
  • printing
  • contracts with editors and printers.

The whānau programme will be presented by Northland writers Di Menefy and Kath Wynn, and freelance editor Lesley Marshall. Between them, they have a wealth of experience producing local histories and memoirs. Marie Low will talk about design, and an ebook session will be available for those interested.

Registrations open 1 March 2015.

Early bird registrations (before 1 April 2015):

  • NZ Society of Authors members $75
  • Non-members $85

Registrations from 1 April 2015:

  • NZ Society of Authors members $90
  • Non-members $100

Registrations close 16 April 2015.

Download the registration form here: Registration Form

If you have any questions please use the Ask Us A Question page.

NorthWrite 2015 is on the way!

NorthWrite 2014 held in May this year was a great success. Our guest speaker and workshop presenter, Janice Galloway, was an engaging and inspiring speaker whose ideas were insightful and entertaining.

Diana Menefy and Pippa Werry’s presentations on The Truth and the Dead and War Stories for Children were well received. Participants found the overarching guidelines helpful and the content stimulating, while the notion of what children and young adults can actually cope with in terms of historical accuracy was fascinating and raised questions about how war is portrayed and sanitised for differing purposes.

Our Sunday workshops were also popular with one of the attendees telling us the Japanese poetry session (presented by Maureen Sudlow) was one of the best workshops she’d ever been to. Trish Nicholson’s workshop Finding Deep Character was excellent with lots of practical tips. This was a prototype workshop that Trish then took to Europe. If you are interested in her workshop tour read about it in her blog here. As with any workshop from the wonderful editing wizard, Lesley Marshall, participants were left hungry for more and enjoyed the combination of “broad brush” techniques as well as the “nitty gritty”. Zana Bell’s presentation, From Universes to Laundry Lists: World-building across the genres, was “unexpectedly applicable” according to one participant and provided useful advice for expanding any world, even contemporary ones. Rae Roadley’s Creative Non-fiction workshop inspired at least one attendee to start writing again, while others found the content interesting and thought provoking. The Digital Process presented by Kathy Derrick was also well received and provided excellent, practical information for loading e-books onto Amazon.

With NorthWrite 2014 behind us, it is time to look ahead to NorthWrite 2015. We are organising a one-day event focusing on various forms of indie/self-publishing and exploring the steps involved in producing a successful publication. There will be two workshop streams, one for those interested in writing for their families and/or local communities, and another for writers planning to publish for the commercial market. This will be held just outside Whangarei on 18 April 2015. We are putting the programme together now and will keep you informed on the NorthWrite site.