National Board

NZSA President – John Cranna

John Cranna was the Auckland Branch Chair of the Society of Authors for four years. He is the Director and founder of the Creative Hub Writing Centre in downtown Auckland, which employs a number of leading NZ authors as mentors and tutors. Many of its graduates have published novels or won prizes in national writing awards, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners in the recent Sunday Star Times National Short Story Award. John has published two books of fiction, one of non-fiction, and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, and the NZ Book Award for Fiction. He grew up in NZ but lived for ten years in London where he worked on urban renewal campaigns in UK’s premier red-light and crime district, Kings Cross. His books have been published in Australia, UK and France.

He wrote the screenplay for the short film Accidents which was shown at the Venice Film Festival and other festivals around the world. From 2000 to 2005 he was managing editor of AA Directions which rose from fifth to most-read magazine in NZ with nearly a million readers. The National Business Review called this relaunch ‘one of the most remarkable transformations in New Zealand media history‘. John ascribes this success to the fact that the magazine paid the best / word rate in New Zealand to its writers. ‘Writers excel when they’re well paid,’ he says.

John founded the AUT University Centre for Modern Writing, where he designed the Masters of Creative Writing, and was voted Best Post-Graduate Teacher by students at the University. He is also the Director of a communications consultancy


Regional Delegates

Cristina Sanders – Central Districts Regional Delegate

Cristina Sanders lives in Hawke’s Bay, writes NZ colonial fiction and short stories and has a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing. Jerningham, her novel on the founding of Wellington, is due for publication soon, and she is currently working on a YA series. She grew up in Wellington’s Gateway Bookshop and has worked in libraries, for Collins Publishers NZ, Hodder & Stoughton UK and Booksellers NZ. She’s run two start-ups, worked in marketing and digital media, and teaches ESL to adult immigrants. In her spare time she studies history, runs hills and writes a book review blog.

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Susan Battye – Northern Districts Regional Delegate

Christchurch born, Susan Battye is an Auckland based educational consultant, playwright, teacher, editor, author and developer of children’s books, short stories and educational e and print based resources.

She has written many plays including; The Shadow of the Valley (with Thelma Eakin, OUP 1980), Living In, The Singing Lesson, Easy as Pie, (Longman Paul), Back Where You Belong (Meriwether USA), Jigsaw (Harcourt Reed NZ). Her dramatic sketch, Kiwis in Paradise was a finalist in the USA 2016 ‘Saving Endangered Species’ International Playwriting Competition. Her award winning short story, Mocked was published by NZSA Top in Horizons 3 (2017).

In addition to her educational titles for NCEA English, Social Studies and Drama with Sigma Publications, User Friendly Resources and ESA Publications, Battye has authored two novels in the Scholastic My Story New Zealand series: The Mine’s Afire! (with Thelma Eakin), shortlisted for the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book awards and Cup Magic.

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Philippa Werry – Vice President and Wellington Regional Delegate

philippa_werry_mdPhilippa Werry is a children’s writer who began her career writing for the School Journal. Since then, her non-fiction, stories, plays and poems have been widely published and several of her children’s novels and non-fiction titles have been shortlisted for book awards or named as Storylines Notable Books. Philippa lives in Wellington; she is an online writing tutor, maintains several blogs and visits schools around the country as part of the Writers in Schools programme.

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Ray Berard – Central and Northern South Island Regional Delegate

Ray Berard is a Canadian born Kiwi writer based in Christchurch. He immigrated to New Zealand 1994 and had the fortune to live and work in many parts of the country. Writing was always a passion of his, and 2010 he was able to devote himself full time to writing his first novel, Inside the Black Horse based on a diary he kept during his years working in South Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. The book was released in October 2015 and received considerable critical acclaim, making the NZ Listener’s top 100 books for 2015. The long list for the Dublin International literary award, and winning the Ngaio Marsh Debut Novel in 2016. Ray has been a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors for several years and these days divides his time between help


Vanda Symon – Otago/Southland Regional Delegate

Vanda is the Author of the Detective Sam Shephard crime fiction series and the stand alone thriller The Faceless. She is a three time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction novel. A Dunedin resident, Vanda produces and hosts a monthly radio show for the Otago Southland NZSA called Write On, broadcast on Otago Access Radio, and is a regular reviewer for National Radio. Among the many roles she enjoys, Vanda is a writing mentor for the NZSA and she was the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand, where she served on the Board for four years.
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