NZSA CompleteMS recipients of 2022
Amanda Aitken lives in Auckland and is completing her Master of Creative Writing at AUT. She is currently working on a short story collection as well as a novel for young readers and is delighted to have been chosen for the CompleteMS Assessment programme.
Sarah M Bailey
Sarah M Bailey lives in Auckland. She was born in the UK and moved to New Zealand, with her family in 2008. In 2019, after twenty years working as a GP and writing in her spare time, she decided to become a full-time writer. Sarah was awarded an NZSA mentorship in 2020. With the help of the mentorship, she completed her first YA novel, Believing In Marvels, which she self-published in 2021. Sarah is grateful to be a recipient of the CompleteMS Assessment Programme and is looking forward to receiving feedback on her second YA novel. www.sarahmbailey.com
Shriya’s creative practice (plays, film scripts, short stories, and poems) focuses on people’s daily life rendered extraordinary by their unique personal experiences. She is a recipient of the Michael King Writers Residency 2022 as an emerging writer. While there, Shriya intends to further develop a second collection of short stories.
Though she has always been a writer, it began somewhat formally in 2015 for Shriya when she produced her first solo photo project titled ‘the Backstory Project’. ‘Backstory’ told the stories of migrants as they make Auckland their new home. The project culminated in an exhibition which showed New Zealand’s largest city through new eyes. Five years later, ‘The Kamasutra Chronicles’ written by Shriya successfully completed a sold-out season at the Basement Theatre in Auckland in January 2022.
Her work has been published in Blackmail Press (poetry), and short stories have appeared in Between You and Me: Culture in Context (Rouge Publishing), the Coldnoon Literary Journal, Branch and Root – the Anthology of the Trees (Shooting Star Press, Australia), the anthology Ko Aotearoa Tātou /We Are New Zealand (Otago University Press) and A Clear Dawn: New Asian NZ Writing (Auckland University Press). Comment pieces have been commissioned by the Asia Media Centre in 2021-22.
Shriya is now working on her second play, Bollywood Item Girls (a mini-musical), a collection of short stories (titled An Interrogation of Choices) an a feature film script. She occasionally blogs at https://weekendcreative.wordpress.com/author/shriyabhagwat/
Janet is a retired academic who has worked in NZ, UK, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Singapore and Oman. Her essays and short fiction have been published in academic journals, in Landfall and Turbine, and in Australia and UK. The draft of her novel, Give Sorrow Words, was written as part of last year’s IIML Victoria University MA Creative Writing programme. It is a serio-comic drama about a family separated by past tragedy forced to reconnect when one member returns after a long absence. Over the course of several months, as their lives intersect and diverge, unshared secrets and guilt that have festered over the years are painfully awakened to the present.
Janet is excited at the prospect of developing her work further by participating in NZSA’s Complete MS Assessment programme.
Lauren Keenan (Te Ātiawa ki Taranaki) is a writer of both fiction and popular psychology. Her writing was kick-started by participating in the 2016 Te Papa Tupu Māori Writers’ programme. In 2017, she won the Pikihuia Short Story award for Māori writers. Lauren has had two full-length books published: The 52 Week Project: How I Fixed My Life by Trying a New Thing Every Week for a Year (Allen and Unwin NZ, 2020) and Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time (Huia, 2022). Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time is a finalist in the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She has recently finished the next book in her New Zealand time travel series for children: Rākau: The Lost Tree, about the New Zealand Wars.
Lauren is absolutely delighted to be a recipient of the NZSA CompleteMS Assessment for Mongoose – a murder-mystery that examines the difficulty of navigating dysfunctional family dynamics, intergenerational trauma, and the concept of belonging.”
I am from Whanganui (Ātihuanui-ā-Paparangi) but only lived there for six months before our family began moving to various parts of the North Island. I now live in northwest Tāmaki Makaurau with my husband and two teenage children. With a background in journalism and communications and now as a freelancer, writing has always been a part of my working life. Last year I completed a Master of Creative Writing at Auckland University of Technology and have published poetry with Landfall, Takahē, the Spinoff and Tarot.
When We Meet Heart to Face, is a manuscript about my journey of receiving a heart transplant, which I tell through a mixture of prose and poetry. I am delighted to have it accepted for the NZSA Manuscript Assessment Programme.
Margot McLean was born in Te Whanganui-a-Tara to a Pākehā father and Scottish/Argentine mother. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Te Herenga Waka/ Victoria University in 2020. Her project was the draft of a crime novel set in a provincial retirement home. She is delighted and grateful for the opportunity to advance this work through the CompleteMS assessment.
She has more recently been focusing on short stories and flash fiction, and in 2021 came first in the Auckland Herald Canvas Flash Fiction competition. To her surprise, her short stories tend to the ‘domestic gothic’ in theme.
Outside of writing, Margot works as a public health doctor with a focus on women’s health. She has been learning te reo Māori for a decade, has walked the length of the country, and delights in Wellington’s winds and the time with family and friends that comes with living here.
Tania grew up in Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland but now calls Whakatū-Nelson home. She has worked for many years in education including as a teacher, research librarian, education developer, and learning advisor.
Tania enjoys writing for both adults and young children. She finds memory, place, light and texture rich sources for feeding the imagination. She has had a picture book, Grasshopper’s Week, published by Potton & Burton and has been a finalist in a number of national short story competitions. Tania has been developing ideas for a longer work for adults for some time, however, it was lockdown that saw her begin to work in earnest on her debut novel. She is thrilled to be a recipient of the NZSA CompleteMS Assessment Programme and the opportunity it provides to further hone and progress her work.
Angela Pope (also known as Angela Carey) was born in the US but grew up in the UK. She moved to New Zealand almost 30 years ago and now lives in Dunedin. She is married and has four children and two dogs.
Angela has had short stories published in Takahe, Catalyst and Landfall, and broadcast on Radio New Zealand. In 2020, she won the Sargeson Prize, and was longlisted for the Commonwealth Prize in 2021. She has also had short plays produced in festivals including Short + Sweet in Sydney and Melbourne.
Last year, Angela completed a graduate diploma in Creative Writing through Massey University and self-published a romantic comedy, ‘The Seven Mistakes of Alfie Murtagh’. She is tremendously grateful for the opportunity to have her second novel assessed under the Complete MS Assessment programme.
Keryn published her first YA novel, Before the Rising, earlier this year which she describes as the most terrifying and exhilarating thing she’s ever done. Currently, she has several writing projects on the go – a sequel to Before the Rising, a novel about a boy caught up in family court proceedings, and the manuscript accepted for a CompleteMS, tentatively titled The Sunset Clause.
She loves the pace and immediacy of writing in a YA voice and style and believes a well written YA novel should hold appeal to adult readers as well. Her all-time favourite quote is: Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. This continues to be a major factor in why, and how, she writes.
Barbara Uini is a writer and artist living in Tāmaki Makaurau. She studied illustration at the Chisholm Institute, has a BA from Massey University, and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Auckland. She is currently undertaking postgraduate study in primary teaching. Barbara’s short stories have been broadcast on RNZ and published in a recent SpecFicNZ anthology. Her art has featured on the cover of the Aotearoa Artist’s magazine and is published in two international coloured pencil masterworks books.
Barbara is delighted to receive a CompleteMS Assessment from NZSA. It will help to progress and polish her middle grade fantasy manuscript which is set between Aotearoa and an alternate world.
Laura Vincent (Ngāti Māhanga, Pākehā) is a writer from rural South Auckland. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in The Spinoff, Peach, Shirley Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, Muswell Press’ Queer Life, Queer Love Anthology, RESURRECTION, and more. Laura has also written a food blog, hungryandfrozen.com, since 2007 and in 2013 her first cookbook was published by Penguin.
She is editing a poetry collection, a short story collection, and her first novel, and is writing her second novel through AUT’s Creative Writing MA programme.
Kit Willett is an English teacher and emerging poet based in Tāmaki Makaurau. He is the executive editor of Aotearoa online poetry journal Tarot which aims to be an aesthetic and accessible magazine of diverse voices. Kit completed his Master of Creative Writing through AUT in 2020 where he wrote a full-length collection reframing Milton’s Paradise Lost. His work has recently appeared in Sky Island Journal, Mātātuhi Taranaki, and Otoliths, and his short story The Lever was shortlisted for the 2021 Graeme Lay Short Story Competition. Links to journals and anthologies including Kit’s work can be found on his website: tarotpoetry.nz/kit.
He is grateful to have his poetry manuscript assessed through this programme.