NZSA CompleteMS recipients 2023

Scarlett Bailey

Scarlett Bailey lives in Tāmaki Makaurau and is currently finishing her studies in English Literature and Film at The University of Auckland. Scarlett is working on a fiction manuscript which is an extension of a short story she wrote for Paula Morris’ Writing Creative Prose course. She hopes to have this ready for submission by the end of the year, with the help of the CompleteMS Assessment Programme.

Fiona Barber

Fiona is a journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau. When the magazine company she worked for quit New Zealand early in the first Covid lockdown, she was made redundant. It was the perfect opportunity to write a story she’d been thinking about for years. Between freelance magazine assignments she’s continued writing fiction and her short stories have made the long lists of two overseas competitions and the short list of a local one. She’s grateful to be a recipient of a NZSA CompleteMS Assessment for her lockdown manuscript and is looking forward to having her work critically evaluated.

Lilla Csorgo

Lilla is a published author and produced playwright. Her play, Babes on Bay St., was produced by Toronto’s iconic Theatre Pass Muraille, and Bangkok was workshopped at the Banff Centre, where she was the recipient of a three-week residency. Bangkok has since been produced in Ottawa, Toronto, and Wellington, and workshopped in New York City. Her self-published novel, The Janus Affair, is described by award-winning writer Joan Barfoot as wonderfully witty, crisp and clever.Her short stories have appeared in North & South, Zizzle, a literary magazine for young minds, Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa, and Fresh Ink, 2021, among other publications. You can find out more about Lilla and her writing at

Sam Keenan

Sam Keenan lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara with her family. She was the winner of the inaugural Sargeson Prize in 2019 for her story ‘Better graces’. In 2017, she was runner up in the Sunday Star Times short story competition for her story ‘Interim’. Her short fiction has appeared in Landfall, the Sunday Star Times, and the Te Herenga Waka University Press anthology, Middle Distance: Long Stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Kiri Lightfoot

Kiri Lightfoot is an Auckland based writer and actor. She has had two children’s picture books published – Every Second Friday (Hodder, nominated for Best Picture Book at the 2009 New Zealand Post awards) and more recently Ming’s Iceberg (Scholastic NZ, 2021). Kiri is a mother of three school aged children and has worked as a scriptwriter in children’s television and also in front of the camera as an actor in many local productions. You will also find her reading and discussing poetry in the aged care sector with her work with Active Arts. Kiri is thrilled to be a recipient of the NZSA completeMS assessment for her first work for young adults – Bear.

Emelita Luisi QSM

Emelita is of Sāmoan heritage, born in Tāmaki Makaurau and lives in Rānui, West Auckland with her husband and 15 month old son.

She has always been drawn to epic fantasy and mythology as a medium to understand and explore the complexity and challenges of humankind and their relationships to the natural and supernatural world, and this ultimately became the foundation for exploration in her Master’s creative piece she completed in 2022.

Having worked in Youth Development for many years as a Youth Worker and Manager, writing has always been a part of her professional life, but lockdown pushed her to finally get the help she needed to finish a fantasy novel she had begun writing in 2007, and enrolled in the Master of Creative Writing program at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

She is so stoked to be one of the recipients of the NZSA CompleteMS Assessment for her first novel The Last Guardian, a fantasy saga exploring an ancient Empire ruled by women under threat of incoming new world ideologies, and is looking forward to polishing and progressing her work further.

Emelita holds a BA, Massey University(2000), a Certificate in Professional Mentoring and Supervision Skills Unitec (2006), a Master

of Social Work (Applied) Massey University (2010), a Master of Creative Writing (Honours) from AUT (2023), and in the 2020 Queen Services Honours list, received a Queen Services Medal (QSM) for services to Youth.

Hannah Marshall

Hannah Marshall is a media studies and creative writing student at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. She is a co-editor at The Sapling, was a 2020 recipient of the NZSA’s Youth Mentorship programme, and was the 2021 winner of the Maurice Gee Prize in Children’s Writing, awarded by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is very excited to be a CompleteMS recipient.

Heather McQuillan

Heather McQuillan writes novels for young readers. She is a three-time winner of the Storylines Notable Books Awards and won the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2005. She also writes short fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Her first collection of flash, Where Oceans Meet, was published by Reflex Press UK in 2019. Heather is the Director of Write On School for Young Writers in Christchurch. She is delighted to have been awarded this mentorship to offer guidance around the structure of a novel in the form of a child’s writing journal.

Jade McCann

Jade McCann lives in Tāmaki Makaurau and works in the Arts. She has three children and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from University of Auckland. Jade is writing Biofiction about her grandfather, Theatre Director Ronald Barker, inspired by material held in the Auckland Libraries special collections. She is thrilled to be selected for NZSA CompleteMS Assessment to progress this work towards publication.

Rostislava (Ronnie) Pankova-Karadjova

Rostislava (Ronnie) Pankova-Karadjova is a bilingual writer, musicologist and choir conductor, who lives in Auckland. Her poetry book Leave Me The Miracle and a number of short stories have been published in her native Bulgarian. Since 2016, when she started writing creatively in English, her short stories have been awarded and shortlisted in the UK Writing Magazine and other competitions, with publications in MindFood and Ponder Review.

In 2021, Ronnie gained her Master of Creative Writing degree from the University of Auckland, where she was awarded the CLNZ Tertiary scholarship. Currently, she is working on her first novel In Focus, long-listed in Flash500 Novel Opening 2022 competition judged by Headline. When she’s not writing, Ronnie is teaching music and singing with Viva Voce chamber choir.

Joanne Paulsen

Joanne Paulsen (Ngai Tāhu, Pākehā) is from Ōhinehou-Lyttelton and has worked as an English teacher, ESOL tutor and proofreader. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing (Screenwriting) from Massey University and is currently studying te reo Māori. Her young adult fiction has been shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon and Tessa Duder Awards, and she is thrilled to be a recipient of the NZSA’s Complete MS Assessment.

Jennifer Trevelyan

Jennifer Trevelyan is an avid reader, gardener, and writer. She lives in Wellington, where she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2022. Her project is a novel she began in 2018, which has spent some time sitting in a drawer. She is thrilled to be able to progress this work with the help of an NZSA CompleteMS Assessment.

Paul Veart

Paul Veart grew up in Tāmaki Makaurau and studied creative writing at the University of Melbourne and Bath Spa University. His short stories have been published in journals including Turbine Kapohau, JAAM and Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy.

In 2022 Paul was nominated for the Bert Roth Award for Labour History for “Tweet the Tour”, an historic live tweeting of the 1981 Springbok Tour. His account of the experience can be found on the website Africa is a Country.

He recently re-discovered the magic of Margaret Mahy while reading with his one-year-old son. Paul is excited and grateful to be a CompleteMS recipient.