Emerging writers to read 2023 at the Janet Frame Memorial Lecture by Witi Ihimaera President of Honour

Following the NZSA President of Honour Janet Frame Memorial Lecture by Matua Witi on November 9th at VERB, five young writers will read from their work to showcase the great future for Aotearoa New Zealand writing.




essa may ranapiri (Waikato-Tainui, Ngaati Raukawa, Te Arawa, Ngaati Puukeko, Clan Gunn, Horwood) is a person who lives on Ngaati Wairere whenua. Essa is the winner of this years’ Janet Frame Poetry Prize and author of ransack and ECHIDNA. Now a PhD student, looking at how poetry by taangata takataapui engages with atuatanga, and co-editor of the journal Kupu Toi Takataapui with Michelle Rahurahu. They have a great love for language, LAND BACK and hot chips. They will write until they’re dead. Photo credit Kelly Joseph





Emma Sidnam is a writer and lawyer based in Pōneke. She was the winner of the 2022 Michael Gifkins Prize, administered by NZSA, with her novel Backwaters (Text) which launched last month. As a fourth-generation Asian New Zealander, she is passionate about representation and ensuring that all voices are heard. Emma was included in the AUP anthology: A Clear Dawn and the VUP anthology: Middle Distances, has been published in the Spinoff and Newsroom, and been prominent and placed in successive national SLAM poetry events.




Michelle Rahurahu (Ngāti Rahurahu, Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa, Te Arawa) lives on Ngāi Tūāhuriri whenua and heralds from Te Moana-ā-Toi. She has a master’s in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, where she won the Modern Letters Fiction Prize. Michelle has expertise in intercultural arts policy, is a regular RNZ book reviewer, and a proud CODA, fluent in New Zealand Sign Language. Her writing can be found on Turbine and Pantograph Punch, and she co-edited Te Rito o te Harakeke: an anthology of Māori voices for Ihumātao. Her first novel Poorhara was shortlisted for The Michael Gifkins Prize and will be published in 2024 by Te Herenga Waka Press. Michelle is NZSA’s Te Māngai Māori ki te Poari board representative.





Helena Claudia is a young writer from Pōneke with a BA from Te Herenga Waka in Media Studies and Social Policy. She is the Youth board representative for the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (NZSA), is active on the Wellington branch committee, and has just started Pens and PJ’s, a national collective for young writers based in Wellington, supported by NZSA. Helena has been published in Remains to be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa and the Young New Zealand Writers’ Anthologies. She is currently working on a poetry collection and especially enjoys reading and writing apocalypse fiction and non-fiction.






RUBY SOLLY (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a writer, musician, taonga pūoro practitioner, and music therapist living in Pōneke. She has two books of poetry out with Te Herenga Waka University Press, ‘Tōku Pāpā’ (2020) and verse novel, ‘The Artist’ (2023). She has been published widely in Aotearoa in journals and anthologies, as well as in countries such as Australia, America and Antarctica. As a musician she has composed for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and has played with artists such as Yo-yo Ma and Trinity Roots. She is currently waiting to be confirmed as a doctor of public health after completing a doctoral thesis in the use of taonga pūoro in hauora Māori. Photo credit Ebony Lamb