Four secondary school writers win NZSA youth mentorships

Four talented secondary school students have been selected as winners of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) Youth Mentorship Programme 2018.

These young writers now have a special opportunity to hone their writing skills and develop their craft under the mentorship of four of New Zealand’s finest professional authors.

The 2018 recipients for the NZSA Youth Mentorship programme are Xiaole Zhan from Westlake Girls High School in Auckland, Elise Sadlier from Gisborne Girls’ High School, Anthony Pita from Rosmini College in Auckland, and Cybella Maffitt from St Cuthberts College in Auckland.
They will work on their writing projects under the guidance of Karyn Hay, Sue Wootton, Anna Mackenzie, and Ivy Alvarez.
Honourable mention also goes to the two shortlisted writers: Waikahu Te Utaiho Heke from Te Awamutu College and Emma-Kate Coleman from Onslow College in Wellington.
Selection panel convenor and award-winning author Tina Shaw, commented “This year’s selection of applicants showed a wonderful breadth of genres ranging from creative non-fiction, poetry to novel manuscripts. Project ideas also displayed much creativity and looked at issues concerning ethnicity, relationships, mental health, fantasy and playing with language.

“The standard of writing was very high, and the panel had difficulty selecting the top four recipients. Many applicants had already won awards for their writing, or had completed novel manuscripts. We could easily have awarded mentorships to all of the applicants! It was heartening and exciting to see such a diverse range of talent.”


The NZSA Youth Mentorship Programme was established in 2010 to foster and develop emerging writing talent around New Zealand with the support of established authors. It is one of The New Zealand Society of Authors successful mentoring programmes for writers and is made possible with the support by Creative New Zealand.


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