NZSA CompleteMS recipients of 2020

Geoff Allen

Nō Tamaki ki te uru ahau, Ngāti Pākeha.

I studied writing at Whitireia in 2000. I was doing night shoots on LOTRs at that time so I think this is where the love of mythology began.

When my play Sister Anzac toured to Te Pou Theatre I joined a Te Reo class there and this began my tikanga rua haerenga, bi-cultural journey, culminating in Fairies of Down Under & other Pākeha Fairytales. Mākaro Press. I have four sons. My wife is a Methodist Minister and Celtic harp player. I butter my bread by writing youth plays for Devonport Drama and doing TV work. I built a writing studio in my garden where I write 4 – 6hrs a day.

“Kaua e mate wheke, mate ururoa.” (Don’t die like the octopus, die like the shark.)




Gina Cole

Gina Cole (fiction writer, poet, from Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa) is of Fijian and Kai Valagi descent.  She is the author of Black Ice Matter, which won Best First Book of Fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Her work has been published in various publications including takahē, JAAM, Express Magazine, Span, Landfall, Geometry, Black Marks on the White Page, and Home New Writing. She is a past participant in the Auckland Writers Festival, and the Same Same But Different LGBTQI+ Festival.  She is currently a Phd candidate in creative writing at Massey University, School of English, researching Indigenous science fiction. She is working on a novel of Pasifikafuturism.




Jo Danilo

Jo is drawn to writing about things that scare her, so her stories are usually quite dark and brooding. In between other writing projects and her day job, she has written three fictional books for young adults. Two are self-published and one – a timeslip nightmare – currently has agency representation.

Receiving an NZSA Complete MS Assessment for the fourth novel is a wonderful opportunity to make sure it is on the right track. This spooky tale, a departure into adult historical fantasy set in the bleak moorlands of Yorkshire, weaves several stories into one and has proved a particularly challenging composition.





Frank Eggleton

Frank Eggleton is a Wellington-based musician and writer, who works at Wellington Access Radio. He graduated with a Bachelor in Creativity (Writing) from Whitireia in Wellington. He is of Ngāti Te Ata descent, Tongan, Rotuman and Pākehā. He was a recipient of the 2019 NZSA Mentor programme.

Frank is honoured to be selected for the Manuscript Assessment Programme. He will use this as an opportunity to shake up the latest draft of his debut novel, a new adult drama-comedy about a fictional indie music scene, set in Wellington 2016—which he began writing at Whitireia.






Sarah L. Taggart

Sarah L. Taggart was born in Treaty 7 territory in so-called Canada and now lives in Wellington. She is pursuing a PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters where she is at work on a second novel manuscript. The Complete MS assessment provides her with the opportunity to polish and progress her first manuscript, a moody madness novel.







Tracie Lark

Tracie was born in Sydney but has lived everywhere else including Newcastle, Melbourne and Indonesia. She now owns a home in the native bushland of Whangarei where she lives with her musician partner and her lovebird, Nala. She teaches English to high school students and coordinates a school creative writing group where she puts her Graduate Diploma in Writing, and her experience as editor of The Australia Times Fiction magazine, to good use. Some of her words have been performed in theatre, including at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and on ABC radio in Australia. Recent publishing successes include: Grit, long-listed in the 2019 NFFD competition, Carousel, published in MiNDFOOD magazine, and poems Hell’s Gate and My Elegant Hoon published in The Blue Nib Irish Literary Journal. Tracie is very grateful to be a recipient of the NZSA CompleteMS Assessment programme.





Simone McKegg

Simone McKegg has always had a penchant for books. Although her degree was in Horticulture she chose books over plants and went off to work at Oxford University Press. She repeated this predilection by becoming the chief book buyer of the Cook Islands Trading Company whilst being employed to run their garden center. Later on completing an Honours Degree in Art History she worked as a guide for the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and toured New Zealand talking on the life and work of her grandmother, the painter Dame Louise Henderson. She is now writing a biographical novel on Dame Louise’s early life in Paris before coming out to New Zealand in 1925. Simone is a graduate of the Fiction Writing Course and Post Graduate Course at the Creative Hub.  She is delighted to have this opportunity for a manuscript assessment through the NZSA.



Barbara MacKinnon

Barbara MacKinnon was born in Otahuhu, Auckland, raised in Taumarunui and spent her adult years in various North Island locations, including Taranaki, Coromandel, the Far North and Bay of Plenty before moving to Oamaru, where she now lives and writes. For some years she worked as a tutor, writer and moderator in computer studies, eventually concentrating on writing assessment tools and study resources for NZQA computing unit standards. Her passion has always been creative writing and on her retirement she dedicated herself fully to developing fantasy fiction.







Anne Moir

Anne was born and raised in Southland and studied English and music at Otago University. After travel, further study and various jobs, she trained as a nurse and later as a psychotherapist. In 2017 she retired after twenty-five years working in mental health, and published her first novel, Navigator, which began life at Caroline Lark’s 2013 University of Otago Summer School. Navigator, which drew on a family story and on Anne’s experiences growing up in the post-World War Two era, was assessed in 2015 under the NZSA Complete Manuscript Assessment programme. Terra Firma, her second novel, takes characters who were children in Navigator and follows them into the Vietnam War and the peace and anti-nuclear movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Anne lives in Dunedin. She enjoys reading and writing, gardening, genealogy, the German language, crafts and music. She plays celtic harp. She has various volunteer roles, including tutoring English language beginners.





Samantha Montogmerie

Samantha Montogmerie is a Dunedin-based writer who has published numerous titles for beginner readers.  She enjoys writing fiction for young children, and was shortlisted for the Storylines Joy Cowley Awards for an unpublished children’s picture book in 2018.  She has been published with Harper Collins UK, Sunshine Books, Flying Start Books and the NZ Ready to Read programme.  She is also a published poet, and her work has appeared in Nga Kupu Waikato: An Anthology of Waikato Poetry, Landfall, takahe, 1964 and numerous other publications.

Samantha is grateful for the mentorship, and will use it to get valuable feedback on her first novel for young adults.  The book tackles the realities many of our youth face today – living through a terrorist attack, global warming, the Strike for Climate Change movement and finding the courage to use one’s voice when the world feels like it is falling apart.





Angela Trolove

Angela says she needs to write to savour the world’s details. Angela grew up in the Waimakariri district, has lived for some years in Italy, and now calls Ōtepoti home. After studying poetry at the University of Otago, she worked as a biographer with the Nelson Hospice. The recent birth of her son gave her the grounding to produce her first novel. Her poems have appeared in Blackmail Press, Landfall, and Best New Zealand Poems. She is currently developing a phenomenology of clothing.








Angela Walker

Angela Walker is a writer, Olympian and communications advisor. Her first book, a Second World War story published by Pen and Sword Books in 2017, is titled: From Battle of Britain Airman to POW Escapee. She was awarded a CompleteMS Assessment while developing that manuscript and found it invaluable on her journey to publication.

Angela writes narrative non-fiction and is currently writing the true story of a trailblazing New Zealander. She also writes children’s picture books, and was a runner-up in the Joy Cowley Awards in 2018.

Angela has taken writing short courses through Writing NSW, and the Creative Hub. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Auckland and has worked in Marketing and Communications in Sydney, London and Auckland.




Karen Zelas

Karen Zelas started writing poetry, fiction and drama later in life, following a career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She has had two plays produced, and a novel and four books of poetry published. In 2013, her play Poverty and Muse won the Playwright’s Association of NZ award for best new manuscript. Her last book was a verse biography of Minnie Dean – The Trials of Minnie Dean – published by the Submarine imprint of Mākaro Press in 2017. Since then she has been working on adapting this book for the stage. Karen considers herself very fortunate to have had the support of The Court Theatre through the early stages of this process. An early draft of this play, called The Falling, had a rehearsed public reading in the Fresh Ink series, in May 2018. Now, two years later, it has been rewritten as a one-woman show.

The Falling is lucky enough to be a 2020 recipient of an NZSA Full Manuscript Assessment, which will hopefully take it one step closer to the stage. The Trials of Minnie Dean, from which it was developed, was also awarded a Full Manuscript Assessment, in 2016. Karen is extremely grateful to NZSA for the opportunities afforded by these manuscript assessments.