NZSA CompleteMS recipients of 2019

Tom Baragwanath

Tom Baragwanath is a writer originally from Masterton, currently living in Paris. His short stories have featured in Headland, The Eunoia Review, Across the Margin, Takahē, Five on the Fifth, and elsewhere.

Tom attended the short fiction workshop at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters in 2015, and is now completing a masters in creative writing at the University of Kent. He is delighted to have his novel manuscript, Kalispell, accepted as part of the NZSA’s CompleteMS programme. Tom writes at

Shriya Bhagwat

Shriya Bhagwat is an Auckland based writer and grassroots creative.  

She is a Mumbai girl at heart where she was born and spent her childhood. Shriya’s career started with a brief stint as a newspaper reporter in Mumbai covering the crime beat. Taking her keen interest in daydreaming and long walks a little further she began creative writing.  

A poem by Shriya titled No journey on a crowded underground was published?in the?Blackmail Press?issue 43 (October-November 2017), focusing on Asia-Aotearoa New Zealand connections. In 2018, Shriya’s wrote for the sold out season of First World Problems at Basement Theatre in Auckland. In the same year, a story by Shriya titled ‘The Goat’ was published by Coldnoon.  

Shriya holds a Masters in Philosophy from the Auckland University of Technology; her research explored Asian Men Who have Sex with Men (MSM)’s perception of risk behaviour and attitudes towards HIV testing in New Zealand. 

Paul Chapman

Paul Chapman (Come Day’s End) 

I’d always wanted to write but took decades to get down to it. I’ve had some success with short stories including one in an anthology of Best New Zealand Fiction. 

I received a NZSA mentorship in 2017, working with Lee Murray on this manuscript for Come Day’s End, and am chuffed to be given another opportunity to push it even further forward. 

I’m drawn to writing about bizarre and extreme situations—mostly realized under the broad description of speculative fiction. I like to keep grounded in contemporary settings while imagining how people’s beliefs and behaviours twist as the everyday disappears. Originally from England, my home is now Banks Peninsula. 

Robin Harding

Born on a small exotic island off the coast of North America, Manhattan,?Robin Harding has spent her life forcing great literature upon reluctant readers in her capacity as an English teacher. Her classwork experience has ranged from employment at an exclusive private school to teaching in a prison for juvenile offenders.? 

She has published short stories in a collection of New Women’s Writing, articles in professional journals and magazines.?She has always believed that we understand ourselves through story.? 

John Mackay

Hodder & Stoughton published John’s first book, Wild Rivers –  narrative non-fiction stories of his river expeditions with an interesting cast of characters on home-made rafts made of truck tubes and timber that they cut on the riverbanks.  Its 3000 print-run sold out, it had good reviews and was shortlisted for the NZ Book Awards.  

Challenged to try a novel, he was drawn to the dramatic plot twists of the stranger-than-fiction crime story that set the twentieth century alight, and also to the traumas and motivations of the colourful protagonists.  The story has surprising resonances with today’s mad wobbling world – populist demagoguery, fake news, fear of refugees, trade wars, walls, fire and fury….  

Lucky to receive brilliant tutoring from John Cranna, Kapka Kassabova and Geoff Walker, but so far failing to grab a London agent by the throat, John is heartened by NZSA’s MS Assessment opportunity. 

Louise Maich 

Louise Maich was born and raised in Christchurch, a second generation kiwi of Prussian, Polish and Dalmatian ancestry. Moving to Auckland in her late twenties she discovered the rich Dalmatian heritage of west Auckland. Here it was that she really began her family history journey. Exploring cultural identity, family history retrieval, diaspora and migration. These themes have influenced Louise’s work in various other creative modalities including: song-writing, music, poetry, painting and sculpture. 

Louise’s essays have won awards and her oral history interviews with family are now held in collections at Waitakere Central Library. Louise has had feature articles in NZ Outdoor Hunting magazine about government deer cullers and history of deer in New Zealand. Descended  from a well-known hunting family this is another subject close to her heart. 

This is Louise’s first novel and she has been a past beneficiary of NZSA Mentoring Programme, the manuscript was shortlisted and highly commended in the Lillian Ida Smith Award in 2015. Louise is thrilled to be a recipient of the CompleteMS assessment programme 2019 and is very much looking forward to the completion of her novel. 

Mikaela Nyman 

Mikaela Nyman has just submitted her PhD thesis in creative writing that explores women’s marginalised, or under-represented, public voices in Vanuatu, focusing on literary writing and rhetorical alliance. Her research at the International Institute of Modern Letters was made possible by a PhD scholarship from Graduate?Women Wellington and ?included inspiring collaboration with Ni-Vanuatu writers and the writing of a novel set in Vanuatu. Her first poetry collection (in Swedish),?När vändkrets läggs mot vändkrets,?addresses the loss of a sister and was published in Finland in April. 

The Complete MS assessment provides her with the opportunity?to finally deal with the structural shortcomings of a draft novel about Finnish migrant workers in New Zealand that has been on hold due to competing work and family commitments.? 

Sudha Rao 

Originally from South India, Sudha now lives in Wellington. Her early New Zealand years were spent in Dunedin and she graduated from the University of Otago. She has had a long standing involvement with the arts, primarily as a dancer, trained in Classical South Indian dance. In 2017, Sudha graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University, Wellington. Sudha’s poems have appeared in Blackmail Press; an anthology of New Zealand writing, Sunset at the Estuary and in the UK anthology Poets’ quest for God ;  Landfall, and in More of us, an anthology of migrant voices. Excerpts of her prose work has been published in Turbine and other excerpts were read in two sessions on national radio RNZ. Sudha is part of a collective of Wellington women poets called Meow Gurrrls, who regularly post poems on YouTube.

Eleanor Rimoldi 

As a social anthropologist I have published on my field experience in New Zealand and in the South Pacific, primarily Bougainville, in a number of journals.??Hahalis and the Labour of Love, with the late Max Rimoldi, is our study of a radical social movement on Buka Island, Bougainville published by Berg Press in 1992. As Honorary Research Associate at Massey University I continue to contribute reviews and articles in my field.  I am currently at work on a more personal account of my fieldwork experience in the tradition of narrative ethnography or  “literary anthropology”.   

My short story?The Aid Worker’s Wifewas “Highly Commended” in the 2015 Graeme Lay Short Story Competition. A longer version of this short story, The Anthropologist and the Aid Worker’s Wife,? was long-listed for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.  

My poetry has appeared in a variety of New Zealand publications and journals since the 1960s when I first arrived in New Zealand from the USA. My poem “Fraziled Poetry” won third equal in the Waiheke Song and Poetry Thing Competition as part of the 2016 National Poetry Day. A collection of my new, and previously published poems, (American Retrospective,?2018 Hicksville Press) was launched last year. 

Rochelle Savage

Rochelle Savage has worked as a writer and actor for theatre (FACE, Perfect), television (SKITZ, TellyLaughs), film (Best use of character 48hrs New Zealand winner and best film, Wellington finalist) and radio (Deep Vein Thrombosis: A Romantic comedy commissioned by Radio New Zealand and co-written with Mel Johnston) since 1995. 

She also has worked as a stand-up comedian and in the comedy group, Laura Get Your Gun which came 3rd in the University National Comedy Competition in 1995; beating some guys called Taika and Jemaine whose Wellington team came 4th. She can’t remember who came 1st or 2nd but apparently, Jesse Mulligan was also there in a team. 

Her recent focus has been on novels and plays. She wrote and performed the comic play: From Sex to Soccer – Exercise, Sport and Me and everything else in between at the Fortune Theatre for the 2018 Dunedin Fringe Festival and was the 2018 Robert Lord cottage Playmarket recipient. She is currently rewriting a play and also her novel – The Big Shoe. 

Marion Sutcliffe

Marion Sutcliffe was born in Christchurch and raised in Auckland. After graduating from Canterbury University with an arts degree she spent ten years living in London. She is currently working on her first novel – a fantasy for young readers – and is delighted to be part of the Complete MS Assesment programme to help polish and progress this work. 

Mary Wilkins

Mary Wilkins is a writer based in Auckland. She completed her Master of Creative Writing at AUT in 2017 with first class honours and the Dean’s Award. Mary is currently doing her PhD in Creative Writing at AUT. She was the winner of the NZSA mentorship programme in 2018. Mary is having her first short story published in the 2019 anthology Fresh Ink. She uses her writing as a platform in which to discuss mental health, predominantly in the Young Adult genre. 

Kathryn van Beek

Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters. She won the Headland Short Story Prize and was the Creative Hub writer in residence. Kathryn is currently working on a?collection of literary short stories called Pet. Each story peels a different layer of meaning from the word ‘pet’, and the collection addresses themes of captivity, animal attraction and pack mentality.?Stories from Pet have been, or will be, published in Takah?, Fresh Ink, The Sunday Star-Times, Mindfood Magazine, Headland, Bonsai and Pot Roast. Kathryn is the ‘momager’ of one of New Zealand’s most famous pets, Bruce the Cat, about whom she wrote the children’s book Bruce Finds A Home.