NZSA Mentorship recipients of 2019
Semira Davis is an artist, writer and mother. Her poetry has appeared in Landfall, Ika, Re-draft, Blackmail Press, Takahe, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, and The Spinoff’s The Friday Poem. She won 2nd prize in the 2018 Poetry NZ poetry competition, Entrants’ Choice in the 2018 24-Hour Poem competition, and was awarded “One to Watch” in the 2015 Auckland Regional NZ Slam finals. Her project for this mentorship is a collection of poetry. It is an observation of the transition from childhood to motherhood, connecting the landscapes of growing up in a small town to the surrounding whanau and the trauma that traveled alongside. Her writing is a mechanism for making sense of her world. She will be 31 in August.
Frank Eggleton is a Wellington-based writer, who recently graduated with a Bachelor in Creativity (Writing) from Whitireia in Wellington. He is of Ngati Te Ata descent, Tongan and Rotuman, and Pakeha. Also a musician (Solo Ono & Tidal Rave) he enjoys combining his two creative passions writing and music; so it felt natural to work on a novel about music and dreams.
Frank has been working on his debut manuscript since 2016; Set in Wellington, New Zealand. The Dream Posts is the story of an Ex – Housewife who at thirty-three, pursues her dream of becoming a musician, a songwriter, an artist. Welcome to a world, where the only things that matter are the Arts and music. Real and fictional bands mingle and blend into a modern cocktail of the Hero’s journey.
Eggleton is looking forward to his mentorship and hopes it will illuminate the way to a finished manuscript.
Saige Vendome England is a New Zealand writer who lives in a seaside village in Ōtautahi. She’s written in other landing places including Paris, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. In her former life as a journalist, she covered the Ngāi Tahu land and fisheries claims, winning the New Zealand Media Peace Award and Qantas Feature Awards. During stints of revolution-hopping and work in conflict zones she was published by the British Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and United Press International (UPI). Saige has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML). Her poetry and short fiction have been published in national and international journals and anthologies. Saige heartily welcomes the opportunity to work with a mentor on her novel ‘The Seasonwife’.
Mia Gaudin is a writer, lawyer and arts advocate. She was the Winston Churchill McNeish Writers’ Fellow in 2018 and has a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her work has been published by Radio NZ, Turbine, Hue & Cry, Mimicry, and The Pantograph Punch.
During the New Zealand Society of Authors mentorship programme, Mia will work on her first novel – a story centered around a young woman living in Wellington who’s falling in love with her flatmate and has a mother who’s dying of cancer. The protagonist faces the millennial struggle of wanting to take control of her life without compromising her values, wanting everything to come at once, without being sure what everything is. As the novel progresses, she realises that answers to her questions will shift and change when viewed through the blurry lens of grief.
Check out Mia’s semi-public life on instagram @am_i_mia including occasional updates on her writing.
Jenna’s poetry and short fiction can be found in journals in NZ, the US, UK, Canada and Australia, and she is currently seeking publication of her first young adult novel which was written with support of the NZSA Manuscript Assessment Programme.
Her short fiction writing is contemporary and often speculative – dreamscapes for adults and young adults, where the setting, itself, is a key character steering the human characters in different directions often against their better judgment or into situations that may not be entirely real – or are they?
Originally from the US, Jenna made Christchurch home more than 20 years ago where she continues to live with her partner, their two teens, two cats and a dog. She placed second in the 1999 and 2014 Christchurch Poetry Slams, completed the Hagley Writers’ Institute in 2010, and is a relieving teacher at the School for Young Writers and secretary of the South Island Writers’ Association.
She is currently working on a collection of poetry and short stories and is absolutely thrilled to receive this mentorship to help achieve a breakthrough with the quality and impact of her short story and flash fiction writing.
Katie Levendis is a linguist and a language teacher. She has recently completed her Master of Arts from the University of Waikato, where she studied how Maori words are used in New Zealand newspapers. Writing whenever she can find a spare scrap of time, Katie’s work has improved over the last 15-odd years from not meriting a publisher’s reply, to automatically generated emails, to personalised rejection letters. She is delighted to receive the mentorship, and will be working on her third unpublished Young Adult novel, about a young woman who lives in a modern Amazonian dictatorship.
Books are a home for Anna Mahoney, in good times and bad. She devours them like chocolate and always knew she would be a writer one day. This led her into an early career as a journalist. One baby swiftly followed another, then, as a play centre supervisor, she was angered by the system’s failure to protect troubled children and began to study the social sciences. Flattened by personal crisis, it would be many years before she completed her bachelor’s degree, while working full-time in public relations.
Anna lives in sunny Otaki on the Kapiti Coast, sharing her house at the beach with three wicked chihuahuas and a venerable Himalayan Persian cat. In 2016, the decision to leave work and start a local writer’s group with a former colleague awakened her creative brain. Now she’s loving the joy and frustration, trial and error of the writer’s craft.
Intergenerational addiction and trauma are in her family’s DNA. When she took on the care of her eight-year-old granddaughter survival was the only thing on her mind. She’s written a memoir about how it all came about and what happened next, which is her mentorship project. Anna says being selected for the programme is a huge honour. She can’t wait to meet her mentor and get stuck into polishing her manuscript until it shines.
Ria is an Aotearoa-born Samoan solo mother of two choice daughters, who was “Born in brown [Auckland] central, raised in gentrified central, now [lives] in State House central” (from her poem, Jack Didn’t Build Here). She attained a BA from Auckland University, and a BCA, specialising in Creative Writing, from MIT. Her poems and stories have been performed and published in various outlets, including as the winner of the 2015 ‘New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition’, the 2016 ‘Cooney Insurance Short Story Competition’, and the 2018 ‘Going West Poetry Slam’. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work alongside an expert mentor on her poems that explore her experiences and observations as a female having one foot each planted firmly in two different worlds (Samoa and Aotearoa). Ria’s hopes are to have a manuscript ready for publication.
Simone McKegg has never let books stray far from her life. Although her first degree was in Horticulture she instead took herself off to work at Oxford University Press. Then, when managing a tropical garden center for the Cook Islands Trading Company, she also became their chief book buyer. Simone went on to complete an Honours Degree in Art History and worked as a guide at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. She gave a series of talks on the life and work of her grandmother, the painter Dame Louise Henderson and is now writing a fictionalized account of Dame Louise’s extraordinary early life in Paris before coming out to New Zealand in 1925. Simone completed the 30 Week Fiction Writing Course at the Creative Hub and is excited to have the opportunity to work on this project with a mentor through the NZSA.
Sinead Overbye’s whakapapa’s to Te-Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Rongowhakaata. She completed her MA in fiction at the IIML in 2018, where she wrote a collection of magical realist short stories about young women trying to navigate intense relationships, social disruptions and uncertain mental health. Her work has been published with the Adam Art Gallery, Performance Artweek Aotearoa, Starling and Turbine. She feels extremely lucky that she can keep working on her manuscript this year, as she’s deeply in love with it, but doesn’t know how to make it better.ons.
Jackson C. Payne writes short stories and screenplays. He recently returned to New Zealand after nearly a decade abroad, where he worked as a furniture removalist, a shoemaker and as a case manager in homelessness. His fiction explores family trauma and relationships by experimenting with point of view, aesthetic and vernacular voice. He received the Postgraduate Award for the 2018 Master of Creative Writing programme at AUT. A short documentary he wrote, Candy’s Crush, was released last year through Wireless Docs, and his first short film, After the Fact, is due out in 2019. Jackson is based in Auckland and is represented by High Spot Literary Agency.
Marnie Walters is a Dunedin-based writer of creative non-fiction and memoir. She grew up on the shore of Lake Tikitapu in Rotorua, where her parents ran the Blue Lake Holiday Camp. In 2010 she completed a BA in English, minoring in Writing, at the University of Otago then went on to work in communications in the not-for-profit sector. Marnie has worked with people with disabilities, young people experiencing homelessness, families in extreme poverty and survivors of human trafficking and she has learned some hard lessons along the way. After four years working in Cambodia, Marnie has returned to a quieter life in Dunedin where she hoards succulents, attempts home DIY and works at the university. She is driven by the power of story-telling to generate empathy and create change. Marnie’s current project is a reflection on her experiences in Cambodia in the wider context of her own intermingled privilege and challenges growing up in New Zealand.
Anna Woods has worked in digital marketing for many years. She is particularly interested in digital modes of reading and online reading communities like #bookstagram—where you can find her chatting about her favourite books and her work in progress @annawoodsauthor. Her poetry has been published by the New Zealand Poetry Society and Poetry New Zealand and her short fiction by The Three Lamps. Her first novel, a story about familial bonds and inheritable fear, is currently out on submission. For the mentorship she will be working on her second novel, a story of redemption, loss and butterflies.