List of Mentors for NZSA Mentor Programme

Harriet Allan

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction Adult fiction (except fantasy and sci-fi), young adult and nonfiction

After starting with a medical publisher and then Oxford University Press, Harriet Allan worked at Penguin Random House and its earlier iterations for nearly 35 years. She edited and produced books of all genres for both adults and children before becoming fiction publisher, in which role she published numerous award-winning novels and literary nonfiction titles, working with some of New Zealand’s preeminent writers. She is currently working as a freelance editor.

Rosetta Allan

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction, Creative nonfiction, memoir

Rosetta Allan is a novelist, poet, mentor, teacher, manuscript assessor and marker, essayist, public speaker, dog lover and cake maker. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Little Rock (2007) and Over Lunch (2010), and three best-seller novels released by Penguin House NZ, Purgatory (2014), The Unreliable People (2019), and Crazy Love (2021).

Maxine Alterio

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Fiction – short and long forms

Maxine Alterio is a novelist and short story writer. She has a MA from Otago University and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, where she studied the memoirs of First World War nurses. Penguin NZ published Maxine’s first two novels Ribbons of Grace (2007), and Lives We Leave Behind (2012), which Editions Prisma (France) issued in 2013. Penguin Random House NZ released Maxine’s latest novel The Gulf Between in 2019. Steele Roberts NZ published Maxine’s collection Live News and Other Stories in 2005. Several of her short stories have won, or been placed in, national and international competitions. Others have been broadcast on NZ Radio National or appeared in anthologies. Maxine was the 2013 recipient of the Seresin Landfall/Otago University Press Writing Residency, and co-recipient of the inaugural Dan Davin Literary Foundation Writer in Residence in 2019.

Nick Bollinger

Area: Wellington
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

Nick Bollinger is a Wellington-based writer, critic and broadcaster with a special interest in music and cultural history. His book Goneville: A Memoir, drew on his personal experiences as a touring musician in the 1970s to tell the parallel stories of the New Zealand pub circuit and the campus underground. It won the 2015 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing.

In 2021 he was granted the J.D. Stout Research Fellowship to work on his book Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand, which was published the following year and was awarded Best Illustrated Non-Fiction in the 2023 Ockham Book Awards.

For more than twenty years he was a music columnist for the Listener, while his voice will be familiar to many from his broadcasts for Radio New Zealand, most notably the music review show The Sampler, which he produced and presented from 2001 until just last year. In 2023 he was the Lilburn Research Fellow and began working on a collection of essays about New Zealand music and national myths.

Diane Brown

Area: Dunedin
Genre: memoir, poetry

Diane Brown is a novelist, memoirist, and poet who runs an online and face-to-face creative writing school, Creative Writing Dunedin, teaching fiction, memoir and poetry.
She has published eight books: two collections of poetry – Before The Divorce We Go To Disneyland, (Tandem Press 1997) and Learning to Lie Together, ( Godwit, 2004); two novels, If The Tongue Fits, (Tandem Press, 1999) and Eight Stages of Grace, (Vintage, 2002) – a verse novel which was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards 2003. Also, a travel memoir, Liars and Lovers (Vintage, 2004); and a prose/poetic travel memoir; Here Comes Another Vital Moment (Godwit, 2006), a poetic memoir, Taking My Mother To The Opera, Otago University Press (2015) and a poetic novella, Every Now and Then I Have Another Child, Otago University Press (2020).

She always likes to straddle the line between prose and poetry and between fiction and non/fiction. She is commencing work on a poetic memoir, Straight as a Pound of Candles, tracing the lives of her maternal ancestors. She has held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and has had two residencies at the Michael King Writer’s Studio, in 2005 and 2019. She won the Janet Frame Memorial Award in 2012 and the Beatson Fellowship in 2013. In 2013 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to writing and education. She lives in Dunedin with her husband, author Philip Temple.

Catherine Chidgey

Area: Waikato / Ngāruawāhia
Genre: Adult fiction

Catherine Chidgey is a multiple award-winner whose novels have attracted international acclaim. In a Fishbone Church, her debut, won Best First Book at both the New Zealand book awards and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (South-East Asia and South Pacific region). In the UK it also won the Betty Trask Award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, Golden Deeds, was a Best Book in the LA Times Book Review and a Notable Book of the Year in the New York Times Book Review. Her novel The Wish Child won the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize – New Zealand’s richest writing prize. Radio New Zealand called it ‘a brilliant, brilliant novel…a masterpiece’, and The Times (UK) ‘a remarkable book with a stunningly original twist’. Other honours include the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, the $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters and the Janet Frame Fiction Prize. Her novel Remote Sympathy was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK and shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award in Ireland. From Radio New Zealand’s review: ‘You are in the hands of a superb writer…it is profoundly wonderful.’ Her novel The Axeman’s Carnival, narrated by a magpie, won the 2023 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction. Elizabeth Knox calls it ‘a compulsive read and flat-out brilliant’. Her latest novel, Pet, has received rave reviews internationally, and is an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times.

Catherine has translated many children’s books from the German and has published two children’s books: Jiffy, Cat Detective and Jiffy’s Greatest Hits. She teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, where in 2019 she initiated the Sargeson Prize short story competition. She lives in Ngāruawāhia with her husband, daughter and odd-eyed cats.

Barbara Else

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Adult fiction, YA and children’s fiction, and memoir

Barbara Else is the author of six novels for adults, seven for children, and Go Girl – A Storybook of Epic NZ Women. She has also edited several anthologies of stories for children and young adults. Her first novel The Warrior Queen was on the NZ Bestseller list for almost a year, and short listed for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her second, Gingerbread Husbands, was short listed for the Booksellers BookData Award. Her historical novel Wild Latitudes has recently been republished in the UK. Her fantasy quartet for children starting with The Travelling Restaurant has had overseas publication and won several awards including the IBBY and White Raven awards. Barbara’s latest book is a memoir, Laughing at the Dark, Penguin 2023.

She holds an MNZM for services to literature, the Esther Glen Medal and the Margaret Mahy Medal. She has been Writer in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington and held the Otago University College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence. She has twice been a judge for the NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 2018 she delivered The Margaret Mahy Memorial Lecture at Christchurch WORD. With her husband, author Chris Else, she runs TFS, an advisory service for writers: this includes a manuscript assessment service. Barbara is co-ordinator of the New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors which has established standards for dealing with authors.

Chris Else

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Fiction and non-fiction for adults and fiction for young adults

Writer and reviewer with seven novels and two collections of short-stories commercially published. Over thirty years experience in the New Zealand book trade as bookseller, publisher’s rep, publishing consultant and literary agent. Former president of NZSA and President of Honour 2018-2019

Bronwyn Elsmore

Area: Auckland
Genre: Adult and children’s fiction, short story, non-fiction, plays

Bronwyn is a multi-award and prize-winning writer of short stories, books, plays and articles. She is the author of 12 books and has seen many of her short stories published in a variety of publications, as well as producing her own collection. She has had numerous plays produced and has also authored work for academic publications. Throughout her writing career she has been an advertising copywriter, freelancer, contract writer, editor, education writer, playwright, writing mentor and tutor, competition judge, and an academic writer during her years as an academic. She now prefers to write fiction – novels, short stories and plays.

Michelle Elvy

Area: Ōtepoti Dunedin
Genre: Fiction (novel, short story, flash fiction); hybrid (fiction / creative nonfiction / poetry); creative nonfiction & travel; memoir and nonfiction (historical writing, essays); YA. Member of NZAMA.

Michelle Elvy is a writer and editor in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Her poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published and anthologised. Her books include ‘the everrumble’ and ‘the other side of better’, and her anthology work includes ‘A Kind of Shelter: Whakaruru-taha’ (MUP 2023), ‘Breach of All Size: Small stories on Ulysses, love and Venice’ (The Cuba Press 2022), ‘Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand’ (OUP 2020) and ‘Bonsai: Best Small Stories of Aotearoa NZ’ (CUP, 2018). She is also Managing Editor of the international ‘Best Small Fictions’ series and has been Reviews Editor at Landfall and takahē.

Once upon a time Michelle was a historian specialising in German History. A Fulbright scholar and Watson Fellow, she is also a Pushcart nominee and recipient of the NZ Society of Authors/ Auckland Museum Library grant and the NZSA Mentorship programme award. She has been shortlisted in the Grimshaw Sargeson Award for a novel draft and the Sargeson Short Story Prize. She has judged various competitions hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad, including the South Island Writers’ Association, the International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangārei Poetry Walk, NorthWrite’s collaboration competition, the Bath Flash Fiction Award, the 2021 and 2022 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award and the 2024 Fish Flash Fiction Prize. Michelle is founder of National Flash Fiction Day NZ and Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction, and she is an editor at AT THE BAY | I TE KOKORU. She teaches creative writing online at 52|250 A Year of Writing.

Laurence Fearnley

Area: Ōtepoti Dunedin
Genre: Fiction-novels; Nonfiction-memoir, mountaineering, art

I write novels and also nonfiction related to mountaineering and art: full-length and essays. Most of my work has a strong sense of place and is contemporary in nature, character driven rather than plot driven. I am particularly interested in South Island narratives as that is where my own focus lies. I enjoy reading manuscripts and can help with issues related to structure, character, plot but also language: the imagery, tone and emotional depth, flow and cadence. I have mentored a number of writers through to publication as well as being an examiner for creative writing students.

Maria Gill

Area: Warkworth, Auckland
Genre: Children’s nonfiction, creative nonfiction, picture books, children’s novels

Maria Gill has written 62 books over 20 years. Her book ‘Anzac Heroes’ won the 2016 New Zealand Children’s & Young Adult Supreme Book Award as well as the Nonfiction Award. Storylines have selected eleven of her books as Notable Books and in 2012 ‘New Zealand Hall of Fame’ won the Children’s Choice Award (nonfiction category). In 2020, Storylines awarded Maria the Margaret Mahy Medal for outstanding services to children’s literature.
Maria has a teaching degree (DipTchg, BEd), a journalism degree (GradDipJour), and a masters in creative writing (MCW).
Over the years, Maria has mentored budding writers in a nationwide children’s writing group Kiwi Write4Kidz, Write Like an Author workshops, and inspired young writers in schools. She has also taught writing workshops at conferences in New Zealand and Australia.
Maria was a creative/writer in residence at the Christchurch Arts Centre in 2021 and is the current Chair of the Auckland Branch of NZSA.

Siobhan Harvey

Area: Auckland
Genre: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction, including memoir and creative nonfiction

Siobhan Harvey is an author of eight books, including the poetry and creative nonfiction collection, Ghosts (Otago University Press, 2021) . She was awarded 2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry, 2020 New Zealand Society of Authors Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship, 2020 Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems, 2019 Robert Burns Poetry Prize, 2016 Write Well Award (Fiction, US) and 2013 Kathleen Grattan Award. Her previous books include Cloudboy (Otago University Press, 2014 and, as co-editor, Essential New Zealand Poems (Random House, 2014). She has been shortlisted for many other international and local awards and prizes, including third- and second place in 2020 and 2012 Landfall Essay Competitions respectively, long-listed for the 2019 Australian Book Review Peter Porter Poetry Prize, runner up in both 2015 and 2014 New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competitions, runner up in 2012 NZSA Kevin Ireland Poetry Competition and runner up in 2012 Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize (Aus). Her work has been published in international and local anthologies and journals , including Acumen (UK), Arc (Ca), Asia Literary Review (HK), Best New Zealand Poems 2020 and 2012 (NZ), Feminine Divine: Voices of Power & Invisibility (Cyren US, 2019), Griffith Review (Aus), Strong Words #2: the best of the Landfall Essay Competition (Otago University Press, 2021), Stand (UK) and Tarot (NZ). The Poetry Archive UK holds a Poet’s Page of her work. Presently she’s a Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Centre for Creative Writing, Auckland University of Technology where she holds a PhD in Creative Writing.

Emma Hislop

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: fiction

Emma Hislop (Kāi Tahu) is a writer currently living in Ngāmotu, Taranaki with her partner and son. Her first book of short fiction, Ruin, was published in March 2023 with Te Herenga Waka University Press. Her writing has been published here and overseas, including Sport, Action Spectacle, Ora Nui, Takahē, Hue and Cry, Metro, The Spinoff and The Pantograph Punch. She has an MA with Distinction from the International Institute of Modern Letters. In 2023 she was awarded the Michael King International Residency at Varuna House. She was the recipient of the Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary in 2021. Emma is part of Te Hā Taranaki, a collective for Māori writers, established in 2019. In 2023, she was the fiction judge for the Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards. She has numerous jobs including freelance writer and fiction workshop convenor and she reviews books on RNZ Nine to Noon. She is currently working on a novel.

Penelope Jackson

Area: Tauranga
Genre: Creative non-fiction

Aside from numerous articles, book chapters and exhibition catalogues, I have three published books:

  • Jackson, Penelope.Art Thieves, Fakers and Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story. Wellington: Awa Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-927249-51-2.
  • Jackson, Penelope. Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime. London: Palgrave Macmillan, September 2019, ISBN 978-3-030-20765-6 (2019) and audio book (Amazon) read by Kerry Fox (2020) [].
  • Jackson, Penelope. The Art of Copying Art.London: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-3-030-88914-2 (2022), [].

Lynn Jenner

Area: Kerikeri
Genre: creative non fiction, memoir, poetry, hybrid genre works

I have published three books, one of poetry, one of essays, poetry and found text and one of essays and glossaries. I have also taught poetry and creative non-fiction writing at tertiary institutions and in the community. I have had some amazing writing mentors in my writing life. The thing that made each of them amazing was that they could see and feel what I was trying to do in my writing, and they set themselves to helping me get there. It was as if they could see what my work wanted to be, see its possibilities, sometimes before I could see them myself. That’s what I think the job of a mentor is. All my mentors shared what they had learned, whether it was about form and structure or language or even looking after files and versions of my work. But more than that, they shared their excitement about writing, and their warm welcome for me as a writer. It’s really important that a mentor helps you write the work you want to write, and not the work they would write. A mentor is different from a manuscript assessor. A manuscript assessor is more focused on giving the writer feedback about where the writing is working well and where it isn’t. They may also make some suggestions.  A mentor has a more collaborative and developmental role.

Stephanie Johnson

Area: Auckland
Genre: Short stories, novels, stage plays, non-fiction.

I am the author of over twenty books – novels, short story collections, nonfiction and poetry. I have taught creative writing at Auckland, Massey and Waikato universities, AUT and Auckland Prison, and have conducted workshops under the auspices of various literary festivals. I have mentored and assessed many manuscripts and very much enjoy helping writers to progress their work to publisher-ready stage.

Anne Kennedy

Area: Auckland
Genre: Poetry, fiction (novel and short form), screenplay (drama).

Anne Kennedy is a poet, novelist, short-story writer, screenplay editor and teacher. Awards include the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry, the NZ Post Book Award for Poetry, and the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award. Anne has taught creative writing for over 20 years in tertiary institutions (University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Manukau Institute of Technology, Massey University), high schools (for Auckland Writers Festival) and community workshops, and she has mentored writers at all stages of the creative process.

Graci Kim

Area: Auckland
Genre: Young adult and middle grade fiction in all genres

Graci Kim is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Last Fallen Star, The Last Fallen Moon, and The Last Fallen Realm. The Korean mythology-inspired Gifted Clans trilogy has been optioned by the Disney Channel for a television series, and is being translated into multiple languages. It was named a 2021 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Children’s Book, an Amazon Best Book, an Indigo Best Book, a Barnes & Noble Young Reader Pick, and a Whitcoulls Kids Top 50. In 2022, Graci was awarded the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent.

Her new series, Dreamslinger, pitched as X-Men meets Pokemon, about a 14-year-old girl born with a genetic mutation that allows her to turn her dreams into real-life superpowers, will be published in 2025. In a previous life, Graci was a New Zealand diplomat, a cooking show host, and once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into cuddly toys

Caroline Lark

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction: novels and short stories. Autofiction. Memoir. Poetry. Radio Drama. Stage plays

Caroline Lark is a fiction writer, poet and playwright, published in UK, France, NZ and Australia. She was the winner of the Hazard Press/Quote Unquote Fiction Award in 1995 with her novella, Days; her poetry collection, A Messy Affair, was published by Steele Roberts in 2011; three radio plays have been produced by Radio NZ; her latest stage play, Eros, was performed at The Court Theatre in Christchurch in 2010. She was born in London, studied at the University of Cambridge, UK, (Fine Arts, Philosophy, Psychology of Education tripos, BEd Hons) and Anglia Ruskin University, UK, (Postgraduate Diploma English Studies). Her work is collected in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Poetry Library, London, and on the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Caroline has taught Creative Writing (Poetry, Fiction, Playwriting, Writing for Radio) at the University of Canterbury, the University of Auckland, Waiheke Island Summer Schools 2013 and 2014 and over the last decade at the University of Otago Summer School. She runs writing courses on Waiheke Island where she lives: Fiction & Memoir 2019; Radio Writing 2019; Fiction, Autofiction & Memoir 2020/21. She provides supervisions and gives tutorials for short story writers, novelists, poets, playwrights, radio writers and memoirists.

Janice Marriott

Area: Auckland
Genre: Children’s novels and picture books, adult novels, and memoir

Janice Marriott is a writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction for adult and child readers. Her children’s novels have won the Supreme Award, Senior Fiction Award, the Junior Fiction Award, and been a finalist in the Non-Fiction section of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She has been awarded the Ester Glen Medal for her children’s writing and the Margaret Mahy Medal in 2018. She’s written children’s material for TV, radio, and the educational market.
For adults she has written four books of memoir, Common Ground being the first, and Changing Lives the most recent. She has been a weekly columnist for the Herald on Sunday, and a gardening columnist for the last nine years. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines and on radio. Her most recent book is Grandparents Talk, published in 2016.
Her main focus now is helping others write their stories. She is a member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors, and runs a popular online tutoring business for emerging writers, through  Several of her students have won book awards themselves.

Lesley Marshall

Area: Whangarei
Genre: Anything except poetry.
Website: Editline

Lesley Marshall runs Editline, a freelance editing service in Northland. She has over 40 years’ experience in editing and assessing general fiction, short stories, thrillers, romances, historical novels, women’s fiction, sci-fi, plays and family histories. She always tries to edit within the writer’s voice and style. Lesley has edited many award-winning short stories one of which was made into a film. She is currently teaching on-line writing and editing papers for NorthTec, and co-editing a national magazine. On an occasional basis she has edited manuscripts for various publishing houses, and is a regular appraiser, assessor and mentor for the New Zealand Society of Authors. Lesley is a member of the Institute of Professional Editors and was a founding member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors.

Steph Matuku

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: Children’s / Young Adult

I am an award-winning writer from Taranaki with a particular interest in writing for children – picture books through to Young Adult. Two of my books were shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, four have been listed as Storylines Notable Books, and one has been optioned for television by Whenua Films. My screen credits include Mystic, Shortland Street and Under the Vines.

Cilla McQueen

Area: Bluff, Invercargill
Genre: Poetry

Cilla (MA Hons, Hon Litt D (Otago) has published fourteen collections of her poetry, most recently Markings (2000), Axis (2001), Soundings (2002), Fire-penny (2005), a CD of poetry and music, A Wind Harp (2006), The Radio Room (2010), Edwin’s Egg (2014), the letterpress book ‘An Island’ (2014), ‘In A Slant Light, a poet’s memoir’ (2016). Poeta (Otago University Press) 2018She has taught English, modern languages and creative writing.

Her poetry has won three New Zealand Book Awards and she has been the recipient of several travel awards and fellowships, notably the Robert Burns Fellowship in 1985 and 1986, the inaugural Australia-New Zealand Writers’ Exchange Fellowship, a Fulbright Visiting Writer’s Fellowship and a Goethe Institute scholarship to Berlin. She was the 2009-11 New Zealand National Library Poet Laureate and in 2010 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. Cilla works full-time as a writer.

Jacquie McRae

Area: Wellsford
Genre: Short stories, Fiction (adults and young adults)

Jacquie McRae (Tainui) is included in several short story collections. Her first novel “The Scent of apples” won gold at the Ippy’s and her latest novel “The Liminal space” was a finalist 2021 NZ booklovers awards. She has been a Pikihuia finalist and was mentored on the first Te Papa Tupu programme. She mentors on this same program for the Maori Literature trust.

Kyle Mewburn

Area: Central Otago
Genre: Picture books, general children’s fiction

Kyle Mewburn has published numerous picture books, junior fiction and School Readers. These books have been published in 23 countries and won numerous awards.

Old Hu-hu (Scholastic 2009) won the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book of the Year. Melu (Scholastic 2012) won the NZ Post Best Picture Book category at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2013 and was a White Raven title for 2012.  Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! (Scholastic 2006) won both the Best Picture Book and Children’s Choice categories at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2007, as well as the Flicker Tale Award in North Dakota, USA. Kyle’s best-selling junior fiction series Dinosaur Rescue has been sold into over 20 countries. Kyle was Children’s Writer-in-Residence at Otago University in 2011 and was President of the NZSA till 2017. Kyle’s first junior novel, A Crack in the Sky (Scholastic 2010), was written while participating in the NZSA Mentorship programme, under the guidance of David Hill. Her memoir: Faking it. My life in transition, was published by Penguin in 2021.

Judy L Mohr

Area: Christchurch
Thrillers (including Romantic Suspense), Fantasy (including Paranormal Romance), Science Fiction, Crime, Novels and Short Story

Kiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer, book doctor, writing coach, and a science nerd with a keen interest in internet technologies and social media security. Her knowledge ranges from highly efficient ways to hide the bodies through to the mechanics of writing gripping action sequences and how to improve your SEO rankings for your website. Judy has worked with writers from around the world, helping them reach for their own publication goals. Her preferred genres for editorial work include thrillers, mystery/crime, fantasy, and science fiction. She holds an editorial accreditation from OpenColleges Australia, in addition to her academic qualifications, and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Editors, Inc. (IPEd) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). When she isn’t writing, editing, or doing something for the writing community, she can be found plotting her next foray into mischief and scouting for locations to hide the bodies. (Shh… Don’t tell anyone.) For some tips and tricks for writing fiction, visit the Editor’s Blog at

Affiliations: Member of NZSA, Sisters in Crime (Guppy chapter), Australian Crime Writers Association, Professional member of Institute of Professional Editors, Inc. (IPEd), Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)

Lee Murray

Area: Tauranga
Genre: Fiction, adult/YA/MG, short story, poetry. Special interest in speculative and dark fiction projects

Lee Murray is a multi-award-winning author-editor, screenwriter, and poet, and a USA Today bestselling author. Her titles include the Taine McKenna adventure series, supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra (with Dan Rabarts), fiction collection Grotesque: Monster Stories, novella Despatches, several books for children, and non-fiction titles such as self-editing guide Mark My Words and essay collection Unquiet Spirits. She is the editor-curator of more than two dozen anthologies, among them award-winners Black Cranes, Hellhole, and Midnight Echo 15, and her short fiction appears in prestigious venues such as Weird Tales, Space & Time, and Grimdark Magazine. A five-time Bram Stoker Award®-winner, and Aotearoa’s only recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award, Lee is an NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow. Her prose-poetry collection Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud (forthcoming from The Cuba Press) won her a Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship and the 2023 NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize.

James Norcliffe

Area: Church Bay near Christchurch
Genre: Poetry; Writing for young people: junior fiction to young adult; Adult fiction

James has had many years’ experience as a writer and editor. He has published ten collections of poetry, most recently Villon in Millerton, Shadow Play, Dark Days at the Oxygen CaféDeadpan and a collection of poems for younger people Packing A Bag for Mars; twelve novels for young people, including the YA fantasy The Loblolly Boy which made the USSBY list of best foreign children’s books published in the USA, its successor The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer, and more recently The Enchanted Flute, Felix and the Red Rats, The Pirates and the Nightmaker, Twice Upon a Time, and the just released MalloryMallory: the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy which will be followed by a second Mallory novel next year. Another novel for young people The Crate is also scheduled for 2021.

He has written a collection of short stories, The Chinese Interpreter. A novel for adults The Frog Prince is forthcoming from Penguin Random.
He is an editor for the on-line journal Flash Frontier and has edited anthologies of poetry and the annual ReDraft anthologies of writing by young people. He has co-edited major poetry and short fiction anthologies most recently Bonsai (with Michelle Elvy & Frankie McMillan) and this year’s Ko Aotearoa Tatou: We Are New Zealand with Michelle Elvy & Paula Morris..

He has twice won the NZ Poetry Society’s International Poetry Award, been short listed for the Montana poetry awards for Letters to Dr Dee, and won an honour award for The Emerald Encyclopaedia at the NZ Children’s Book Awards. The Assassin of Gleam was short listed for the Esther Glen Medal, and won the Sir Julius Vogel Award. In 2010 The Loblolly Boy also short listed for the Esther Glen Award and won the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Junior Fiction Award. The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer, Felix and the Red Rats and The Pirates and the Nightmaker were shortlisted for the NZ Post Children’s Junior Fiction Awards.

James has been invited to a number of international poetry festivals and has been awarded a number of residencies including the Burns Fellowship, the Iowa International Writers Programme, and the University Of Otago College Of Education Creative New Zealand Fellowship for Children’s Writing.

With Bernadette Hall, he was presented with a Press Literary Liaisons Honour Award for lasting contribution to literature in the South Island. His first adult novel The Frog Prince was released by Penguin Random earlier this year and The Crate a ghost story for young adults has just been published by Quentin Wilson Publishing. In 2022 James received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry and in 2023 he was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal writing for young people.

Mikaela Nyman

Area: Taranaki and Dunedin in 2024
Genre: Fiction / non-fiction / poetry

Mikaela Nyman writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Swedish. She’s also an editor and translator. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in World Literature Today, Sport, Minarets, Turbine, Strong Words #1 and #2: the best of the Landfall Essay Competition, Lumière Reader, SWAMP, More of Us, Ko Aotearoa Tātou|We Are New Zealand, Trasdemar and Horisont.

Mikaela co-edited Sista, Stanap Strong! – the first Vanuatu women’s anthology of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, published by Te Herenga Waka University Press (THWUP) in 2021. The project entailed mentoring new and emerging writers. Her collaborative poems with ni-Vanuatu writers appear in A Game of Two Halves: The Best of Sport Magazine 2005-2019 (THWUP) and in the Climate Change Poetry Anthology No Other Place To Stand (AUP). For five years she’s been on the judging panel for the Given Words poetry competition and in 2023 she was the poetry judge for the Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards. She’s the Robert Burns Fellow at Otago University in 2024.

Mikaela’s climate fiction novel Sado was published by THWUP in 2020. Her first poetry collection När vändkrets läggs mot vändkrets (in Swedish) was short-listed for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2020. In 2021 Mikaela was the Writer in Residence for Massey University, Palmerston North City Council and Square Edge Community Arts Centre. She has facilitated and participated in creative writing workshops and literary events in New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Vanuatu. She holds an MA with Distinction (2012) and a PhD (2020) in Creative Writing from Victoria University.

Vincent O’Malley

Area: Wellington
Genre: History, non-fiction

Vincent O’Malley is a historian who has written and published extensively on the history of Māori and Pākehā relations in nineteenth century New Zealand.

Born and raised in Christchurch, he moved to Wellington in 1993 on a short-term contract researching Treaty claims and more than 25 years later remains in the capital, working for iwi, the Waitangi Tribunal and other parties in the claims resolution process.

It is through that work that he realised that this rich seam of New Zealand history was virtually unknown outside a relatively small group of claimants, lawyers and Tribunal officials. And so he began to publish some of his own research findings, including his widely-acclaimed and best-selling 2016 work on the Waikato War, which drew in part on earlier research for the Tribunal’s Rohe Pōtae (King Country) inquiry. It was through a similar desire to make this history accessible to a wide audience that he established this blog in 2012.

His books include: Agents of Autonomy: Māori Committees in the Nineteenth Century (Huia, 1998); The Beating Heart: A Political and Socio-Economic History of Te Arawa (Huia, 2008); The Treaty of Waitangi Companion: Māori and Pākehā from Tasman to Today (Auckland University Press, 2010); The Meeting Place: Māori and Pākehā Encounters, 1642-1840 (Auckland University Press, 2012); Beyond the Imperial Frontier: The Contest for Colonial New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2014); Haerenga: Early Māori Journeys Across the Globe (Bridget Williams Books, 2015); The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 (Bridget Williams Books, 2016); and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa (Bridget Williams Books, 2019).

He was the 2014 J D Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, where he worked on his new history of the Waikato War (The Great War for New Zealand), and is a founding partner of HistoryWorks, a Wellington-based research consultancy specialising in Treaty of Waitangi research. He holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Canterbury and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington.

Nicky Pellegrino

Area: Auckland
Genre: commercial women’s fiction

I’m the author of 14 novels, all published by Orion in the UK, a non-fiction title published by Allen & Unwin NZ and a very long time ago I ghostwrote a celebrity memoir for Random House. I’m also a freelance journalist and regular contributor to the Listener and the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly.

Kiri Piahana-Wong

Area: Whanganui
Genre: Poetry

Kiri Piahana-Wong (Ngāti Ranginui, Chinese, English) is a poet, editor and publisher. She founded Anahera Press in 2011. Anahera’s most recent publication is Birdspeak by Arihia Latham; previous authors include Apirana Taylor, Serie Barford, Ben Brown and Leilani Tamu. As a poet, Kiri’s work has appeared in over forty journals and anthologies, including Puna Wai Kōrero, Landfall, Essential NZ Poems, Poetry NZ, Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation, Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems, Vā: Stories by Women of the Moana, and more. She has one full-length collection, Night Swimming, and a second, Tidelines, is forthcoming in 2024. In September 2023 Kiri’s newest project, a 2-book anthology series showcasing contemporary Māori writing (Te Awa o Kupu and Ngā Kupu Wero), co-edited with Vaughan Rapatahana and Witi Ihimaera, was released by Penguin Random House. Kiri is passionate about poetry, decolonising literature, indigenous voices and breaking down barriers for marginalised writers. She also loves nature writing, food memoirs and romance novels.

Ruby Porter

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction and Poetry

Ruby Porter is a prose-writer, poet and artist. She was the winner of the Wallace Foundation Short Fiction Award in 2017, and the inaugural winner of the Michael Gifkins Prize in 2018, with her debut novel AttractionAttraction was written during her Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland, published in 2019 by Melbourne-based Text Publishing, and longlisted in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in 2020. It is distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand and North America. Her poetry, short fiction and nonfiction has been published in Newsroom, Milly Mag, Recess Mag, Geometry Journal, Antithesis Journal, Aotearotica, The Wireless and The Spinoff. A recorded selection of her poetry is available on New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre.

Ruby teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland, The Creative Hub, and in high schools. She has over fifteen years’ experience as a tutor, and has been a writing tutor since 2016.

Vivienne Plumb

Area: South Wairarapa
Genre: Poetry, long or short fiction, and drama

Vivienne Plumb is an award-winning poet, fiction writer (long and short), dramatist and creative nonfiction writer, with a B.A. (English Lit, Art History), M.A. (Creative Writ) and D.C.A. (Aust, Doctor in Creative Arts). She is based in South Wairarapa, and since she began writing at age 40 years, she has been the recipient of many residencies (Sargeson, University of Auckland/Michael King, University of Iowa, Hong Kong Baptist University, Varuna Writers Centre Australia, Massey University, University of Canterbury, 2018 Creative NZ Berlin Residency). She has worked in the arts all her life (previously working in the theatre) and has over nineteen publications in the areas mentioned above. Her interests include reading historical texts, food and its historical and sociological importance, theatre, poetry, state housing in Australia and NZ, jazz, NZ missionaries, and journals, daybooks, logbooks and diaries. She has taught creative writing at tertiary level, and is a client writer with Playmarket N.Z.; she has won a number of awards including the Hubert Church Prose Award and the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.

Maggie Rainey-Smith

Area: Lower Hutt
Genre: Literary and popular fiction

I am a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. My latest novel ‘Daughters of Messene’ was translated and published in Greece in 2019 and on the best seller list with Kedros Publishers. My first novel ‘About turns’ was the first New Zealand novel to be made a Guaranteed Great Read by Whitcoulls. My poetry memoir ‘Formica’ published in 2022, was on the bestseller list and received excellent reviews. I blog at

Sue Reidy

Area: Auckland
Genre: Adult fiction, crime fiction, memoir

Sue Reidy is an Auckland-based novelist, manuscript assessor, book editor, and freelance copywriter. Three of her novels have been published internationally (The Visitation, Four Ways to be a Woman, L’Amore Secondo Miranda). Her collection of short stories (Modettes) was published locally by Penguin. Her novel The Visitation was shortlisted in the NZ Montana Book Awards. She is a former Buddle Findlay Sargeson literary fellow and a former BNZ Katherine Mansfield short story winner. She has also been runner-up in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award. Her short stories have been anthologised and broadcast on Radio National. Sue’s poetry has been published in the Listener, Landfall, Jaam, Takahē, Bravado and International Literary Quarterly. She has participated in 15 local and three international literary festivals (Sydney, Brisbane, Wellington). She holds a Masters in Creative Writing with first-class honours from the University of Auckland.

Paddy Richardson

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Short fiction, Crime fiction, Historical fiction, Contemporary fiction

Paddy Richardson is the author of two collections of short stories, Choices and If We Were Lebanese and eight novels, The Company of a Daughter, A Year to Learn a Woman, Hunting Blind, Traces of Red, Cross Fingers, Swimming in the Dark, Through the Lonesome Dark and By the Green of the Spring. She has had her work published overseas; A Year to Learn A Woman (‘Der Frauenfanger’)  Hunting Blind (‘Komm Spiel Mit Mir’) and  Traces of Red  (‘Deine Schuld’) have been published by the German publishers Droemer Knaur  and ‘Swimming in the Dark’ has been published by MacMillans, Australia. Hunting Blind, Traces of Red, Cross Fingers and  Swimming in the Dark have all been finalists in the Ngaio Marsh Award  and Through the Lonesome Dark was shortlisted for the NZ Heritage Book Awards and longlisted for The Dublin Literary Awards.

Paddy has been awarded four Creative New Zealand Awards, the University of Otago Burns Fellowship in 1997, the Beatson Fellowship in 2007, the James Wallace Arts Trust Residency Award in 2011 and the Randell Cottage Residency in 2019. In 2012 she represented New Zealand at both the Leipzig and Frankfurt Book Fairs. She is an experienced awards assessor and competition judge, is an experienced teacher of creative writing, has been a speaker at many writing festivals and is a mentor and assessor for the NZSA  Writing Programmes.

Cristina A Schumacher

Area: Hamilton
Genre: Fiction: Flash fiction, Short story, Fantasy, History, Romance. Non-fiction: Self-help, (auto)biography, Memoir, Spirituality and esotericism, Language teaching and learning manuals, Storytelling

I have an innate appreciation for the power of stories and how to make them truly compelling. I recognise through my love of words that the ways in which they are used make the difference in creating a good story. I see creative writing as a process and when I provide feedback, I try to make sure that my contribution is both constructive and feasible so that authors feel genuinely motivated to continue improving their work. I am a multilingual writer and a linguist, and I have written poetry and fiction – flash, short, novel – all my life. With my experience of over 40 years of consistent contact with the written word through narratives, translations and language materials that I have produced, edited and proofread, I have developed the capacity to identify and indicate the points for improvement in texts of different kinds. Additionally, my extensive storytelling training under the mentoring of James McSill ( has further enabled me to approach a manuscript from a technical point of view and provide feedback towards professional publishing.

Tina Shaw

Area: Taupo
Genre: all genres except for romance and picture books

Tina Shaw is an editor and author of more than 20 publications for children, young adults and general readership – including The Children’s Pond and Ephemera. She is editor of the recently published Bateman New Zealand Writer’s Handbook, 7th Edition, and is 2023 winner of the Michael Gifkins Text Prize for an Unpublished Novel with A House Built on Sand – to be published in September 2024 by Text Publishing, Australia.

Her YA manuscript, Ursa, won the 2018 Storylines Tessa Duder Award and was published in 2019 by Walker Books. Ursa went on to claim a 2020 Storylines Notable Book award and was a finalist in the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young People.

Shaw has held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship, the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency, and the University of Waikato Writer-In-Residence. She is a manuscript assessor, mentor, external examiner for AUT’s Master of Creative Writing, editor of NZ Author, a publisher with Cloud Ink Press, and has been a NZAMA member for more than 18 years.

Elizabeth Smither

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: poetry, short story, journal

Elizabeth Smither has published 18 collections of poetry, was Te Mata poet laureate (2001-3), and was awarded an HonDLitt by Auckland University and the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2008. She also writes novels, journals and short stories, and is widely published in Australia, Britain and USA. Her latest poetry collection, ‘Night Horse’ won the Ockham poetry award 2018. “I like rotating literary genres so I have recently published a collection of short stories, a new collection of poems will be published shortly and I am working on four novellas. Each of these genres fascinates me and each has its own subtle demands and possibilities. Each time I learn something new. It can be fun to teach and explore at the same time”.

Vanda Symon

Area: Otago
Genre: Crime fiction/ general fiction / non-fiction

Vanda Symon has had four crime fiction novels in the Detective Sam Shepherd series and a stand-alone crime fiction novel, The Faceless, published by Penguin New Zealand. Her novels have also been translated into German and have been published in Britain by Orenda Books. She is a three-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. Overkill was short-listed for the 2019 British CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Bound was a finalist in the 2022 USA Barry Awards.

Vanda is also involved in broadcasting – producing and hosting a monthly radio show on books and writers on Otago Access Radio, and has reviewed books for National Radio. She has been a judge for the New Zealand Book Awards and the Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best Crime Novel. This has given her experience in critiquing both fiction and non-fiction work. Vanda has a PhD in science communication, and a professional background in Pharmacy. She works as a Research Fellow undertaking Pacific Health research at Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health at the University of Otago. Vanda is a Fijian New Zealander.

Melinda Szymanik

Area: Auckland
Genre: Picture Books, Junior Fiction, Children’s Short Stories

Melinda Szymanik has published children’s and YA novels, picture books, and short stories (in both trade and educational publications). Her picture book, Fuzzy Doodle, was a 2017 White Ravens selection, a 2017 Storylines Notable Book, a finalist in the 2017 NZ CYA Book Awards and was selected for the 2017 Queensland Premier’s Reading Challenge. Her novel, A Winter’s Day in 1939, won Librarian’s Choice at the 2014 LIANZA Awards, was a Storylines Notable Book and was shortlisted for the 2014 NZ Post CYA Book Awards. Her second picture book, The Were Nana, won the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Choice Award, was a Storylines Notable Book and was short listed for the 2010 Sakura Medal.

Melinda was the 2014 University of Otago, College of Education, Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence, and completed her first novel Jack the Viking (Scholastic 2008) while on the NZSA’s mentoring programme in 2005. Melinda runs creative writing workshops for adults and children, blogs regularly on writing (at ) and is one of a group of New Zealand writers taking part in an innovative on-line novel writing experiment –

Penelope Todd

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Fiction, both adult and young adult. Creative non-fiction and memoir

Penelope Todd is the author of several successful novels for young adults and adults, a collaborative, bilingual novel and a writing memoir. From 2010 to 2020 she was the publisher of original ebooks at She edits children’s books in translation for Gecko Press, and freelances in editing, and in manuscript and peer assessment.

Geoff Walker

Area: Auckland
Genre: Non-fiction please, preference for history, memoir, biography, etc.

Geoff Walker was for many years Publishing Director of Penguin New Zealand, where he worked with many leading New Zealand authors whose books won a large number of awards. Geoff is now working as a freelance publishing consultant, editor and manuscript assessor. He is also a former commissioning editor on the BWB Texts series of books published by Bridget Williams Books. Geoff offers sound and expert advice on manuscript assessment, writing, rewriting and editing. He can also advise on the best way to publish and which publishers to approach.

For authors who wish to ‘indie’ publish he offers a wide array of advice on how to proceed. He can also project manage a book from the original manuscript through its editorial and design stages to finished printed copies or e-books. Geoff’s personal interests lie in contemporary fiction, biography, memoir and history but he also works with all kinds of books across a broad range.

Alison Wong

Area: Geelong, Victoria
Genre: literary and general fiction/novels, poetry, creative nonfiction/essays/memoir

Alison Wong is a fourth-generation Chinese New Zealander. She lives in Australia but returns to Aotearoa NZ regularly, particularly to Wellington. She writes novels, creative non-fiction/memoir and poetry. Her work has been translated and published in French, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Italian and Chinese.

Alison spent several years in China in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2014 she was the inaugural NZ writer on the Shanghai International Writers’ Programme and in 2016 she held a Sun Yat Sen University International Writers’ Residency. She was awarded the 2002 Robert Burns Fellowship and a 2022 Marion Orme Page Regional Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria.

Her novel, As the Earth Turns Silver, won the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. In 2018 it was voted by NZ booksellers as one of their top twenty bestsellers of the decade.

Her poetry collection, Cup, was shortlisted for Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her poetry appeared in Best NZ Poems 2015, 2007 and 2006 and in international publications. She is working on a memoir and her essays/memoir pieces have been published in Aotearoa, Australia, China, the US and Mexico. She has taught poetry and novel-writing workshops.

In 2018 she was one of the poetry judges for the Ockham NZ Book Awards and in 2020, a consulting editor for the Asian culture site Hainamana. She is coeditor of A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand (AUP, 2021), the first anthology of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction by Asian New Zealanders.