List of Youth Mentors for NZSA Mentor Programme

Ivy Alvarez

Area: Auckland
Genre: poetry and fiction
Contact: Email, skype, face to face (if possible)

Ivy Alvarez is keen to work with writers who value impactful words and memorable imagery, and can advise on both creative and practical concerns in the writing arena.

A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of several poetry collections, including The Everyday English Dictionary (London: Paekakariki Press). Her work is widely published and anthologised, with several poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. Her editing credits include a fine line (NZ Poetry Society), and Atlanta Review’s first New Zealand edition

Deborah Challinor

Area: Hamilton
Genre: Historical, contemporary, young adult and crime fiction
Email, phone, skype, face to face (if possible)

I’m the bestselling author of two works of non-fiction, fifteen historical novels, and a young adult novel (for Scholastic Australia). My books sell in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Germany and Russia, and in print, digital and audio formats. I’ve taught researching and writing historical fiction at university level for several years, and in 2016 received a distinguished alumni award from Waikato University.

I also have a Ph.D. in military history, specialising in New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, from which came my first non-fiction book, Grey Ghosts. I was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature and historical research in 2018.

I write commercial/popular fiction, with a strong focus on well-developed characters and solid story arcs, and I set most of my novels in New Zealand and/or Australia in either the 19th or the middish-20th century. It’s the history that fascinates me and I thoroughly enjoy researching all of my books.

I also enjoy writing series, including The Children of War series, The Smuggler’s Wife series, and the Convict Girls series, and I’m currently working on my fourth now. I write full time and I’m published by a traditional publisher.

Michelle Elvy

Area: Northland
Genre: fiction (novel, short story, flash fiction); hybrid novella or novels in flash fiction/ poetry; creative nonfiction and travel; memoir; YA
Contact: Phone, email, Skype, Coffee / tea meetings

Michelle Elvy is a writer and editor recently re-located to Dunedin. She is founder of National Flash Fiction Day NZ and the online journal Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction. Recent book projects include Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (edited with Frankie McMillan and James Norcliffe, CUP 2018), the Best Small Fictions series (Assistant Editor since 2015, Sonder Press, US) and Flash Fiction International (associate editing team, W. W. Norton 2015; editors James Thomas, Christopher Merrill and Robert Shapard). In 2019/2020 she is co-editing Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand, with Paula Morris and James Norcliffe.

A Fulbright scholar and Watson Fellow, Michelle is also a Pushcart nominee and recipient of the NZ Society of Authors/ Auckland Museum Library grant and the NZSA Mentorship programme. She has judged various competitions hosted in New Zealand and abroad, including the South Island Writers’ Association, the International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangarei Poetry Walk, NorthWrite’s collaboration competition, the NYC Challenge and the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Her work as a writer/ editor has always overlapped with her sense of community, reflected by projects such as 52|250: A Year of Flash (2010-11), An Aotearoa Affair: From Kiel to Kaitaia (2012), the Tuesday Poem group, Whangarei’s Pecha Kucha (2012/13) and National Flash Fiction Day. Michelle’s poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published and anthologised. Her book, the everrumble (Ad Hoc Fiction 2019), is a small novel in small forms, launched at the 2019 UK Flash Fiction Festival.

Laurence Fearnley

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Adult fiction and non-fiction
Contact: email, phone, skype, face to face (if possible)

I am a novelist and non-fiction writer living in Dunedin. I have published ten novels and many of these relate to landscape and regional or rural parts of Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

Reach, was long-listed for the 2016 Ockham NZ Book Awards and my 2011 novel, The Hut Builder won the fiction category of the NZ Post Book Awards and was shortlisted for the international 2010 Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain writing. My novel Edwin and Matilda was runner-up in the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and my second novel, Room, was shortlisted for the 2001 Montana Book Awards. In 2004 I was awarded the Artists to Antarctica fellowship and in 2007 the Robert Burns fellowship at the University of Otago.

In 2015 I worked alongside mountaineer Lydia Bradey to write Going Up is Easy, a climbing memoir that was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Literature Award.

In 2016 I was awarded (with Paul Hersey) the Friends of the Hocken Collections award to edit an anthology of New Zealand mountaineering writing, to be published by Otago University Press in 2018.

I received the 2016 Janet Frame Memorial Award and the 2016 NZSA/Auckland Museum National Research Grant and I’m currently working on a book of essays and short fiction exploring landscape through scent. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington. I am most suited to mentoring novelists, or non-fiction writers with an interest in the natural environment, the outdoors or mountaineering.

James George

Area: Auckland
Genre: Adult Fiction, Short Story, Non-fiction, writing tutor
Contact: Email, phone, skype, face to face (if possible)

James George is a novelist, short story writer and manuscript consultant. He is the current chair of Te Ha – the Literature Committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa – the Maori Arts Council.  He is also a very experienced creative writing tutor (currently at AUT and Unitec) and the co-director of The Story Bridge – a company which provides tuition on creative writing and independent publishing. George’s published work includes the novels Wooden Horse, Hummingbird and Ocean Roads. Hummingbird, was short listed for the Deutz Medal in fiction (Montana NZ Book Awards) and chosen as Whitcoulls ‘Book of the Month’ in 2003. George is also the co-author of a biography, Showbands – Mahora and The Maori Volcanics published by Huia in 2005. Over the last ten years he has had numerous short stories published in various anthologies and he is currently working on two further novels under contract to Huia Publishers.

Mandy Hager

Area: Paraparaumu, Wellington
Genre: YA and adult novels, non-fiction resources, scripts and shorter fiction
Contact: email, phone, skype, face to face (if possible)

Mandy Hager is a multi-award winning writer of fiction for young adults. She has won the LIANZA Book Awards for Young Adult fiction 3 times (‘Smashed’ 2008, ‘The Nature of Ash’ 2013, ‘Dear Vincent’ 2014), the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for YA fiction (‘The Crossing’ 2010), an Honour Award in the 1996 AIM Children’s Book Awards (‘Tom’s Story’), Golden Wings Excellence Award (‘Juno Lucina,’ 2002), Golden Wings Award (‘Run For The Trees’, 2003) and Five Notable Book Awards. She has also been awarded the 2012 Beatson fellowship, the 2014 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship and the 2015 Waikato University Writer in Residence. In 2015 her novel ‘Singing Home the Whale’ was awarded the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award, and the Best Young Adult fiction Award from the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 2017 Penguin NZ published ‘Heloise’, a historical novel for adults.

She is a trained teacher, with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (Whitireia) and an MA in Creative Writing for Victoria University. Her ‘Blood of the Lamb’ trilogy has been published in the US by Pyr Books. She also writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles, and currently tutors the Novel Course for Whitireia’s Creative Writing Programme.

Karyn Hay

Area: Auckland
Genre: Literary fiction, short story, non-fiction, radio
Contact: email, mobile, face to face, facetime
Website: Karyn Hay profile

Karyn Hay is an award-winning novelist: her debut novel Emerald Budgies won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2001. She was awarded a Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 2004 with a six-month residency in the Frank Sargeson apartments in Auckland, and is currently a literary advisor to the Frank Sargeson Trust. Her latest novel The March of the Foxgloves was published in December 2016 and was a No.1 bestseller on the New Zealand Fiction list. She has worked as a copywriter, television front person, producer and director, radio announcer, newspaper columnist, and been General Manager of radio station Kiwi FM. She has also been on numerous boards and was the inaugural Chair of Women in Film and Television, Auckland branch. Karyn Hay profile

David Hill

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: Young adult and children’s literature
Contact: Email, phone, face to face (if possible)

New Plymouth author of many novels for kids and teenagers. Winner of Times Educational Supplement Special Needs Award, CBC Children’s Book Award (USA) for See Ya, Simon, Esther Glen Medal for Fat, Four-Eyed and Useless, prize-winner in AIM Book Awards, and the NZ Post Book Awards. His latest YA novel is Fire on High. David has received the Margaret Mahy Medal Award, and has been translated into many languages including German, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch, and has recently been awarded the Prix D’Adolire in France. He has held Writer’s Residencies in NZ and the USA. In 2013, his novel “My Brother’s War” won the NZ Post Junior Fiction Award.

David also writes for adults, books, newspaper pieces – humour, travel, reviews. Stories and plays. His work is published extensively overseas. In 2001 he had books translated into Mandarin and Estonian and received the Gaelyn Gordon Best-Loved book Award for See Ya Simon. He likes writing about fears and embarrassments. And for young people because they’re ‘such a truthful audience’.

Lesley Marshall

Area: Northland
Genre: Editing (non-fiction, fiction, short story)      Member of NZAMA
Contact: Email, phone, face to face (if possible)

Lesley Marshall runs Editline, a freelance editing service in Northland. She has over 35 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. As well as acting as outside assessor for the NorthTec and Whitireia Polytechnic writing programmes and mentor for Whitireia, she is currently teaching on-line writing and editing papers for NorthTec. 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 founding member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors.

Rae McGregor

Area: Auckland
Genre: Fiction, and non-fiction.
Contact: Email, phone, skype, face to face (if possible)

Rae has written five books.  Three biographies a children’s story and a novel.  She has also had short stories published.

Rae works as a full time writer and assessor and reviews regularly for National Radio both fiction and non-fiction work.

She is also closely involved with theatre and has directed several plays for Howick Little Theatre and for Dolphin Theatre.

Diana Menefy

Area: Northland
Genre: Fiction, non-fiction, adults, children’s and YA. I prefer not to cover science fiction or fantasy and no poetry.
Contact: Email, Coffee / tea meetings

In addition to being an experienced tutor and course designer, Diana has had novels and short stories
published and numerous articles for newspapers, magazines and educational organisations. She has
written five commissioned local histories, the last being the centenary history of Whangarei Hospital
for Northland Health, two non-fiction books aimed at the tourist market, and four novels.
Her second novel Shadow of the Boyd was shortlisted for NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and won the LIANZA
Esther Glen medal in 2011. Her novel 1915 Wounds of War, was the second book in the Scholastic WW1 Series Kiwis At War, and has recently had its third or fourth reprint. Diana’s first picture book I Had a Brother came out in July this year with OneTree House Publishing. She has another junior historical novel Chasing Silver with a publisher, and is now working on a contemporary YA novel Judging is Lethal.

Kyle Mewburn

Area: Central Otago
Genre: Picture books, general children’s fiction
Contact: Email, Phone, Skype, face to face (if possible), et al

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.

Lee Murray

Area: Tauranga
Genre: Fiction, adult/YA/MG, short story. Special interest in speculative and dark fiction projects
Contact: phone, email, Skype, Coffee / tea meetings, face to face

Lee Murray is two-time Bram Stoker Award nominee and New Zealand’s most awarded writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows). She is the author of the multi-award-winning Taine McKenna speculative military series (Severed Press Australia) and supernatural crime-noir series, The Path of Ra (Raw Dog Screaming Press, USA) co-authored with Dan Rabarts. Her latest title for children Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse was published by IFWG Publishing Australia in 2019. She is proud to have edited thirteen anthologies of speculative and dark fiction, including seven by New Zealand school students. Lee lives with her family in Tauranga, where she conjures up fiction from her office overlooking a cow paddock. Visit her at

Dan Myers

Area: New Zealand / Santa Fe
Genre: Editor, Short Story, Consultant
Contact: Email, skype, face to face (if possible)

Daniel Myers was the owner of Wordlink Literary Agency with agents based in the USA, New Zealand, an overseas rights manager in Istanbul and a film/tv rights agent in Los Angeles, providing a wide market for authors from 8 different countries. In addition to running a busy literary agency, he is also a novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor and publisher (AE Link Publications, Inc.– publishers of language training materials for pilots and air traffic controllers). He also has more than 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry. He currently divides his time between New Zealand and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

James Norcliffe

Area: Canterbury
Genre: Poetry, fiction for young people, short story
Contact: Email, phone, face to face (if possible)

James has had many years’ experience as a writer and editor. He has published nine collections of poetry, most recently Villon in Millerton, Shadow Play, Dark Days at the Oxygen Café and a collection of poems for younger people Packing A Bag for Mars; eleven 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, and Twice Upon a Time. He has written a collection of short stories, The Chinese Interpreter.

He is poetry editor for Takahē magazine, 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. With Siobhan Harvey and Harry Ricketts he edited the major anthology Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (2014) and with Jo Preston an anthology of poems about the Canterbury earthquakes: Leaving the Red Zone (2016).

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.

Kiri Piahana-Wong

Area: Auckland
Genre: Poetry
Contact: Phone, Email, Face to Face, Zoom, Skype, Coffee / tea meetings

Kiri Piahana-Wong is of Māori (Ngāti Ranginui), Chinese and Pākehā (English) ancestry. She is a poet and editor, and is the publisher at Anahera Press. Anahera publishes and promotes the work of Māori and Pasifika poets, and has also published one novel. Anahera’s books have been frequent award nominees, including two longlist placings and one shortlist placing in the Ockham NZ Book Awards, and finalist placings in the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards.

Kiri’s poetry has appeared in over forty journals and anthologies, including Landfall, Essential NZ Poems, Poetry NZ, Puna Wai Kōrero, Bonsai: The Big Book of Small Stories, Atlanta Review, Set Me on Fire (Doubleday anthology, UK), Ora Nui, Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation, Takahē, A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems, Solid Air, and more. She has one full-length collection, Night Swimming (2013), and a second, Tidelines, is forthcoming. Kiri was an MC at Poetry Live, NZ’s longest-running live poetry venue, for six years.

Kiri has worked in the publishing industry, primarily as an editor, for over fifteen years. She started her editing career working in legal publishing and went on to work as a freelance editor and book project manager. She has also worked for AUP and Huia. For the last five years Kiri has specialised in poetry editing and manuscript assessment. She has a particular interest in writing by poets of colour and those who are marginalised by the mainstream.

Paddy Richardson

Area: Dunedin
Genre: Short story, novel, Crime/psychological thriller, historical fiction
Contact: Email, phone, face to face, Skype

Paddy Richardson has taught numerous creative fiction writing courses, has been awarded three Creative New Zealand Awards, the University of Otago Burns Fellowship in 1997, the Beatson Fellowship in 2007 and the James Wallace Arts Trust Residency Award in 2011. In 2012 she was invited to and attended both the Leipzig and Frankfurt Book fairs.

As a writer of short fiction, her stories have been widely broadcast on New Zealand National Radio, published both locally and in Australia and short-listed for the 1997 BNZ Mansfield Awards, the international short story Best of Penknife 2006 and won a highly commended award in the Sunday Star Times Awards, 2005. She has published two collections of short stories, Choices and If We Were Lebanese and six novels, The Company of a Daughter, A Year to Learn a Woman, Hunting Blind, Traces of Red, Cross Fingers and Swimming in the Dark.  A Year to Learn A Woman (‘Der Frauenfanger’), Hunting Blind (‘Komm Spiel Mit Mir’) and Traces of Red (Deine Schuld) have been published by German publishers Droemer Knaur. Through the Lonesome Dark published in May 2017

Joan Rosier-Jones

Area: Whanganui
Genre: Fiction and Non-Fiction
Contact: Phone, email, Coffee / tea meetings, face to face

Joan Rosier-Jones writes fiction and non-fiction. She has also written and had two plays produced. She began her working life as a teacher, and now combines her two passions – writing and teaching by running classes and writers’ retreats for adults and working with the NZA programmes for emerging writers. She has taught creative writing for several institutions – University of Auckland, UNITEC, and local community education services. Several of her students have gained success in the world of publishing. Her popular, So You Want to Write, a guide for aspiring authors, was updated and reprinted in 2018. Other similar subjects include family history writing, book publicity and marketing. She is the author of several courses for the NZ Institute of Business Studies, and has published a number of novels since her first book, Cast Two Shadows, described as a ‘powerfully realistic novel’, was released in 1985. A true murder mystery, The Murder of Chow Yat, was published in 2009. Her last novel, Waiting for Elizabeth, was set in Tudor Ireland. Doing it My Way is an Egyptian memoir, which she co-wrote with Egyptian entrepreneur, Elhamy Elzayat and her latest publication is Literary Whanganui which is based on literary walks and bus tours she has organised over the last 15 years.

Vanda Symon

Area: Otago
Genre: Crime fiction/ general fiction / non-fiction
Contact: Email, phone, face to face (if possible)

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 are being published in Britain. 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.

Vanda is also involved in broadcasting – producing and hosting a monthly radio show on books and writers, and has reviewed books for National Radio. This has given her experience in critiquing both fiction and non-fiction work. She has been a book awards judge for the NZ Post Book awards, and the Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best Crime Novel. Vanda has a PhD in science communication, and a professional background in Pharmacy.

Philippa Werry

Area: Wellington
Genre: children’s literature, non-fiction
Contact: Email, skype, phone, face to face (if possible)

Philippa is a Wellington writer whose non-fiction, poetry, stories and plays have been widely published, anthologised and broadcast on radio. Eight of her books have been named as Storylines Notable Books and a number of titles, both fiction and non-fiction, have been shortlisted for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults: Enemy at the Gate (2009), Anzac Day: the New Zealand story (2014, and also shortlisted for the Lianza Book Awards 2014), Waitangi Day: the New Zealand story (Children’s Choice section, 2015), The New Zealand Wars (2018) and The Telegram (2019). Her work has also appeared in the School Journal and other educational publications.

Philippa was runner up in the Playmarket Plays for the Young Competition 2010 and a Finalist in the Storylines Joy Cowley Award 2015. She has been shortlisted for the Text Publishing Prize and the Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (three times) and was the recipient of the New Zealand Society of Authors Mid-Career Writers Award in 2010 and a CLNZ/NZSA research grant in 2015. In April 2014, she travelled to Turkey as a member of the Gallipoli Volunteers program to help out at the Anzac Day ceremonies. In April 2016, she was awarded the Anzac Bridge Fellowship, and in December 2016, she went to Antarctica with the Antarctica NZ community engagement programme (formerly Artists and Writers to Antarctica). She was awarded the Easter residency at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2019. Philippa is an online writing tutor, maintains several blogs, is a frequent speaker at book-related events and seminars and visits schools around the country as part of the Writers in Schools programme. She is passionate about the need to tell our stories and our history to our children and young people.

Ella West

Area: Otago/Southland
Genre: Junior and Young Adult Fiction
Contact: Email, skype, phone, Facebook, face to face (if possible)

Ella West is the pen name of Karen Trebilcock. She writes Young Adult fiction including Night Vision and the thriller series Thieves, and has been published here and overseas. She is a multi-award winning novelist and in 2010 was the University Of Otago College Of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence. She enjoys teaching in schools and helping people develop their writing skills.

Alison Wong

Area: Melbourne, Australia
Genre: Poetry, non-fiction, memoir, novel
Contact: Email, skype, phone, FaceTime, face to face (if possible)

Alison Wong is a fourth-generation Chinese New Zealander. She currently lives in Australia but returns to NZ regularly, particularly to Auckland and 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 the 2002 Robert Burns Fellow.

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 and her poetry appeared in Best NZ Poems 2015, 2007 and 2006. In 2018 she was one of the poetry judges for the Ockham NZ Book Awards. Her essays/memoir pieces have been published in Australia, China, the US and Mexico. She is currently co-editing an anthology of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction by new Asian NZ voices, and working on a memoir.