List of Mentors for NZSA Youth 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).

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.

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.

David Hill

Area: New Plymouth
Genre: Fiction for YA and Children

David Hill is a fulltime writer whose novels, plays and short stories for children and teenagers have been published in some 14 countries. 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. 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. In 2023, his novel BELOW won the same award.

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.

Sharon Manssen

Area: Tauranga
Genre: Fantasy, Action Adventure, YA, Middle Grade

A fantasy fan since being read ‘The Hobbit’ by her father at the fireside at the age of six, S R Manssen has been an avid bookworm her entire life. When the idea for her trilogy popped into her head, there was never any doubt that it would be in the fantasy genre. Sharon is now the multi-award nominated author of The Realmshift Trilogy – a YA fantasy fiction trilogy: Medar (2017 – Tom Fitzgibbon Award finalist, 2015), Tyrelia (2019 – Sir Julius Vogel (SJV) Awards finalist, 2020) and Golden City (2020 – SJV and Caleb Awards finalist, 2021). She is an NZSA StartWrite Manuscript Assessor, NZSA Complete Manuscript Assessor, NZSA Youth Mentor. She was the President of Tauranga Writers from 2019 to 2024. She has been the President of SpecFicNZ since 2022.

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 MysticShortland Street and Under the Vines.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.