Latest news from PenNorth – the newsletter of Northland Authors

Poetic Documentary

Past Present, the documentary about the poet and environmentalist Peter Dane, is now available on YouTube.
A former professor of English at Auckland University, Peter had survived the Shoah in England and Australia before he became a teacher and academic in East-Africa and New Zealand.
Peter spent the last years of his life as a poet and co-founder of Friends of the Earth in the Bay of Islands. In his poetry, unlike that of many (post-) modern writers, this revolutionary traditionalist celebrated form and beauty as means of realising and contemplating the limited and contingent, yet potentially transcendent and universal liberty of the arts.

Te Puna Women’s Refuge Critiquing Raffle

Lesley Marshall is running her annual Christmas raffle. The prize is a full novel critique (or the equivalent time in editing) in memory of Lesley’s son, with funds to go to Te Puna Women’s Refuge.
To enter, simply send a cheque (made out to Te Puna) to Lesley Marshall (Editline, 20 Beverley Cres, RD 9 Whangarei 0179), and she will put you in the draw. Alternatively, you can direct debit money into Te Puna’s account (Acc: 123101 0056429 00; name: Te Puna o Te Aroha Women’s Refuge) and let Lesley know what you’ve paid them so she knows how many chances to give you. If an overseas writer wants to enter they can donate to their local refuge equivalent. You can contact Lesley at editline[at]
The draw is on 20 December. The critique is for a novel or any similar piece of work, and the winner can send it any time in the next year, either on paper or by email. The costs for entries are as follows:
One chance = $20; 3 chances $30; 6 chances $40; 10 chances $50; 15 chances $60.
The refuge gets very short of food during the festive season, though one year they used the money to create a children’s playground for the families there, and another year they bought clothes for the children. Whatever they use it for, rest assured you’re creating a lot of Christmas joy with your entries. These are people who have suffered hugely, and have often walked out of what should have been their safe, happy homes with only the clothes they stand up in. They really do need all our support. And Christmas is unfortunately the refuge’s busiest time.

Courage Day

The Empty Chair

November 15th was Courage Day – the day of the imprisoned writer. Our empty chair was in honour of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukranian writer charged with terrorism by a Russian court and sentenced to 20 years in a Siberian penal colony, which is the farthest place he could be sent from his home in Crimea. The charges were made up to silence him. Click here to find out how you can help more.

Northland Noteworthies:

  • Jac Jenkins has had a poem (untitled) accepted for publication in the next issue of The American Journal of Poetry, due out on New Year’s Day.
  • Di Menefy’s 1915 Wounds of War is to be translated into braille and turned into an audio book.
  • Kamala Jackson’s manuscript We Are One has been picked by The Literary Consultancy (UK) for their November showcase.

What’s On?

Creative Writing Workshop: From Inspiration to Publication

Practical Fiction Writing Advice and Motivation. Northland indie author Michael Botur delivers a down-to-earth four-hour workshop on fiction writing. Poets can attend too, although fiction will be the main focus of the day.
Where: Te Ahu Centre (Conference Room), Cnr Matthews Ave & South Rd, Kaitaia, Far North.
When: Saturday, 15 December 2018, 9:00am – 1:00pm with two short breaks.
Cost: $45, including writing feedback before and after the workshop.
Email mike[at] to book your ticket.

Poetry Events

FFP5 cover

  • Dirty Word Open Mic at Old Stone Butter Factory, Whangarei: Wed 12 Dec and Wed 9 Jan at 7pm.
  • Poets at ONEONESIX at 116 Bank Street, Whangarei: Thurs 20 Dec and Thurs 17 Jan at 5pm.

Fast Fibres Poetry Five available from fastfibres[at]
$10 for one copy, $15 for two copies.

A full list of Northland writing events, opportunities and writers’ groups can be found here.


NorthTec Applied Writing Courses: Interested in writing picture books? Northtec will be offering their Picture Book paper just once in 2019. It starts in February and runs for four months. If you would like more information about the Picture Book course or any of NorthTec’s creative writing programmes then please contact Kathy Derrick (kderrick[at] or visit their website here.

Unclie glenn

Wanted to buy: Uncle Glenn and Me by Glenn Colquhoun illustrated by Kevin Wildman. This is a much-loved picture book but now my children are having children my only copy is in danger of being purloined. Lesley Marshall editline[at]

Please send us any little bits and pieces that you think might be useful for our Northland members. This includes any writing services you offer, links to useful (or fun) websites that you want to share, writing jobs you hear about, or even a request for a copy of an out-of-print book. Priority will be given to fresh content. Please refer to the contributor’s guidelines for requirements.

Competitions and Opportunities

Best New Zealand Poems

Best New Zealand Poems (published annually by the International Institute of Modern Letters) aims to introduce readers to leading contemporary New Zealand poets.
Only poems or books of poems by New Zealanders published within the calendar year of the current collection are eligible for consideration.
Submissions must be received by 17 December 2018.

Fresh Ink, 2019

fresh ink

With the success of their first anthology in 2017, Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2017, Cloud Ink Press is excited to again be taking submissions for the second in the series to be published in late 2019. The anthology will contain works across a range of fields and genres.
Submissions are open to all New Zealanders, who are either living in New Zealand or have a New Zealand passport, and will close on the 23rd of December.
For further details, visit the Cloud Ink Press submissions page.

NZSA Mentor Programme 2019 – open for applications

typewriter mentorship

Apply now to be mentored by an established writer, poet, playwright or graphic novelist.
The NZSA Mentor Programme accepts applications for the 2019 programme from 1 Dec 2018 to 1 Feb 2019.
The NZ Society of Authors Mentor programme 2019 seeks applications from writers and comic / graphic novelists looking for professional development, a safe space to discuss their work, intellectual community, role models, accountability and substantive feedback.
The writers and creators who gained mentorships in 2018 polished and refined their skills under talented mentors such as Paula Morris, Pip Adam, Geoff Walker and Vivienne Plumb. The NZSA Mentor Programme has an equally impressive group of mentors available for 2019.
This programme is made possible thanks to support from Creative New Zealand. This year, as part of our commitment to diversity, we have again tagged 3 mentorships for emerging writers identifying as Maori, Pasifika and Asian. Learn more…

2019 Calibre Essay Prize

Entry is now open for 2019 Calibre Essay Prize. Founded in 2007 and now worth a total of AU$7500, the Calibre Prize is one of the world’s leading prizes for a new non-fiction essay.
Entry is open to all essayists writing in English. They are seeking essays of between 2,000 and 5,000 words on any subject and welcome essays of all kinds: personal or political, literary or speculative, traditional or experimental.
Entries close 14 January 2019.

2019 Wallace Foundation Short Fiction Contest

This is a contest only for LGBTQI writers, offering an incredible opportunity to upskill and show your writing talent.
First prize is $1000 cash for the winning story, $500 for the runner up and $500 cash for the best writing from a promising young writer aged under 25.
The word limit is a maximum of 2000 words and should not be exceeded. Stories must exceed 1200 words. Entries will close Sunday 31 March 2019. Check it out…

For information on other competitions and awards check out the Calendar of Opportunities on your NZSA website’s members-only page.

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