Meet the NZ Society of Authors, Northland Branch Committee


Kathy 2Kathy Derrick writes mainly for children and young adults.  Most of her published works are with Learning Media.  Her latest projects include tidying up a junior fantasy novel, and reviewing New Zealand children’s books and interviewing their authors at: NZ Children’s Book Reviews.  Kathy is a trained tertiary teacher, and tutors on the NorthTec Applied Writing Diploma.  Kathy is in her second term as NZ Authors Northland Branch Chair, a role she thoroughly enjoys.


Maureen writes mainly poetry and children’s picture books, and has had poetry published both on-line and in magazines such as A Fine Line.

Maureen has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, and was short-listed for the 2012 Joy Cowley Award.  She enjoys blogging, and finds Facebook a good way to keep up with her children and grand-children.  Maureen is slowly working through her ‘bucket list’ which included a trip on the Ghan and a visit to Coober Pedy. She has just published her picture book, Fearless Fred and the Dragon.


Lesley MarshallLesley Marshall is a freelance editor, who also teaches three polytechnic papers, teaches part-time at a couple of primary schools, works as a mentor and assessor for the Society of Authors, is occasionally hired by publishers as a publishers’ editor, helps judge writing competitions, teaches specialist writing classes for children, and periodically works as an assessor for Whitireia Polytechnic.  She isn’t a writer, though she used to compile crossword puzzles for magazines, and has had a couple of stories on the radio.



Karen Phillips works full-time as a school administrator. She began writing with a course in 2009 and won the Katherine Mansfield Novice Award and the Heartland Short Story contest that year and has enjoyed success in other contests since then. She recently discovered the immediateness of short, short fiction and is exploring that genre at present with the Flash Frontier contest in addition to writing longer stories, which she hopes will be enough for a collection in the not-too-distant future.


1173 NZ Post Childrens Book Awards 2011In 1996 Di was instrumental in forming the Northland Branch of NZSA. Until then Northland members either travelled to Auckland for meetings or had to make do with written communications. When the Northland branch was started it had about 25 members and now has over 80. Di has held a committee position since the branch was first conceived and at various times has been Chairperson, National Council Delegate, Website Officer and Treasurer.
Di’s first stories and articles were published in the New Zealand Farmer and School Journal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but she got sidetracked into journalism. During the 1980s and 1990s most of her published work was non-fiction and she spent five years as a part-time feature writer for the local paper, then went freelance to work on commissioned histories. Her first junior novel (River Crossing) was published in 2001. In 2010 her second junior novel, Shadow of the Boyd, was published by HarperCollins. This book was a finalist in the NZ Post Awards and went on to win the LIANZA Esther Glen medal.
Di is now Programme Leader for the Northtec Applied Writind Diploma and is currently working on a third (and fourth) novel.



daphneDaphne de Jong’s writing career is lengthy and includes short stories – for which she has won prizes including the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award – best-selling romantic fiction published world wide, and non-fiction.  Her two non-fiction books have also won awards and she has occasionally published poetry in literary magazines.
She has studied script writing and completed a full length movie script that was judged as ‘good’ by a Hollywood studio assessor.  However, no one has so far has offered to buy it!
Her short story collection Crossing the Bar published by David Ling and historical novel Gather the Wind (HarperCollins) earned rave reviews.  She has taught writing for various educational institutions and at her home “Karaveer” which functioned as a writers’ retreat and venue for writing courses.
Daphne has been a long-time member of the Northland branch of NZ Authors, working tirelessly in many roles.  In recognition of her many literary achievements and the regard the branch has for her, she has been nominated for the 2013 Prime Minister’s Award in Literary Achievement.


DerinDerin Attwood’s career as an embroidery tutor ended when a house fire destroyed her sewing resources. She turned her sights to words, and wrote short stories and a book of poems for family and friends. While on a four-year motor-homing sojourn around New Zealand she decided to write a travel piece, but quickly realised travelogues did not suit her. So a short story began while she thought about what to do next. There was no next. Like Topsy, it grew, and The Caves of Kirym became the first novel in her Token series. She published this novel independently in 2011, and the second book will be released in April 2013.


Freelance writer Sandra Bogart profiles ‘random’ folks in her Northlanders at Play column for the Northern Advocate newspaper which allows her to prove that you cannot judge a book by its cover; or a Northlander by their clothing or car.  Whether four or 94, Northlanders have quirky stories to tell and hobbies to match their stories, and Sandra loves sharing them.
She also writes the Bream Bay Community Spirit column for the Northern Advocate and thus keeps her finger on the pulse of parties, fundraisers and other worthwhile developments from Ruakaka to Mangawhai and over to Maungaturoto. She has also written for and edited Region Wise, the quarterly newsletter/magazine for the Northland Region Fire Service.  Fire-fighters are reluctant heroes, she has found, and getting them to tell their stories and receive any praise at all has been, perhaps, more difficult than putting out fires!
Throughout her careers as dietician, exercise physiologist, belly dancer, real estate salesperson and landscape gardener, Sandra has written about her passions.  Presently she has begun writing original comedy songs to sing along with her ukulele and looks forward to keeping her friends laughing.


Zana Bell writes in a variety of genre, her novels covering YA, historical and contemporary romance. Her second novel based on Charlotte Badger, convict, pirate and New Zealand’s first known English woman migrant won the Cataromance Single Title’s 10 Best Books of 2008.  She won the Cataromance Reviewers’ Award 2010 for her romance. She has also written short stories and articles which have appeared in publications such as Landfall, NZ Geographic, Takahe, Grace and History Scotland as well as being broadcast on National Radio.  In 2000 she was awarded a Creative New Zealand grant and was the recipient of a National Archives Oral Histories grant in 2002.  In 2006 she worked with Elizabeth Smither under the NZ Society of Authors Mentor Scheme and was shortlisted for the NZSA Mid-Careers Grant in 2012. She has two New Zealand historical adventures coming out in October 2013 and 2014.


Michelle Elvy

Michelle Elvy is an editor, writer and writing coach/ private tutor. Years ago she sold everything she owned – including her red motorbike — and moved onto a sailboat.  A decade later she landed in Northland and stayed (although her latitude and longitude still change regularly). Co-ordinator of New Zealand’s National Flash Fiction Day and the international FLASH MOB 2013, Michelle is also the founding editor of Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and fiction editor at Blue Five Notebook. In recent years, Michelle has judged a number of competitions for Auckland’s International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangarei Writers’ Workshop, the Northland/Whangarei Libraries, the South Island Writers’ Association, Flash Fiction World and the upcoming 2013 NorthWrite Collaboration Competition.

A Pushcart nominee, a Watson Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist in numerous international writing competitions, Michelle is currently finishing a book-length collection of short stories based in NZ history, thanks to a 2012 NZSA/ Auckland Museum Library grant.  Her other fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and travel articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals in NZ and internationally. You can also find her at the Tuesday Poem group and at Glow Worm.


Margaret is a freelance editor. Her expertise includes assessing and editing books for children and young adults. She worked for many years as an editor at Learning Media Limited, where she had responsibility for editing a range of children’s series from the My Feelings series for Early Childhood Education to the Connected series on science, mathematics, and technology. She also edited a broad range of materials for teachers. She edited A Nest of Singing Birds, a history of the New Zealand School Journal which won the reference and anthology section of the 2008 Montana Book Awards.

2 thoughts on “Meet the NZ Society of Authors, Northland Branch Committee

  1. Sorry that I didn’t get to the last meeting. I intended to make it but visitors arrived on the day. Cheers Anne

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