PenNorth July 2017



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Our next meeting will be held on Saturday 15 July, from 11am in Kerikeri (refreshments available from 10.30am). Venue to be advised.

Members’ Announcements

  • The Tale of Prince, written by Bianca Staines, has won second prize in the Animal/Pets category of the US Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Awards.
  • Janine McVeagh launched her book, Grandad’s Guitar, on Tuesday 13 June, at Storytime, which has reopened at 10 Reyburn House Land, Town Basin, Whangarei
  • Rae Roadley is writing a regular column titled ‘What’s in a name?’ for Scene Magazine. Rae will research and write about the history and meanings associated with names within and around Whangarei city.
  • Emily Glew launched her children’s book, I Love Swimming, in Kaikohe in June.
  • Wendy Megget has had an article, ‘Pets on Weeding Detail’, published in the July edition of Kiwi Gardener.
  • Michael Botur will launch his new book, Lowlife: Short stories, on July 12 at The Old Stone Butter Factory from 7pm. All welcome. The evening will include lowlife-themed poetry. See the book launch event page for more information.
  • Vivian Thonger was awarded the NZSA Northland Branch trophy for best Northland story in the NFFD competition, for her micro entry, Sick Day.

Iris Melville Obituary 

Iris was a founder member of the Northland branch of NZSA(PEN Inc.) Over the years she organised our Dargaville meetings, always made sure there was wonderful food for us on arrival, and attended meetings that were reasonably close to her home – like the Broadwood meeting in March 1997, which is when I first met her.

Iris was a good writer. She wrote mainly poetry for pleasure, and for years she worked as a proof reader for the The Northland Times.  One of her prose pieces was published in Tandem Press’s book of 50 word stories, edited by Brian Edwards.

Iris was also involved in the Northern Wairoa Writers Group and helped with the production of their book Thoughtwaves, where her poetry was published. In 1999 she won the consolation prize in the NZ Women’s Weekly writing competition. Iris continued to be published but her main joy in life were her grandchildren.

My last memories of Iris will be sitting around the fire chatting in the Commercial Hotel at Dargaville on the weekend of our writers retreat (21 July 2012). Iris will be remembered for her warm, friendly nature, her wonderful smile and her witty repartee.

by Di Menefy

Members’ Books

This month’s featured book is Lowlife: Short stories by Michael Botur.

Michael Botur says working class experiences he has had since moving to Northland inspired his latest short story collection. Lowlife has a thoroughly Northland flavour to it, featuring a unique gang patch on the cover stitched by Whangarei’s Headrush Custom Caps and photographed at The Old Butter Factory. Lowlife is literary fiction; the style is often described as ‘dirty realism.’ “… the Lowlife stories aren’t only about Northland milieu – they’re about people stuck in conflict, trying to work their way out of it, trying to make their lives better.”
Lowlife is available from and
Read about Lowlife  on Stuff.  Book launch event page

Mike has two copies of Lowlife to give away. To be in to win, answer these two trivia questions and send your answer to Mike at mike[at] with your postal address:

  1. Head to and find the story ‘The Kurt Shirt.’ In the story, what is the valuable vinyl record the character Sage is obsessed with?
  2. In the story ‘Unfrozen,’ what is the name of the teacher who the narrator dates?


NorthWrite 2017: National Flash Fiction Day Workshop and Readings

We had a very successful NorthWrite 2017 with 23 people attending the workshop. Vivian led a fun session that encouraged people to explore creativity outside their comfort zones. This was followed by readings of Northland and National flash fiction. More photos are available on the Writers Up North website.

21st Anniversary of Northland Branch

The Northland Branch 21st Anniversary will be held on Saturday, 2 December 2017 in Whangarei. We will let you know the details closer to the time.

Poetry Events

  • Dirty Word Poetry will be held at The Old Stone Butter Factory, Whangarei, on Wednesday, 12 July from 7 –10 pm, in conjunction with Michael Botur’s book launch.
  • Poets at ONEONESIX will be held at 116 Bank Street, Whangarei, on Thursday, 20 July at 5pm. Gold coin door entry. The August event will be on Thursday 17 August.
  • National Poetry Day will be held at Kings Theatre Creative, Kawakawa, on Sunday 27 August from 1.30 – 4pm. This will include the launch of Fast Fibres Poetry Four and an open mic. Entry by koha.

Writers’ 3-day Northland Residential Workshop with author, Linda Hansen

Friday 22–Sunday 24 Sept. 2017
For new and experienced writers. Limited numbers. $220 accommodation and food plus dana/koha for the teacher. Details and bookings at


A full list of Northland writing events and opportunities (including writers’ groups and information on the Whangarei Community Publications Trust) can be found here.


2017 Romance Writers of NZ Conference

The 24th RWNZ Conference will be held in Rotorua from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August 2017. And we are delighted to be able to offer a special discounted rate for NZSA members. NZSA discount coupon codes were sent out in an email to members in June. If you did not receive them, please email northlandauthors[at]gmail[dot]com for a copy of the codes.

Takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2017

Takahē is currently accepting entries for its poetry competition to be judged by Elizabeth Smither. Unpublished poems of up to 50 lines long on any theme will be accepted. Entry Fee: $5 per poem. More details are available at

 Competitions and Awards for Writers

For information on other competitions and awards please use NZSA’s Death by Deadline on the members-only page of the NZSA website.


Birdcatcher Books Competitions

The Birdcatcher Books third annual Short Story Competition is open only to Australian and New Zealand writers. Prizes are first $AU250, second $AU100, and third $AU50. The best entries will be published in an anthology. All entrants will receive a free digital copy of the anthology, and those whose stories are included in the anthology will be able to buy print copies at a greatly reduced price. Entry fees are $AU8 for one story, $AU15 for two stories, $AU21 for three stories. For details and the entry form, go to

There is also a free-to-enter ongoing competition for stories, articles, essays or poems for the new Birdcatcher Magazine. This competition is open to writers from anywhere in the world, but they must be able to receive payment through PayPal if they are a winner. The best entry each month will win $AU50, and up to ten entries each month will be published in the magazine. For details and to enter go to

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award Call for Entries

The 11th Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is now open for entries. This presents an opportunity for emerging and established writers and poets to showcase their work to new international audiences and further their involvement in the literary world. Short fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words. Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines. Works previously published are accepted. Deadline for submissions is 31 August 2017. For full entry requirements and to submit, visit

Please contact Kathy or Di if you have any announcements, items of interest or achievements you would included in this monthly newsletter.

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