PenNorth February 2018



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Our next meeting will be held on Saturday 24 February, from 11am (refreshments available from 10.30am). The venue will be advised by email. There is no meeting in January.

Members’ News:

  • Anne McDonell has had Fire, a YA mystery novel, published by CreateBooks.
  • Piet Nieuwland continues to have success, with more poems appearing in various publications. The latest are: ‘Clotted Clouds’ in Cordite and ‘With light Pouring’ in Otoliths November 1.
  • Jodi Reynolds has published his short story, What Friends are for, on Amazon.
  • Heather Whelan has had articles published in the MCD Magazine (Motorhomes, Caravans and Destinations Magazine).
  • Suzanne Chappell has had an article published in the December copy of Avena, a professional magazine of the NZ Association of Medical Herbalists.
  • Di will be publishing her picture book, I Had a Brother, with One Tree House publishing.
  • Karen Phillips has published her short story collection, A Question of Blood, with Steele Roberts, Wellington.

21st Anniversary of Northland Branch

On Saturday 2 December 2017 branch members and ex-members attended a catered lunch at The Orchard in Whangarei to celebrate the 21 years since our first meeting on 14 December 1996 in Kaikohe. There was a wonderful turnout and everyone had a great time catching up with friends.

Our special guest was Tessa Duder, who was National President when the branch was formed and visited us for our second meeting in February 1997 at Iris Nolan’s home in Kerikeri. At our anniversary celebration there was no formal business, other than a brief welcome and a message from Siobhan Harvey, our current president, and everyone introduced themselves—saying where they were from and what writing they were working on.

We had posters on the walls covering the twenty-one years – snapshots of events, newsletters and achievements that celebrated members and remembered those who have passed on. A roll of those 56 members who joined the branch in the first year, and a list of the Northland Branch Short Story Trophy winners were also on display.

After lunch, three founding members— Daphne de Jong, Lesley Marshall and Diana Menefy—cut the birthday cake (made by Di and iced by Phyll). That the event ran so smoothly was thanks to the organising team: Piet Nieuwland, Phyll Holroyd, Justine Payen, Lesley Marshall, Jody Reynolds, Mike Botur and Di Menefy.

Writing Workshop for Beginners – fundraiser for the branch

Saturday 17 February 2018 – 9.00am to 4.30pm.
Whangarei, Sierra Motel, 26 Western Hills Dr, Whau Valley, Whangarei 0112.
Tutor: Diana Menefy – award-winning author, experienced tutor, mentor/assessor for NZSA (PEN Inc.).
Fee for the day: $50 – prepay to hold your place.

This workshop covers the basic techniques of writing fiction (short story, flash fiction and novels).  Di will teach you the skills fiction writers use and give you advice on ways to enrich your writing, whether you write short fiction, long fiction or creative non-fiction.

To book or for more information contact: Suzanne Chappell suzanne[at]

NorthWrite 2018: Moving your Writing Forward

The NorthWrite 2018 programme has been finalised. We have tried to provide something for everyone and hope all participants will leave the conference with a renewed energy and drive for their writing. Our presenters are all well-known within the New Zealand writing industry and we know you will learn much from their varied writing experience. Topics include diversifying your writing, idea generation, turning ideas into story, goal setting, dialogue, creating new stories from old, creative non-fiction, memoir, and a discussion with an agent and a publisher.

There will be a Saturday-night (10 March) panel held at the NorthTec Apprentice Restaurant on the Ruamanga campus in Whangarei.  The workshops on Sunday (11 March) will be held at the NorthTec Interactive Learning Centre, also on the Ruamanga campus.

The costs are as follows:

Saturday night panel:
All attendees $25

Sunday workshops:
NZSA members $75
Non-members $90

The full programme is on the NorthWrite website, so please follow us there to stay up to date on developments. Registration opens 1 February.


Poetry Events

  • Poets at ONEONESIX will be held at 116 Bank Street, Whangarei, on Thursday 15 February at 5pm. Gold coin door entry.
  • A free Kerikeri open-mic poetry evening runs from 7-9pm on 7 February 2018 and monthly thereafter on the first Wednesday of each month. It is run by poetry enthusiasts Ellen Rhodes and Vivian Thonger who encourage all poetic Northlanders, from teens to adults, to attend. The emphasis is on fun and sharing. The venue is Cherry Park House at 160 Landing Road, opposite Waipapa Landing in Kerikeri.
  • Northland’s peripatetic Poetry Posse is performing their original ensemble work on the Main Stage from 10.05-10.35 at Whangarei’s annual ArtBeat festival on Saturday 4 February; address: Cafler Park Rose Gardens, Water Street, Whangarei.

NorthTec Online Diploma in Applied Writing: short stories, novels, memoirs, picture books, articles, ebooks and more.

Have you always wanted to be a writer but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you are already writing but are not sure how it’s going. NorthTec has a range of online certificate and diploma writing courses that might suit you. These online courses not only allow you to study from home, they also provide flexibility so you can work around career, family and other commitments.

If you are interested, check out the website:

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


Page & Blackmore Short Story Competition

This competition is run by the Top of the South branch of New Zealand Society of Authors. It closes on 3 April, and this year the final judge is Catherine Chidgey. The first, second and third placed writers will receive book vouchers from Page & Blackmore Booksellers, and these three, plus the seven shortlisted writers, will receive certificates recognising their achievement. The results of the competition will be announced at the Top of the South branch’s AGM on 12 May in Nelson, and subsequently posted on our website.

Winning and short-listed stories are published in a biennial anthology which also includes poems that have been displayed in the windows of the Nelson Provincial Museum and Page & Blackmore Booksellers. All contributors receive a free copy of the book.

Further information and access to the Conditions of Entry and Entry Form is available on our website,

Competitions and Awards for Writers

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


Moth Short Story Prize 2018

It’s not a requirement, but the organisers strongly advise you to purchase a copy of The Moth.

The Prize is open to anyone (over 18). Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published online or broadcast. You can enter as many stories as you like. There is a word limit of 5,000. Entry fee is €12 per story. The judge is Kevin Barry and the prizes are as follows: A 1st prize of €3,000, a 2nd prize of a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France (including €250 for travel) and a 3rd prize of €1,000. Closing date for receipt of entries is 30 June 2018.

Full details can be found here.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2018

Submit your Poetry & Short Fiction and showcase your work to a new international audience and further your involvement in the literary world.

Prizes include: £1,000 for the Short Fiction and Poetry winners, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual for 60 finalists, Consultation with Redhammer Management, membership to the Poetry Society, one year’s subscription to Granta and a selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage.

Entries are open until 31 August 2018. Submit at:

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


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