PenNorth September 2018

It may not feel like it, but spring is coming, so hibernation is officially over. It’s time to get your writing skates on and head to Rawene for the Hokianga Book Festival, trot over to the Whangarei Butter Factory for the Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa NZ launch, and start planning your next great masterpiece for National Novel Writing Month in November (50,000 words – no pressure).Choc fish

As a post-winter warm up, check out our new caption competition below – the lucky winner gets a virtual chocolate fish.

Next Meeting

September’s meeting is to be replaced with a day at the Hokianga Book Festival in beautiful Rawene, so be sure to check out the great programme and essay competition below.

Latest News

Results of the NorthWrite Short Story Competition

Thank you to everyone who entered the NorthWrite 2018 Short Story Competition. The judges whittled down 69 entries to a final five. While they were able to give only three placings, there were two stories they wished to acknowledge as highly commended. The results are:
  1st Place: A Medical Definition by Sheila Blackburn (Northland)
  2nd Place: Danny by Greg Hall (Auckland)
  3rd Place: The Promise by Anna Granger (Whanganui)
Highly Commended: Service Station by Stuart Lee (Auckland), and Foggy by Greg Hall (Auckland).
A full judges’ report and the top three place getter will be posted on the NorthWrite site shortly.

Book Launch – Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand 

Bonsai_Publication_Cover redPlease join us for the launch of Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Michelle Elvy, Frankie McMillan and James Norcliffe, published by CUP. The launch will take place on 2 September at the Word Christchurch Festival, with readings in Wellington, Auckland and Whangarei.
The Northland Bonsai event will take place in Whangarei on Wednesday 12 September at the Butter Factory at 6:30pm. Readers include Piet Nieuwland, Michael Botur, Jac Jenkins, Martin Porter, Michelle Elvy and more.
A workshop will take place earlier that day: 15:00–17:00, Whangarei Central Library, Maori Room with Bonsai essayist and contributor Martin Porter.
The anthology will be available for purchase at the evening event.
More information here.
We look forward to seeing you — all are welcome!

Members’ Mentions:

  • Congratulations to Di Menefy who received notification of the 1500 copies reprint of 1915: Wounds of War.
  • Kathy Derrick was long-listed in the TSS Flash Fiction 400 Competition (Spring 2018) with High Tide.
  • Jac Jenkins’ poem Quarrel on a Bus took out the Organiser’s Husband’s Choice Award in Joanna Preston’s 2018 National Poetry Day 24-Hour Poem Competition.

NEW: Notices/Advertisements Section in PenNorth

We would like to add a section for Notices and Classified Ads. 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.

NEW: Caption Competition

This month’s photo requiring a fun caption is thanks to Kathy Derrick. Please limit your caption to 25 words and send it to northlandauthors[at] by the 20th of September.

Kathy Derrick 1

Please email us any funny photos or drawings (make sure you have the copyright) for future issues. Since this is a low/no budget publication, winners (and there may be more than one) will get their captions printed in the next edition and receive a virtual chocolate fish. The competition is open to anyone.

NZSA Podcast Series Being Launched at Writers Forum

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ INC) Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa is producing a compelling new podcast series that opens up our oral history archives.
Spanning thirty years, involving four interviewers and including over twenty writers, in the podcast series authors tell their story of fighting institutions, government and sometimes each other to advocate for writers’ rights.
Hosted by Karyn Hay, the series will include interviews from the late 1990s with writers such as Gordon McLauchlan, Lauris Edmond and Kevin Ireland, and more recent interviews with writers such as Tessa Duder, Witi Ihimaera and Joy Cowley.
The series will launch at the National Writers Forum and episodes will come out each fortnight from 27 September.
You can see a promo video for the series here or on Facebook.

What’s On?

Hokianga Book Festival

Rawene will be buzzing with books on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 September with the Hokianga Book Festival. Instead of our regular monthly meeting that weekend, members are encouraged to come along and get involved. Book your place by emailing hokiangabooks[at]

Timetable Hokianga Festival New

Poetry EventsFFP5 cover

  • Dirty Word at Old Stone Butter Factory Wednesday 12 September 7pm
  • Poets at ONEONESIX Thursday 20 September 5pm

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

NZSA National Writers Forum

NWF-Logo-201821-23 September 2018 – Auckland
The NZSA National Writers Forum is a conference for people who write. The 2.5-day intensive is jam-packed with masterclasses, workshops, panels and presentations on everything a writer needs to know to sustain themselves and their work in the current climate. Features John Marsden, Anita Heiss, Lani Wendt Young, Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Pip Adam, Brannavan Gnananlingam and many more leading writers from across New Zealand. Find out more or register here

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

Competitions and Opportunities

Hokianga Book Festival Essay Competition – Small is Beautiful

Entries close 3 September!book comp pic
As part of the Hokianga Book Festival, No.1 Parnell invites Far North writers to submit a work for its essay competition. The theme is Small is Beautiful and interpretation is open.
There will be one winning prize of $500 and up to 10 finalists will be selected whose work will be published in a book. The finalists and winner will be announced on September 15 at the Hokianga Book Festival.
For more information click here.

The William Taylor Memorial Heartland Short Story Competition

There will be a first prize of $300, a second prize of $75 and a third prize of $50. Entries should be fiction in any genre and be up to 1,000 words in length. Entries cost only $10 per story and close on 30 September 2018. Find out more here.

The Carter Brown Mystery Writing Award

This competition is open to all writers over the age of 18 writing novella-length adult crime/mystery fiction (around 20,000–50,000 words). Entries close 5 pm AEST 31 October 2018. The winner will be announced in February 2019 and the winning entry will be published in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in May 2019. Find out more.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 pm on 30 November. Valuing enthusiasm, determination and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
Things are already ramping up now to ensure writers will be ready to go on the day, so sign up for inspiration, pep talks, badges and heaps of fun.

Timeless Wisdom Writing Competition

This competition focuses on non-fiction short stories which share some of the wisdom that can only be acquired through age. There are four themes:

  • Fear & Courage
  • Struggle & Success
  • Love & Loss
  • Human Kindness

Entry is free and closes on 28 September 2018. For submission details and more information see the Exisle Publishing website

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

Please email Wendy or northlandauthors[at] if you have any announcements, items of interest or achievements you would like included in this monthly newsletter.
Refer to our contributor guidelines.


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