PenNorth November 2018

This month you could be learning Indonesian Pantun Poetry, writing a 50,000 word novel with NaNoWriMo, or seriously considering doing a NorthTec course to develop your writing skills. The choice is up to you!

Next Meeting

The next meeting is on Saturday 17 November in Maunu or Maungatapere (to be confirmed).

Latest News

Book Week Event a Success!

2018’s NZ Book Week was celebrated in Kawakawa on 28th October. The Northland Branch of NZSA and Kings Theatre Creative hosted a well-attended live interview with poet Briar Wood (Rāwāhi, 2017) and author Annaleese Jochems (Baby, 2017). Rāwāhi and Baby were both finalists in the Ockham NZ Book Awards this year, with Baby winning the Hubert Church prize for best first book.
Annaleese Vivian and BriarVivian Thonger as interviewer was vibrant and energetic, drawing forth frank (at times deeply personal) and fascinating answers from Briar and Annaleese. Briar provided insight into her inclusion of multiple languages in her poetry, demonstrating a commitment to word precision and placement. She also described writing with an expectation that the reader will read the way she does – with a willingness to research unfamiliar material.
Annaleese enthralled us with the story of her writing journey so far, and the inspiration behind the characters and setting of Baby. She was funny and honest; in particular when Vivienne asked Annaleese whether her character Cynthia (often considered unlikeable) was based on herself, she replied with a confident yes – Cynthia is a distorted Annaleese.
Many thanks to Foundation North for their support and to Kings Theatre Creative for providing a venue that buzzed with artistic energy.

Northland Noteworthies:

  • Jac Jenkins took part in a 24-hour poetry event, using words posted by Johanna Preston. She won the organiser’s husband’s choice award and was also shortlisted for the Joanna Preston award. She also has a poem called “In Flame” in the NZ Poetry Society annual anthology The Unnecessary Invention of Punctuation.

What’s On?

Learn Indonesian Pantun Poetry

The pantun is an Indonesian form of literature. Pantun poetry’s main objective is to convey a message and can be traditional, political, humorous, or about love. Pantun serves as the basis for pantoum poetry.
In this workshop you will learn the cultural, historical and modern impact of pantun and how to write your own. All participants will receive further reading and suggestions of ‘where to next’ after pantun – eg. pantun in Te Reo Maori, publishing pantun, from pantun to pantoum.
Email theliterarygangster[at] to RSVP and reserve your place now.
Tutor: Tracie Lark
When: Saturday 24th November
Where: Whangarei Library – May Bain Room.
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm
Payment: $20 on the day

Poetry EventsFFP5 cover

  • Saturday November 3: Poets and writers dinner at SHIRAZ RESTAURANT, Walton Street, 6.30 to 8.30pm
  • Wednesday November 14: Dirty Word, Old Stone Butter Factory, 7pm
  • Thursday November 15: Poets at ONEONESIX, 116 Bank Street, 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: Do you want to take your writing to the next level? NorthTec offers courses in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and script-writing. It also offers perspectives on writing for different markets and the business end of being a writer. You can gain a qualification or just do individual papers if you prefer. If you have a partially completed manuscript, you might be interested in our Level 7 course which offers a mentorship with a New Zealand author as part of the course. If you would like more information then please contact Kathy Derrick at kderrick[at]

Unclie glennWanted 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.

Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest

The Aeon Award is a prestigious fiction writing competition for short stories in any speculative fiction genre, i.e. fantasy, science fiction, horror or anything in-between or unclassifiable. The contest has been running since 2004 and has a Grand Prize of €1000 and publication in Albedo One, the leading Irish magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Second and third place contest prizes are €200 and €100 as well as guaranteed publication in Albedo One. Each year the contest opens on January 1st and closes on November 30th.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo is underway! If you have already signed up then head to your regional forum to chat (and get a cool badge for doing so) with the rest of the crazy Northlanders to see whether they are busy  writing, or have given up and gone fishing.
Just think, at the end of the month you will have a 50,000 word novel sitting in front of you! Turn off that editor in your head and write like you’ve never made a spelling mistake.
But, if you still haven’t committed to writing your next bestselling book this month, it’s not too late to
sign up for inspiration, pep talks, badges and heaps of fun.

For information on other competitions and awards check out the Calendar of Opportunities on your NZSA website’s 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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