PenNorth April 2019

Autumn has definitely arrived, so we can look forward to those rainy days that are ideal for hiding away with a cuppa and keyboard. Maybe you want to write a poem for the next Fast Fibres anthology? Perhaps beavering away at Camp NaNoWriMo is more your style?  Whatever your writing aspirations, there are some great events coming up to keep you motivated and inspired, including the Auckland Writers Festival and our own NorthWrite event. So batten down the hatches, put on your writing socks and let’s get writing…

autumn-book-cup-210470Next Meeting

The next meeting is on the 27th of April, due to our normal meeting date falling on Easter Saturday – location to be announced.

The May meeting will be on the 18th in Whangarei, with guest speaker Paula Browning from Copyright Licensing Ltd.

Latest News

NorthWrite Update: The Future is Now.

Our much awaited NorthWrite event is to be held at Barge Park in Whangarei on August 30 – September 1. While it’s still in the planning stage, confirmed speakers are Catherine Chidgey, Kate De Goldi and Simon Minto. There will be four streams running in parallel:

  • Self-publishing
  • General writing techniques
  • Master classes
  • General facilitated conversations on a variety of topics.

Costs and further details to come. Watch this space!!

Fast Fibres Poetry Six – Call for Submissions

Creative NZFast Fibres Poetry Collective is producing a sixth collection to display the talents of Northland poets.
It will be launched in print and online on National Poetry Day, 23 August, 2019.
Poets with a strong connection to Northland are invited to submit 3 poems, each preferably no longer than 20 lines. Please also include a two-line biographical statement.
Deadline: June 14

Email: fastfibres[at]

Northland Noteworthies:

  • Justine attended the San Francisco Writers Conference where she obtained two agents she can submit to and won a picture book critique with Nikki Garcia, a New York editor for Little Brown.
  • Jac Jenkins has had poems accepted by Geometry (“One Red Shoe Fallen”) and Room Magazine (“Emilie du Chatelet”), while “Hauraki” will be included in Nga Kupu Waikato
  • Lesley Marshall’s PEN article in NZ Author tells the story of journalist Nedim Turfent imprisoned in Turkey on trumped up charges. It has resulted in several New Zealand writers sending him postcards and letters to support him in prison.
  • Karen Phillips’ short story The Price has been accepted for an anthology with Cloud Ink Press.
  • Peter Pedrotti had a successful launch of Black Sands and Toitoi at Mangawhai. 

What’s On?

Poetry Events

  • Poets at ONEONESIX at 116 Bank Street, Whangarei: Thurs 18 April at 5pm (gold coin entry).

Whangarei Writers’ Workshop

A friendly group of writers who meet every second Friday at the Kamo Club 10.00am-12.30pm to critique work and support other writers.
March meetings are on the 15th and 29th.
Check out their Facebook page or contact Heather Whelan.

Auckland Writers Festival

Akld writers festThe 19th Auckland Writers Festival programme has been launched, revealing a line-up of more than 200 events featuring over 230 globally acclaimed public intellectuals and much-loved literary stars offering conversation, laughter, ideas and inspiration for audiences of all ages. It will be held from 13 to 19 May. Find out more here.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Join the online writers’ retreat this April at Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s specifically designed to help you set and reach your own writing targets, so you get to choose the goal you want to aim for (words, hours, pages, whatever) for the month and join a “cabin” full of other supportive writers (or even start your own).
With plenty of inspiration and tips from experienced writers as well as fun goal-tracking tools, this free event from the creators of National Novel Writing Month is the place to be.

Camp Nano

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

Competitions and Opportunities

New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day – 22 June 2019

Competition runs February 15 April 15. Send your best 300 words for cash prizes! Adult and youth categories.
For more information, see National Flash Fiction Day 2019 Competition page.
Northland’s annual Flash Fiction Day celebrations will be held at Kings Theatre Creative on Sunday 23 June from 1-4pm. The NZSA Northland branch sponsors an award for the top Northland entry, so be sure to enter to be in with a chance.

NFFD logo 1

Sargeson Prize Short Story Competition

WaikatoThe University of Waikato is proud to sponsor this country’s richest short story prize, named for celebrated New Zealand writer Frank Sargeson.
Two divisions: Open and Secondary Schools.
Judge for 2019: Catherine Chidgey
Entries will be open from 1 April – 30 June 2019, with the winners announced at the Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture in October. All New Zealand writers, published and unpublished, are eligible to enter.
Visit website or Facebook page for more information.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

AestheticaCelebrating excellence in Poetry & Short Fiction, the Award is hosted by the international art and culture publication Aesthetica Magazine. Supporting new writing talent, it presents a fantastic chance for writers to further their involvement in the literary world.
There are two entry categories: Poetry and Short Fiction. Works previously published are accepted and there are no limitations on themes. Submissions close 31 August.
Prizes include:

  • £1,000 for each winner (Poetry and Short Fiction)
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology
  • Consultation with Redhammer (Short Fiction Winner)
  • Full Membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
  • Granta subscription and books courtesy of Vintage and Bloodaxe

StartWrite Writing Appraisal Service – subsidised for NZSA members

typewriter mentorshipAppraisals are available on a first come, first served basis. 
The NZSA Writing Sample and Synopsis Assessment Service is an excellent opportunity for writers to get an appraisal of up to 6000 words. This is a fast and efficient way to get you on track with your work – be it poetry, short stories or an early draft of a longer manuscript.
Find out more.

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


Proof-editing Services – Barbara Unkovic

In today’s publishing world proof-editing is increasingly superseding copy-editing and proofreading. Have you finished writing your novel or collection of short fiction? Does it need proofreading and polishing before you submit it for publication?
The author of seven published books and the recipient of more than thirty writing awards, Barbara holds a Master of Creative Writing (Honours) from Auckland University, certification from the NZ Writer’s College in copy-editing and proofreading, and a certification in fiction editing from the Society of Editors and Publishers in the UK.
Barbara uses UK English, the New Oxford Style Manual, the Concise Oxford Dictionary and she prefers to work in Microsoft Word.
She offers discounts to NZ Society of Authors members and to clients referred by contacts in the writing world.
Contact: barbaraunkovic[at] Website:

‘I employed the services of Barbara Unkovic to edit my book series titled SHARPNESS. I found Barbara to be very approachable and open to discussion about matters relating to my story. She is very thorough in her work and takes the time to point out the reasons for her comments and alterations. Barbara applies herself to her work in a businesslike manner, while at the same time keeping an aura of friendliness. I look forward to working with Barbara on my future manuscripts.’

Wanted to buy: The Apple by Benjamin Brown illustrated by Tracy Duncan.

theappleThis is now out of print. I had a copy, and I own the original artwork of one of the illustrations, but my book copy disappeared and I really want to own one to go with my picture. Lesley Marshall editline[at]

book-bingo-jpeg-trimmedPlease 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 contributors’ guidelines for requirements.


Please email Wendy at 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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This is to avoid spamming issues that have occurred in the past.
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