Born in an elephant stable in India, Jenny has been
army brat, service wife and lifelong rolling stone. Now permanently
settled in New Zealand, she wants, in her Third Age, to make it big as a
writer. She took the Whitireia course to 'learn to write Kiwi' –
learning other things, too – how to give and get feedback, and that she
has a dark side, revealed mainly in the free-writing exercises. Since
then, Jenny has been well published – sometimes commercially, sometimes
in Úlite literary magazines no one’s heard of – and writes a weekly
column for the Bay of Plenty Times.
Colleen-Dawn Basson was born in South Africa, where
she worked in the wildlife field for eleven years before moving to New
Zealand in 2001. She obtained the Diploma in Creative Writing in 2004
and completed the Advanced Diploma in Creative Writing in 2005.
Colleen-Dawn is currently working on a young adult novel and a
collection of poetry. She wrote several short stories and ‘a wad of
poetry’ whilst growing up and working in South Africa, none of which she
thought was good enough to publish. ‘I hope the two years I've spent
writing full time for the Whitireia diplomas is going to change all
that.’ She laughs.
Lyn Blakeley was born in Ashburton and spent her
formative years in the South Island but now happily resides in the
Wellington region. A former secondary teacher and avid reader, she
decided to test her creative skills through Whitireia's writing
programme. Poetry has always appealed, with its power of condensed
thought and its imagery. She hopes to pursue this writing strand.
Christine Cloughley is a journalist who has worked for too many years
as a newspaper reporter and sub-editor, and as a freelance writer for
magazines and newsletters. She is currently prose editor of the Bay of
Plenty’s new literary magazine Bravado. She has always had a passion for
fiction and, like most journalists, has hankered to try her hand at
creative writing. She decided to join Whitireia’s writing course last
year to force herself into taking that first step. In doing so, she has
rekindled her love affair with short stories and intends writing many
more in the years to come. Then, who knows, maybe she’ll have a go at
that novel …
Helen Crombet-Beolens was born in Kent, England and moved to NZ when she was 8 years old. She has had an interest in writing since she was a child, but did not actively
pursue it until her daughter was born in 2004. She then enrolled for in the Whitireia Creative Writing Course and she learnt a great deal about writing, and found the courses very encouraging. She believes that her genre falls somewhere between magical realist and inspirational fiction, though she is continuing to work on her style and voice.
Nicola Easthope teaches, writes an lives on the Kapiti Coast. Stuck in a poetic rut for 20 years, she decided to do the Whitireia course in the hope it would smash through old confidence blocks and result in a manuscript of poetry. With support from Renee, her mentor, and fabulous course-mates, Leaving my arms free to fly around you was born, without need of drugs or forceps. It is still awaiting publication. In the meantime, Nicola is working on her second collection, with guidance through the NZSA/Creative NZ mentorship programme. Since her association with Whitireia, Nicola has had poetry published in Takahe, The Great American Poetry Show, The Guardian, The Red Wheelbarrow, staples, Disarmament Issues, NZ Poetry Society's 2005 Anthology, and won 2nd prize for "Free Range Men" in the Bravado International Poetry Competition last year.
Holly Edgecombe was born in Tauranga and spent the first few years of
her life there. She was educated in Christchurch and Kaiapoi and for a
short time attended Waihi College. During most of her primary and
secondary education, she had the benefit of being dual-enrolled with the
wonderful Correspondence School. Holly enjoys writing and using the
computer – her main form of communication. In 2004 she enrolled in the
Whitireia Diploma in Creative Writing. She has had several of her poems
published, and she intends to carry on improving her writing.
Helen Heath was born in the Hutt Valley to the sound of dirt bikes on firebreaks. She now lives on the Kapiti Coast. Helen has worked in the book industry for the last fifteen years, and she is now the administrator for the New Zealand Poetry Society and founder of Juicy Press. Whitireia’s online course enabled Helen to workshop her writing while at home with her two children. In May 2005, she collaborated with Hinemoana Baker and two painters to produce an exhibition of paintings and poetry – Kissed – at Pataka. A book from the exhibition will be published by Wai-te-ata Press in 2006. View: Kissed website
residing in Hawke's Bay, Natasha had previously spent her entire
life in Porirua. She is a registered nurse and a trained primary
school teacher. Through the difficult teen years she wrote numerous
journals and poetry, but it wasn't until her thirties that she felt
a desire to 'write' - to learn about writing. She would love to
publish a book of short stories, in a voice and on topics not
commonly explored or acknowledged as talented writing.
Marion Jones lives in Brighton, Dunedin and writes poetry.
Melissa grew up in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast. She attended Victoria University where she gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Theatre before heading to England, where she worked for two years. Her experience in drama and acting led her to become interested in creative writing and to apply for the diploma program at Whitireia. Melissa currently lives on the South Coast of Wellington where she is working on some short stories for children and she hopes to write for the stage and screen in the future.
Tracie McBride was born in Tokoroa, spent her
childhood in Rotorua and moved to the Bay of Islands in her teens. Now
she lives on the Kapiti Coast with her husband
and three children (two of whom were born while completing the Diploma
in Creative Writing). When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up,
she would reply, "A writer." Then real life distracted her. She’s since
discovered that real life and writing aren’t necessarily mutually
exclusive. Her writing aims are base and simple – to get paid for what
she puts on paper.
Born in Otorohanga, Mary McGrath spent her school
years in Dannevirke. After two years of tertiary education she moved to
Sydney for six years. Her husband’s career
required a shift every few years and raising three children in small
country towns and cities in New Zealand enriched her life. Her adult
children are based overseas and she travels regularly to visit them. She
has written poetry, travel diaries and short stories, but as she wanted
to brush up her skills she attended the writing course at Whitireia. She
is working on her first novel, which she hopes, one day, to publish.
Catherine grew up in New Plymouth, but has spent most of her life in Wellington, where currently she works for Trinity Guildhall as their NZ National Consultant. She studied music at Victoria University and abroad, worked as a pianist for many years, and continues to teach the piano.
Frances Meroiti grew up in Hamilton, and was educated at Hamilton West Primary School and Hamilton Technical College. She has four adult children and seven grandchildren, and currently lives in Rotorua.
Ralph Proops is an ex-student
of Whitireia. He currently works at the National Library and writes in
his spare time. He has been published in JAAM and the New Zealand
Poetry Society anthology for 2004.
Francie Shagin was born in 1945 in
Wisconsin in the United States and again in 1982 when
she moved to New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters
degree. She has been an English teacher, an owner of retail shops, a
corporate communications officer, a cooking instructor, co-director of
An Epicurean Affair (a gourmet tourism attraction in Marlborough) and
was a regular panellist on Television New Zealand’s Beauty and the
Beast in the 1980s. She enrolled in the writing course at Whitireia
after much cajoling from her dear friend Joy Cowley. In theory, she
would love to write more.
tracy sullivan grew up in small town Canterbury, studied at Canterbury University and lives for the moment in the Netherlands. At best she is a reader, writer, teacher and mother though not necessarily in that order. The Whitireia writing programme allowed her to justify her writing for three semesters and this is the first time it has been published to the wider world.
Born in Singapore, Geneieve is the youngest in a family of ten. A
sickly childhood kept her in bed most of the time. Chinese mystery,
romantic and martial arts novels became good companions. In primary
school, she skipped snack time and play-time to gulp down Enid Blyton,
Carolyn Keene and Roald Dahl books.
In high school in Canada, she explored creative writing with an
inspiring Irish teacher. Returning home, she ventured into journalism
with the local newspaper and also learnt about writing corporate
literature as a public affairs executive. In 2000, in a chance meeting with children’s writer Joy Cowley, Geneieve
plucked up the courage to ask Joy if she would teach her how to write
for children. Four years later, under Joy’s guidance, Geneieve had eight
early reader books published by Pearson Education South Asia.
Anne Tucker works as a part-time tutor in the
Diploma in Publishing at Whitireia Community Polytechnic in Wellington.
She completed the poetry module of the Diploma in Creative
Writing in 2004, and at the beginning of 2005 she completed the poetry
stream of the Iowa Workshop at the International Institute of Modern
Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. She is currently on the
New Zealand Society of Authors 2005 mentor programme where she
is completing a sequence of poems about a little girl called Eloise. She
has previously had poems published in Poetry New Zealand, New
Zealand Listener and Spin.
Rae Vickers was born in Hamilton and was educated
in Auckland, Wellington and Britain. Rae finds word puzzles and reading
a daily necessity, always having half a dozen books on the go. Between
career and family commitments, she has
scribbled poems and short stories intermittently all her life, but she
lacked the nerve to submit anything for publishing, storing her writing
in that ‘bottom drawer’. Deciding she needed a retirement hobby, she
determined to study the craft of writing before collecting rejection
slips. She loves the freedom of studying online, at her own pace, in the
middle of the night if that’s when the muse strikes.
Pete Watkins was born in Birmingham, England, in
1955, and he came to New Zealand in 1997. A career in advertising,
although mainly in management, brought him into contact with a wide
array of creative people – from writers to film directors and from
actors to musicians. It taught him a lot of lessons about
"storytelling". Fiction writing has always been a skill he admired.
Being capable of writing well for non-fiction purposes he decided two
things: first, that he should at least experience the process of
creating a work of fiction and second, find out if he could do it well.
Rebecca Wilson has had a varied career from chalet girl in the Swiss
Alps, to chef on the Welsh border, media advisor to the New Zealand
Ministry of Health and documentary developer for Natural History New Zealand in Dunedin. But
she has always had an interest in the written word. She had a book
published in 1999 – A Passion for Life: Young New Zealanders Doing
Business – which combined her love of writing with her keen interest in
New Zealand entrepreneurs. Trained as a journalist, she found the world
of media to be a dark place. Creative writing was something she could do
with complete freedom, without the restraints of management. She now
heads the Dunedin Fashion Incubator but continues to potter away with
writing, with all the classic frustrations of trying to refine the art.