Workshop: Writing the ‘Unreal’ with Pip Adam

@ The Writers Block, Hagley College, Saturday 6th March 2021, 9:30am to 12:30 pm, includes morning tea.

***SOLD OUT***

In this workshop we’ll explore the political, emotional and documentary possibilities of writing the ‘unreal’.

Pip says: ‘‘I started my writing career believing that realism was the only way to engage with the things that confused me. However, I’ve found myself moving more and more toward speculative and science fiction to make sense of the world and my experience in it.

Kim Stanely Robertson said, ‘I don’t think science fiction is about prediction, although it has done that fairly successfully through its history. What it does, I think, is capture the feeling of the present that we’re in, the sense of possibility and rapid change. It’s a kind of poetry where the science fiction scenarios are metaphors for how things feel right now.’

Taking this quote as our starting point we’ll discuss work by Andrea Lawlor, Jordy Rosenberg and Samuel R. Delany,  and share our experiences writing the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’.’’

Pip Adam is the author of three novels: Nothing to See (2020), The New Animals (2017), which won the Acorn Foundation Prize for Fiction, and I’m Working on a Building (2013); and the short story collection Everything We Hoped For (2010), which won the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction in 2011. 

Pip’s work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in New Zealand and overseas. In 2012 she received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award.

Pip facilitates writing workshops in universities and other settings, including with people affected by crime in prisons and communities. She makes the Better off Read podcast where she talks with authors about writing and reading.

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Resignation and successor

Kia ora,

Many of you will know that I have been muttering about resigning for quite some time. What has caused this procrastination has largely been wanting to make sure that the Institute will continue to thrive and that whoever replaced me would bring fresh ideas and energy into the role. I believe that person has been found so I am really pleased to announce that I will be retiring from the beginning of this term and that Zoë Meager will be the new Director.

Zoë will provide this zest and a new vision to the Institute and she is eminently well qualified for the task. She brings broad experience to the role of Director, having worked as a policy analyst, researcher, teacher, technical communicator, artists’ residency manager, as well as in marketing and libraries. She has Master’s degrees in Sociology and Creative Writing, and writes short fiction and prose poems, with work published and commended widely.

There will be changes as well to our teaching staff. Frankie has requested that she take a year’s leave in order to work on a new book coming out later this year from CUP and with Zoë fully engaged as Director, we will have two new tutors.

Faith Oxenbridge has tutored and mentored for us in the past and we are really delighted that she has agreed to work for us again. Faith has been teaching creative writing on and off for a very long time. She has a Master of Creative Writing from Canterbury University, and her short fiction has been published in Best NZ Fiction, The NZ Listener, The Six Pack 2, the Christchurch Press and the Australian Book Review. She was runner-up in the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Competition in 2012, a finalist in the Victoria University Overland Competition in 2013 and won the (NZ) Sunday Star Times Competition in 2013.  Her novel was long listed for the Michael Gifkins’ prize in 2019. Faith was also a theatre critic for the NZ Listener for twelve years.

Our second tutor will be Chloe Lane. We are very fortunate that Chloe has agreed to tutor for us as she comes with excellent credentials not just as a tutor but as a writer as well. She is a 2021 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow and earned her MFA in Fiction from the University of Florida in 2017. She also has a MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University Wellington, and a BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Her debut novel The Swimmers was published by Victoria University Press in 2020 and has just been longlisted in this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.  She has recently published essays in The Spinoff, Pantograph Punch, Newsroom, Subtropics (USA), and Contemporary HUM. She currently lives in Ōtautahi Christchurch with her husband and young son.

I was surprised and honoured to be asked in 2007 by Bernadette Hall, then Writer in Residence at Hagley and Mike Fowler, then Head of English, to help set up and run the Hagley Writers’ Institute. I have been aided over the years by the extraordinary work of the tutors who have given students the gift of their wisdom and experience – Bernadette Hall, Fiona Farrell, Frankie McMillan, Christina Stachurski, Kerrin P Sharpe and Faith Oxenbridge. They have been very easy to work with and I am so grateful for the friendship and loyalty I have enjoyed over the years. I also want to acknowledge the great work of the many mentors who have supported and encouraged the students over the years. I have also been encouraged and well supported by the Hagley staff, especially Mike Fowler and Marie Stribling, who have allowed me a great deal of freedom in running the Institute, have had faith in me and have quietly and expertly guided me when I have needed their help. Thank you to all the other staff who I have come to know over the years and who have always been happy to assist. I have felt very much part of the Hagley family and will continue to be hugely invested in the continued success and ongoing expansion of the College.

And lastly, what can I say about all the students who have passed through the Institute over the last 13 years? I have benefitted so much from knowing you and been enriched and enlightened by your writing. I have rejoiced in your successes but, just as important to me, has been the camaraderie that you have developed in the classes and, in many cases, continued on outside of the Institute. I enjoy meeting up with you at festival and literary events, hearing from you and about you and I hope that the spark that brought you to the Institute has been fostered and sustained by your time with us.

However before this valedictory message gets too intense, I need to let you know that I am staying on this year as a mentor and taking over from Bernadette Hall who has been, like me, suggesting she should retire, as Patron. Bernadette has been an integral part of the Institute as a founder, tutor, and mentor and I want to thank her for her enthusiastic support and unstinting involvement which I am sure will continue. As I am easing out gradually, I look forward to getting to know our 2021 students before I finally leave.

It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure to be the Director over all these years and I know with Zoë in control, the Writers’ Institute will continue to flourish.

My best wishes and thanks to all of you.

Ngā mihi,


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New Māori journal: Te Whē

New bilingual Māori journal, Te Whē, is now online and in gorgeous limited-edition print form.

Edited by Anahera Gildea and Nadine Anne Hura, it features work by Anne-Marie Te Whiu, Becky Manawatu, Kirsty Dunn, Renée, Sinead Overbye, and many others.

Filled with poetry and prose, beautiful artwork, and an insightful discussion of tikanga, there’s heaps to explore in the first issue.

Checkout the Te Whē homepage.

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Last Muster finds a home

Huge congratulations to current student, Karen Clarke, whose short story, Last Muster, has just been published in The Commuting Book.

Karen often explores the contrast between the rural and urban environments in her writing, and Last Muster is no exception:

“Now he walks out with a group of misfit men who are battle scarred by life. Men who
reminded him of the young horses he used to ride. Horses that would rear up and shy at
ghosts in the bushes on the hillsides. Always on the lookout for trouble, the thing that would catch you by surprise.”

Karen’s story is included as part of Stories on the Go, which allows readers access to stories via QR codes found in buses and cafes around Christchurch.

Find out more about The Commuting Book, and read other Stories on the Go by Hagley students and graduates, including Marie Muhl, Melanie Dixon, Nod Ghosh, and Gail Ingram.

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Overgr_wn seeks new writers’ work

Overgr_wn, a new literary journal based in the UK, is looking for work from “new, nervous writers”. As well as short fiction, poetry, and essays, they’re also seeking art and photography.

Submissions are free and open to writers from anywhere in the world. Amazingly, they also offer feedback on all submitted work and aim to give responses within a week!

Overgr_wn runs two submission windows annually and publishes digital issues in October and April. There’s still time to submit for the first issue, so find out more at Overgr_wn.

Deadline: 17th September 2020

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The Quick Brown Funded Dog

We’re thrilled to announce that The Quick Brown Dog has received funding. This means we’ll be paying writers published in the journal at the following rates:

  • $30 poem
  • $40 flash fiction
  • $50 longer fiction/creative nonfiction/novel extract.

The editors are now reading submissions that touch on the idea of home: tūrangawaewae, the lockdown, running away or settling down, renovations, dirty dishes, bedrooms, pets, things you find in the attic, empty cupboards, holes you dig in your backyard, migration, lawn mowing, sibling rivalry, lazy Sundays, trampolines, annoying flatmates, landscaping etc…

Current students of the Hagley Writers’ Institute, graduates, and past and present mentors are all encouraged to submit.

The journal will be launched at the Christchurch WORD Festival in October, with readings from Quick Brown Dog contributors in a special showcase of Hagley writers.

See the submissions call below.

Deadline: 2nd August 2020

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Meet the editors

The Hagley Writers’ Institute journal – The Quick Brown Dog – is next due out in October 2020, right in time to be launched at the beloved Christchurch WORD Festival.

Following in the footsteps of previous editors, including Frankie McMillan, Gail Ingram, Laura Borrowdale, and Reuben Todd, three Hagley alumni are taking up the challenge of editing the journal this year, and we think you’ll agree they make a fabulous team.

Toni Wi (Ngāti Maniapoto) is a policy analyst and speculative fiction writer. She graduated from the Hagley Writers’ Institute in 2018, winning the Margaret Mahy Award for best portfolio. She’s gone on to have short fiction published in places like Breach, Mayhem, and takahē, and anthologised in Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy (2019). Check out her website and follow her on Twitter.

Chris Stewart is a secondary school English teacher and current Hagley Writers’ Institute mentor. He graduated from Hagley in 2015, winning the Margaret Mahy Award, and since then has published poems in a variety of New Zealand literary journals. Most recently, he was selected to feature in AUP New Poets 6

Kaye Gilhooley is a writer living in Ōtautahi, near the beautiful Opāwaho River. She graduated Hagley in 2018 and quickly had her short stories and flash fiction picked up by journals including Flash Frontier, takahē, and X-R-A-Y. You can follow Kaye on Twitter.

This year, our editors have chosen the theme of home for the journal. They’re thinking tūrangawaewae, the lockdown, running away or settling down, renovations, dirty dishes, bedrooms, pets, things you find in the attic, empty cupboards, holes you dig in your backyard, migration, lawn mowing, sibling rivalry, lazy Sundays, trampolines, annoying flatmates, landscaping etc…

The editors are keen to get reading, so don’t delay. If you’re Hagley Writers’ Institute student, mentor, or tutor (past or present), you have until 2nd August 2020 to submit your work to The Quick Brown Dog.

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Quick Brown Dog call for submissions

Hagley writers Toni Wi, Kaye Gilhooley, and Chris Stewart are editing a selection of work that showcases the literary success and achievement of writers associated with The Hagley Writers’ Institute. 

We want your poems, flash fiction, or prose, that somehow touch on the idea of ‘home’. Send us your work about tūrangawaewae, the lockdown, running away or settling down, renovations, dirty dishes, bedrooms, pets, things you find in the attic, empty cupboards, holes you dig in your backyard, migration, lawn mowing, sibling rivalry, lazy Sundays, trampolines, annoying flatmates, landscaping etc…

See the attached submissions call for full details.

Deadline: 2nd August 2020

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Call for stories of depression and healing

Tautoko Publishing calls for submissions of personal stories of depression and healing.

This opportunity is open to everyone aged over 18, regardless of your previous writing experience. The publisher will offer editing services to those selected.

Find out more about the submissions call and Tautoko Publishing.

Deadline: 9th August 2020

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Page & Blackmore success

A huge congratulations to current Hagley Writers’ student, Laura Tretheway, and graduates Sue Kingham and Bruce Morrison, whose stories See Ya Sausage, The Question, and Two Words have been shortlisted for the Page & Blackmore Short Story Competition.

Judge Mandy Hager will announce the winning stories on 30 May, and we can’t wait to hear the results. Good luck, Laura, Sue, and Bruce!

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