South Island Writers' Association

A friendly group of writers based in Christchurch, New Zealand

Helen Hogan Featured in Spinoff

SIWA member Helen Hogan had an essay published in the Spinoff today.

The essay explores her experiences publishing young New Zealander’s poetry from 1971 – 1980:

In 1971, I edited an anthology of New Zealand poetry for secondary school students. I was an English teacher and included a poem by a student of mine, Kama Eng. It had impressed me so much that I popped it into the mix of established poets. That made me wonder if there might be many other similarly gifted high school students.

Read the full essay here

Sponge: Issue 2!

The second issue of Sponge is out, edited by one of our talented members, Lucy-Jane Walsh.  Check out the details below!

Sponge: Issue 2 has landed, carrying poems and
stories from New Zealand’s best emerging science fiction writers

In this issue (click to read)…

  • geology &

    dark transmission

    Chris Stewart

    “after decades of dead feed the mission stretches ahead of us…”

    New Light

    Andy Southall

    “Bodie stared at the display, the ascent rate zero…”

  • Infinite

    Penelope Hart

    “The hull of the ship spread out like a firework…”

  • Many Hands

    Xander Stronach

    “Ten seconds before it had been a sausage, now it was a single human hand…”

  • Bugchaser

    Michael Botur

    She writes her number down at the bar after you serve her a perfect martini…


Poverty and the Muse, new play by Karen Zelas showing at the Art Gallery

Check out Karen’s new play, Poverty and the Muse, showing at the Art Gallery 13 and 14 May. It’s about the life and art of Frances Hodgkins, one of New Zealand’s best known artists, and you can be sure it will be beautifully written. 

Rach Smith’s flash story nominated for Best Small Fictions 2017

Congratulations to Rach Smith. Her story “How to make a necklace from a dead bird” has been nominated by Flash Frontier for the BEST SMALL FICTIONS 2017. Well done, Rach! You can read her story here at Flash Frontier the journal where you’ll find all the best short, short stories, and a great supporter of New Zealand flash.

2016 South Island Writers year of success

Congratulations to all our writers, those who entered our competitions and sent stories to journals and anthologies. Some of us collected many rejections and we will continue to do so because ALL WE WANT TO DO IS WRITE!

Here’s also a big congratulations to these following SIWA writers, who had books published this year. What wonderful creations they are. I personally recommend all of them — I’ve read most and have the rest on my bedside cabinet. They are terrific writers and I hope their books find their way into many stockings:

The Insides of Banana Skins by Jane Seaford (novel)

Dead is Dead by Jane Seaford (short stories)

I am Minerva by Karen Zelas (poetry)

Murder on the Maungatapu by Wayne Martin (narrative history)

The Boneman’s Wife by Celine Gibson (novel)

There’s something there for everyone so READ ON!

Here’s to 2017 and ANOTHER wonderful year of writing at South Island Writers’ Association. Come along and learn from the very best. We’d love to see you. You’re welcome.

Poetry in Performance

Canterbury Poets Collective have a great lineup of local and national poets for the spring season of readings at Ara Polytech, Wed nights 6.30pm. Come along and enjoy!


SIWA members invited to read at “Into the Light”

Welcome in the spring with an evening of poetry, story and song. Many of our SIWA members will be reading 🙂

7pm Fri 9 Sept at the Hohepa Hall, Somerfield, Christchurch.


Welcome to “Poetic Licence” Open Mic

South Island Writers in conjunction with Airing Cupboard Woman Poets are holding “Poetic Licence” Open Mic once again in 2016 to celebrate National Poetry Day. Bring your poems to South Library August 19 6pm for a great evening of poetry.


NPD poster 2016

New poetry collection from our patron, Karen Zelas!

We’re pleased to announce our patron, Karen Zelas, has a new collection of poetry being launched next month! Congratulations, Karen!

Please see the details below.

KZ book launch

Congratulations SIWA!

Congratulations to our SIWA stars reading at Flash in the Pan National Flash Fiction Day event. Sam Averis had two of his stories highly commended! Rachel Smith had two stories commended and Gail Ingram had one. Sue Kingham was longlisted. Lucy-Jane Walsh, Rata Ingram and Celine Gibson were the winners in the SIWA flash fiction competition with their fantastic stories. It was a terrific night out in Christchurch! Congrats to all the fabulous readers, and judges, especially Brindi Joy, who judged the SIWA comp and organised the event. And thanks to our SIWA supporters and friends for coming to listen!

You can see the results here.


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