Creative Writing

Mary-Jane Duffy

Creative Writing programme leader and tutor

Mary-Jane is a writer and art curator. Her recent freelance writing and editing work includes poetry, essays on artists for the Real Art Road Show Trust, and work for Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand on Screen, and an exhibition on the history of Surf Lifesaving in New Zealand.  She has a wide background in art exhibition and gallery management, as well as art historical research.  Millionaires’ Shortbread, poems by Mary-Jane Duffy, Mary Cresswell, Mary Macpherson and Kerry Hines, was published by University of Otago Press. Mary-Jane has a BA and an MA in Art History (Canterbury). She is currently working on her own collection of poems.

"I enjoy the challenge of converting students to poetry. Many arrive in the classroom with the idea that poetry won’t be for them but once they understand that contemporary poetry is wide open, and what that means for their own work, they're hooked. And I’m hooked all over again too."


Adrienne Jansen

Tutor - editing, non-fiction and introduction to publishing

Adrienne has published three novels, Spirit Writing and Floating the Fish on Bamboo, both of which have been broadcast by Radio New Zealand, and The Score. She is the author of several works of non-fiction, including Borany's Story and I have in my arms both ways, two widely-read books which document the experiences of migrants to New Zealand. She wrote the text for The Crescent Moon: the Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand, with photographs by Ans Westra, which is both a book, and an exhibition currently travelling through South-East Asia. She has published a collection of poetry, A Stone Seat and A Shadow Tree, and has written fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. She teaches fiction and editing at Whitireia, and until 2014 worked as a writer at Te Papa. She also does some freelance work. 

Adrienne has a BEd and an MA in English Literature. "What I love about the Writing Programme at Whitireia is its freshness and its diverse make-up of staff, students and writing styles. I'm constantly surprised by what people write, and to be constantly surprised is to be very lucky!"


Anna Taylor

Tutor - short fiction I and short fiction II (online) and combined genres

Anna’s first book, Relief, a collection of short stories, won Best First Book of Fiction at the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards. The first draft of Relief, which was awarded the Adam Prize in Creative Writing in 2006, was written during her MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University's IIML. Anna was the recipient of the 2009 Todd Writer’s Bursary, and in 2012 she took up residence as one of two Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellows to work on her second book. Her work has been published in Hue and Cry, Sport, Turbine, The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories, and the German language edition of Some Other Country .

"I love the process of working with students to refine their writing. The experience of watching work develop and grow feels incredibly rich. I like the feeling of everyone being in it together - fellow students and tutors - supporting and encouraging each other to make writing the best it can be."


Donna Banicevich Gera

Tutor - non fiction and scriptwriting (classroom and online)

Donna’s work has been produced for radio, page, stage, and screen, with her stage plays being presented in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Austria, the USA, and Alaska. Her play titles include Anton's Women, Land Without Sundays, Hunterville, My Name is Ruhi, Come unto Me, The Captain's Curse and Baby Face. Her short films include Longing and Rip, and she wrote the script for a dance theatre production called Ella and Will. In 2009 her play Tarara Child won first place for best unproduced play in the PANZ playwriting competition.

Her main area of interests are in telling migrant stories, exploring themes of lost identity, and developing work with a strong multi-cultural feel. She has had several overseas artists’ residencies, and attended many offshore workshops, seminars and conferences, enabling her to acquire knowledge and write outside her New Zealand framework.

Donna has a BA (Hons) in English, Theatre, Film & Media Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, Certificates in Writing for Documentary and International Theatre Directing, and an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from Victoria University, Wellington. She is currently Vice-President of PANZ - Playwrights Association of New Zealand Inc.

She enjoys motivating others to achieve their goals - creative, academic, and professional - and is inspired by her students exploring the creative power of the imagination. "One never goes as far when one knows where one is going" - Christopher Columbus.


Johanna Knox

Tutor - writing for children (online) and guest editor 4th Floor Literary Journal

Johanna’s books include A Forager’s Treasury (Allen and Unwin, 2013) and The Fly Papers, a mystery-adventure series for 7–12 year olds. Book one in the Fly Papers series, The Flytrap Snaps, was a Storylines Notable Book and was shortlisted for the 2012 NZ Post Children's Book Awards, as well as the LIANZA Esther Glen Award. Book two, The Sundew Stalks, came out in 2013 and was on Booknotes' list of Top 5 Fantasy Reads for Determined Girls. Book three is on the way.

Johanna is the editor of Forest & Bird’s magazine for children, Wild Things, for which she also writes articles about science and nature, and a popular ongoing fiction serial, The Owl Kids.

Working in a wide range of styles across fiction and non-fiction, Johanna has earned a living as a writer and editor for 20 years. Past projects have included school resources, museum exhibitions around the country, and youth websites for the Health Promotion Agency's Smokefree and SunSmart campaigns. She has been a children's book editor for Huia Publishers, and a children's book reviewer for Your Weekend and Booknotes.

In 2014 she took a temporary position teaching the Writing For Children paper at the IIML.

She says, "The creative writing courses I’ve taken over the years as a student have been exciting and inspiring, and I've come away from many of them with wonderful friends and useful contacts that have endured to this day. It's great to be a part of this process as a tutor now."


Lynn Davidson

Tutor - poetry II (online)

​Lynn writes poetry, essays and fiction and has published a novel, Ghost Net, a novella, The Desert Road, and four collections of poetry – the latest of which is Common Land, a collection that combines short essays and poems. Lynn has taught creative writing for many years both in New Zealand and Australia. She has a particular interest in poetry and recently completed a PhD that explores the effects of repetition in her own work and in the poems of Jackie Kay and Kathleen Jamie. In 2013 Lynn was one of six writing fellows at Hawthornden Castle just outside of Edinburgh. Read some of Lynn’s work and find out more about her writing background on her website.

"I’m very pleased to be tutoring poetry at Whitireia again. It’s always exciting to help students find their particular doorways into the house of poetry and to be reminded of how exciting it is to wander around in that house."


Mandy Hager

Tutor - the novel

Mandy Hager ​is a multi-award winning writer of fiction for young adults. She has won the LIANZA Book Award for Young Adult fiction three times (Smashed 2008, The Nature of Ash 2013, Dear Vincent 2014), the New Zealand Post Book Award for Young Adult fiction (The Crossing 2010), an honour award in the 1996 Aim Children's Book Awards (Tom's Story), Word Weavers Excellence Award (2002), Golden Wings Award (2003) and five Notable Book awards. Her Blood of the Lamb trilogy has been published in the United States by Pyr Books. She has also been awarded the Beatson Fellowship (2012), the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship (2014) and Writer In Residence at Waikato University (2015). Her latest book is the historical adult novel, Heloise (2017).

Mandy has a Teaching Diploma (Wellington College of Education), an Advanced Diploma in Applied Arts (Whitireia) and an MA in Creative Writing (Victoria University.) She also writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles. She has a passion for writing ‘stories that matter’, and sees her role as novel writing tutor as alternating between coach, mother, provocateur and cheerleader.​


Samiha Radcliffe

Tutor - poetry I (online)

Samiha Radcliffe is a poet and creative writing tutor. She was born in Canada and raised in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Samiha’s ancestors originated in India/Persia/Russia and England/France/The Isle of Man. "Sometimes when I look at all those threads I’m astonished I landed here in this unique Kiwi culture. It reminds me that we all bring so much with us when we sit down at the page."

Samiha has studied English Literature and completed a Diploma in Creative Writing through Whitireia. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University and her poetry has been published in the literary journals 4th Floor and Turbine.

"I’m continually inspired by the courage of the students I work with. Making time to follow the call of our writing voice can be an incredibly vulnerable process, and a masterful juggling act! I love that I get to be part of that journey. When a writer steps outside their comfort zone the rewards are always huge – for them and for me."


Tim Jones

Tutor - short fiction I and short fiction II

Tim Jones​​ is a poet and author who was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors' Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. He has a BSc from Otago University and a BA from Victoria University. He has published one novel, two short story collections, and three poetry collections, plus two co-edited anthologies. His recent books include short story collection Transported (Vintage, 2008), poetry anthology Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (Interactive Press, 2009), co-edited with Mark Pirie, and poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained (Interactive Press, 2011).

His short fiction has appeared in Best New Zealand Fiction 4 (2007), The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009), and The Apex Book of World SF 2 (2012). His poem Kraken was placed second in the Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry (2015).

Tim’s latest book, a companion anthology to Voyagers, is The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, co-edited with P. S. Cottier and published by Interactive Press (IP) in 2014.

"Preparing to teach these two courses has led me back to many of the short stories that have influenced me as a writer, and it's been a joy to rediscover the range and scope of the form. I hope I can communicate that same sense of excitement and discovery to this year's Short Fiction students."


Publishing

Odessa Owens

Publishing programme leader

Odessa Owens has worked in publishing for over a decade, making award-winning books for Te Papa Press. She has been on the Whitireia publishing programme’s industry advisory committee since 2013 and began to run the programme in 2015. She has a BA in English Language and Linguistics, and completed the Diploma in Publishing in 2004.


Helen Heath

Publishing tutor

Helen Heath has worked in many areas of the book trade over the last twenty-five years including bookselling, editing, events management, project management and publicity. She graduated from the Diploma in Publishing (Applied) in 1996 and is completing a PhD in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Helen is also an award-winning poet published by Victoria University Press.


Paula Wagemaker

Co-tutor for Editing Masterclass and publishing tutor in editing

Paula Wagemaker has been involved with the publishing programme since 1994. She has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years. Her particular expertise is editing, but she also writes, teaches and has been engaged in most aspects of publishing, from commissioning new publications through editing, design, production, marketing, publicity and sales, as well as management. She has worked for small independent firms in New Zealand, in educational publishing in the United States and in government publishing. Today she is a freelance editor living in Christchurch, specialising in academic editing, working with clients around the world. 


Mitch Marks

Online publishing tutor

Mitch Marks is a 2001 graduate of the Diploma in Publishing (Applied). She has worked in corporate, not-for-profit and government publishing positions in New Zealand and Australia and has freelanced as an editor, proofreader, copywriter and designer in both countries, as well as managing her own small press publishing projects.

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