Writers on Mondays


From mid-July to October each year, the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), home of Victoria University of Wellington's renowned creative writing programme, runs a series of events highlighting writers active in and around Wellington, as well as guests from overseas.

Sessions take place on Mondays at lunchtime, with additional evening events from time to time.

Writers on Mondays is a stimulating way to start the working week – and it's free!

Read the full 2016 event details below or download the programme.

Writers on Mondays is presented with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, National Poetry Day and Circa Theatre.

Events run Monday 12.15 - 1.15pm on The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa with the exception of the Short Sharp Script sessions, which will be held at Circa Theatre.

Admission is free, all welcome.

No food may be taken onto the Te Papa Marae.

2016 programme

11 July The Time of Anne Kennedy

We are delighted to have Anne Kennedy in Pōneke as the Victoria University of Wellington Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence. Kennedy's work spans genre and time in ways that seem unique in our literature. Her first book, the experimental novel 100 Traditional Smiles,was published in 1989 and since then she has continued to deny easy categorisation, writing film, award-winning poetry, and fiction that time-travels from the 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen, to a five-week power black-out in 1990s Auckland and almost everywhere in between. Join Pip Adam in a discussion about the times Kennedy writes in and about, and how different genres require a writer to use time in different ways.

18 July Patricia Grace: A Life's Work

Patricia Grace is an Arts Foundation Icon who has won many national and international awards for her fiction, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (widely considered the most prestigious literary prize after the Nobel). Grace is of Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa and Te Ati Awa descent, and is affiliated to Ngāti Porou by marriage. Her recent novel Chappy was a finalist in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Join award-winning writer Briar Grace-Smith for a look into the career of this deeply subtle, moving and subversive writer.

25 July A Poetry Quartet: Bill Nelson, Claire Orchard, Hera Lindsay Bird, Lynley Edmeades

Poetry in Aotearoa is fighting fit and full of life. Bill Nelson's Memorandum of Understanding, Claire Orchard's Cold water cure, Lynley Edmeades' As the Verb Tensesand Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird are diverse and exciting first books of poetry. Each writer engages with language in innovative ways to explore and reimagine history, commerce, science, love and the things people do. Come and hear the latest in poetry, in a reading and discussion chaired by poet Chris Price.

1 August New Zealand Stories: Sue Orr and Tracey Slaughter

Sue Orr's vividly drawn novel of a 1970s farming community The Party Line and Tracey Slaughter's powerful stories of contemporary lives in Deleted Scenes for Lovers offer portraits from different eras in Aotearoa. Orr has a background in journalism and has previously published two award-winning short-story collections, Etiquette for a Dinner Party and From Under the Overcoat. Slaughter's short fiction has received numerous awards including the Bridport Prize 2014 and BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards in 2001 and 2004. She lives in Cambridge and teaches Creative Writing at Waikato University, where she edits the online literary journal Mayhem. Writer and IIML Director Damien Wilkins chairs this conversation about what it is to 'write New Zealand stories'.

8 August The Playmakers: Nina Nawalowalo & Victor Rodger

Two of the country's most exciting and accomplished theatre makers join Ken Duncum to discuss their careers to date and forthcoming work. Nina Nawalowalo is a Wellington theatre director with a reputation for making memorable pieces of theatre that reflect her Fijian whakapapa and European theatre training. Her work Marama premiered in the Auckland Arts Festival this year, where it was described by reviewer Raewyn Whyte as 'memorably climactic' and 'heartstopping'. Victor Rodger produces plays that explore and challenge racial and cultural stereotypes, and are grounded by vivid characterisation and complex relationships. As Metro reviewer Simon Wilson wrote, 'he knows how to write funny, and he knows how to write on the edge'. Rodger's Black Faggot has toured nationally and internationally, and won awards in both Auckland and Melbourne.

15 August Jenny Bornholdt: from Accidental Poet to Selected Poems

In an interview on Poetry Box, poet Jenny Bornholdt said, 'I didn't grow up wanting to be a writer, so I was quite surprised when I found myself writing poems'. Bornholdt began writing seriously in 1984 and has since published many books of critically-acclaimed and popular poetry, as well as being both an Arts Foundation Laureate and a New Zealand Poet Laureate.  Join us as Bornholdt and poet James Brown talk about her career from accidental poet to her new Selected Poems, published this year by Victoria University Press.

22 August Best New Zealand Poems 2015

Best New Zealand Poems is published annually by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters. Get ready for National Poetry Day (on 26 August) by coming along to hear nine of the best read work chosen by Best New Zealand Poems 2015 editor John Newton – and be sure to visit bestnzpoems to view the full selection. Poets Sarah Jane Barnett, David Beach, Hera Lindsay Bird, John Dennison, Dinah Hawken, Alexandra Hollis, Gregory O’Brien, Frances Samuel, Bryan Walpertand Ashleigh Young are introduced by John Newton.

29 August Ashleigh Young: Can You Tolerate This?

Ashleigh Young's book Can You Tolerate This? is a collection of 21 compelling personal essays whose disparate subjects illuminate the complex relationship between mind and body.Young's writing has been appearing in magazines for over ten years. While living in London she won many new readers with her blog Eyelash Roaming where she writes about memory, mental health, cycling, and 'inconsequential things that wouldn't fit anywhere else'. Ashleigh is also the author of the poetry collection Magnificent Moon and works at Victoria University Press as an editor. She is joined by writer Kirsten McDougall to discuss the craft of the personal essay and ways of writing about real events.

5 September The Next Page 1

A wonderful opportunity to hear a fresh mix of poetry and prose by the current cohort of writers in the Master of Arts in Creative Writing Programme at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters. Kirsti Whalen, William Connor, Nicole Phillipson, Lizzie Baikie, Paula Clare King, Y. Van Dongen, Kerry Sunderland, Annaleese Jochems, Evangeline Riddiford Graham, and M.T. O'Byrne are introduced by Emily Perkins.

12 September The Next Page 2

Part two of the popular Next Page sessions features readings from Eamonn Marra, Natalie Morrison, C. English, Hannah MacLeod Bulloch, Robert Taylor, Rebecca Hawkes, Chessie Henry, Vivienne Ullrich, Madeline Reid and Cherie Lacey. Introduced by Chris Price.

19 September Short Sharp Script 1: Circa Theatre

Actors perform dynamic new work by MA scriptwriting students from the IIML: William Duignan, Myfanwy Fanning-Randall, Ali Foa'i, Callum Fordyce and Roxane Gajadhar. Introduced by Ken Duncum.

26 September Short Sharp Script 2: Circa Theatre

More exciting work in progress from the second group of IIML scriptwriters, at Circa Theatre. This week: Isla Macleod, Harry Meech, Maraea Rakuraku, Anya Tate-Manning and Benjamin Wilson. Introduced by Ken Duncum.

Writers on Mondays 2016 is presented with:

Te Papa Tongarewa logoNational Poetry Day 2016 logoCirca Theatre logo

Previous writers on Mondays programmes