ReDraft Success and WriteOn Deadline!

Here’s a High Five to our  Saturday writers, correspondence students, and past students who were selected as winners in the ReDraft  2017 Competition. They were up against the best teenage writers in New Zealand. To have so many pieces by students from The School for Young Writers selected for publication is testament to their talent and to the great work our tutors do.


Simon Brown (also winner of the title chase!), Duncan Matchett, Adelaide Perry, Elliott Hughes, Samantha Jory-Smart, Elizabeth Steel, Liam Kelly, Charlotte Boyle, Freddie Gormack-Smith, Azriel Taylor, Aimee Norrie, Gideon Chan, Xavier Dickason, Claudia Meads, Abby Mason, Gracie McKay-Simpson, Kate Twomey, Derrin Smith , Zoe Ambrose, Ella Somers, Finlay Langelaan and Tierney Reardon.

The last publishing opportunity for 2017 is Write On. Finished work can be handed in to your tutor or to Glyn. The deadline is November 11 with a little bit of leeway if you you type it up and email it to Glyn.


Saturday morning expansion! A ‘new’ tutor and a special guest tutor!

In Term 4 we started with six Saturday classes for the first time ever.

As a result we welcome the wonderful Duncan Matchett as tutor for the newest class. Duncan is an old hand at Saturday writing, having been a young writer himself for nine years and our 2017 intern for the the first three terms of this year.  Duncan has been published in ReDraft for the past four years. This year Duncan is a university student studying Psychology, and he works as an apprentice improviser at the Court Theatre.


With Heather learning the admin ropes this term, her class welocmes a very special guest tutor. Karen Healey is currently the Ursula Bethell Resident at Canterbury University, which means she is on leave from her teaching position and has the time and energy to work with our lucky young writers. And why are they so lucky? Karen is an award-winning best-selling writer of Young Adult fantasy fiction. She writes books…” about tough girls with brains and interesting boys with secrets.”


Despite having to say goodbye to some wonderful Year 13 students at the end of 2017, we hope to maintain our Saturday class roll for 2018. Make sure your friends all know about Saturday classes and book a space early.

All queries for 2018 classes can go to Heather at



Young Writer of the Month: Samantha Jory-Smart

It is our great pleasure to feature Samantha Jory-Smart as our first young writer of the month. Samantha started with The School for Young Writers when she was in Year 9. She is now in Year 12.
Recently Samantha had the honour of writing the first rain poem ever “published” in New Zealand. This can be found on the footpath of Mollett Street, Christchurch on any rainy day, or take a water bottle with you to reveal Samantha’s words.
Her work has also been published on paper in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s anthologies, ReDraft ( 2014-2017), Write On ( 2014-2017), and in the All Right Write Now- Words of Canterbury Kids chapbook. One of her lines appeared in posters across Christchurch as part of the All Right Campaign. Online publications include fingers comma toes and Hooked On NZ Books.
Samantha has received a number of awards for her writing including Highly Commended and Commended in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s competitions, third place in the Peter Smart Poetry competition and she received the Burnside High School Suzanne Hay Cup for Creative English.
The School for Young Writers recently interviewed Samantha. Two of her poems are featured at the bottom of this page.
SFYW: When and how did you first discover your inner poet?
Samantha: When I was quite young, I always enjoyed writing a mix of prose and poetry. My mum tells me that I wrote a poem about a rainbow in my first year of school! However, the time that I really understood poetry was for me was during Year Nine. I had been trying numerous writing forms in my first year at the School For Young Writers, yet seemed to gravitate more and more often to expressing my ideas in poetry. One day it just clicked. I realised that poetry was the creative outlet for me.
SFYW: What keeps you writing poetry?
Samantha: Poetry is a way for me to record and develop all the things I notice in the world. It is a way for me to be creative and explore ideas and thoughts that appeal to me. I enjoy taking the time to observe and analyse the world and society, while using these observations to create something special and important. Poetry is also a lovely tool to use to get things off your chest if they are worrying or bothering you; it doesn’t matter how silly they may seem. You might never use that poem again, but it still helped you process things that were troubling you. Ultimately, I think there is a power that poetry has in conveying complex and powerful ideas in a short amount of words. I aspire to write thoughtful, beautiful and profound poems like some of the poetry greats have in the past.
SFYW: Do you have a favourite poet/ poem by another poet?
Samantha: I appreciate different aspects of poetry that are exhibited in different styles and poets. Anis Mojgani and Sarah Kay are brilliant spoken word poets that I admire due to how they perform their poetry, and give it life beyond the page. Poets that have played with the conventional poetry rules also appeal to me, such as e.e. cummings because he subverted the expectations of grammar and structure of a poem. I’ve been reading some poems by Hone Tuwhare recently, and I really appreciate his imagery and poetry style. Other poets that I also enjoy are Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and T.S. Eliot. I would say currently my favourite poem is ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot, because of the complexity, delicious imagery, and power that is evoked.
SFYW: How do your poems evolve? ( what is a typical process for your writing)
Samantha: I usually begin a poem with an image or a series of images that I have noticed in the world around me or conjured up while completing other tasks (I find it really handy to write these down on a notepad on my phone, or a physical notebook). Connecting these images and ideas together, as well as adding more detail and development to them, makes up the first stage of my poetry. Sometimes I leave these bare-boned and unfinished to return to later, and come back to them with a fresh mind. When I come back to these poems, I try to add more depth and clarity to the words, making my second draft. After this comes the editing stage where I cut, add and re-arrange all my ideas so that they come through in the best way. This is probably the longest stage, and I actively try to get feedback from my friends, tutors at the School For Young Writers, my mum and my other family mentors. When I’m happy with every word and that the ideas have been expressed in the way I want them, the poem is finished! Of course, they can be edited and redrafted later on if I feel like it; poems can always be added to and adjusted.
SFYW: Anything else?
Samantha: The School for Young Writers has been fundamental to my development as a poet. The tutors there, such as Heather, Gail and James, have taught me so much about how to edit a poem, how to write a poem, and have given me endless inspiration. The opportunities I have been fortunate enough to have were available to me because of my time at The School for Young Writers. I have developed some marvellous friends there too. My family, and my mum have also helped me immensely, and I am extremely grateful to them too.
SFYW: Thanks Samantha. We admire your poetry so much and love having you as part of the school!


The Moment-Weaver by Samantha Jory-Smart

 I braided remnants of the sea

dribbling out from swollen waves

into a fishtail


and wove my garden

into a trail of roses and weeds


I crocheted my thoughts together

after combing frayed edges straight


and I plaited a bowl of

gossamer breaths


into a bracelet

for the Earth.


Now my fingers are limp.

They fumble with the exhaustion

only bones know


so I’ll leave the trees

to knit the horizon back together



Time Out by Samantha Jory Smart

Inside a cloud is where I am

above the blanket of the sea

and the gridlines of cities that always sprawl

further and further away.


I think of canary rays

that filter through this feathery cloud

and how they look

to the me on the ground.


Outside the cloud,

the sky is buttermilk.


Outside the cloud,

we wake to scribbling memories.


Outside the cloud,

the day goes on.


No wonder I prefer it here.


© Samantha Jory-Smart and The School for Young Writers, 2017. The authors’ moral rights have been expressed.

Summer Writing School 2018

 “These were the best writing workshops I’ve ever been to by far.  And I’ve been to lots!”                                                                                               a Summer School, 2017 young writer

We are very excited to share our line up for Summer Writing School for teenagers, January 22 to 26, 2018. Early bird registrations are open now and some popular workshops are already filling up with previous participants keen for another round!

Karen HealeyLisa Tui Jonathan, Jenna Heller, James NorcliffeGail Ingram and Heather McQuillan, will be leading workshops on character, story, song, poetry, blogs and odd forms.

All of the  workshop details are at youngwritersnz.wordpresscom.


Pick a Path

Three classes, hundreds of stories! This is the potential of the Pick a Path story workshop guided by our wonderful Amy Paulussen during the Spring Into Writing workshops.

Collaboration at its finest, followed by individual development of the stories, leads to all sorts of possibilities. Here is the opening co-created by the Year 5/ 6 group.

You are in the forest, with your friend, looking for berries and roots. Mum will be so happy if you can find something, anything. Ella’s bow and arrows bounce against her back as she runs up the slope. She falls, screams and disappears. You chase after her and then stop dead in your tracks. Your mouth opens in shock. Is that a unicorn?

Ella turns quiet. She sees it too. “Is that a…?”

“Yeah, that’s awesome. I thought they were just made-up.”

“We should follow it.”

You begin to stalk the unicorn. The forest is green and sticky, slowly turning into thicker deeper branches. It is getting dark and colder. Sludgy mud squishes under your bare feet. You hear the water before you see it. Ella leads the way, out of thicker woods, to a river, and there you see a waterfall crashing into an idyllic pool. The unicorn is drinking, it looks up, looks right at you, and bucks. A roll of parchment flies from its back across the pond and lands on the grass. The unicorn runs off.

Do you

a) chase the unicorn?


b) open the parchment?

Congratulations to all of the writers from each workshop. And thank you for bringing your glorious imaginations. 

Springing Into Writing

We started our Spring Into Writing Workshops today with 24 young writers signed up for Poetry with Pictures and Pick-a-Path Storytelling. The only rule given was to have fun!  And guess what… everyone followed the rule!

The wonderful and award-winning poet, Gail Ingram, led the Poetry Workshop where the children started with a “scribble” picture and found the hidden images they would need for their poems. Here are a few of the poems that were discovered during this process. Can you picture this?

 Marshmallow Forest by Harrison, age 9

trees crowd around me

the wind whistles as it blows

through the leaves

I am as calm and quiet as a statue

I tiptoe through a forest

filled with the wonderful aroma of


I want to stay

to eat them all and play

in the leaves.


and dragonflies

flutter around my face

and they are part of nature

just like me.


The Colour Scribble by Florence age 8

water drops from

the leaves

the ants

lime green, full and happy

leaf triangles

full of excitement

because nature’s here.


The Three Ghosts by Amber, age 9

distant fading cries

swirl like a world of disaster

where three ghosts all giving emotions

that lead to immortal sorrow

throw souls

into a lonely world

they will take you deeper in

and you can’t get out.


The Leaping Dolphin by Anna, age 9

The smell of salty water,

a dolphin leaps in

the moonlight.

The setting

of the ocean and its sea snails, salmon and starfish,

a dolphin’s habitat.


Sea Mumbles by Chloe, age 10

feathery fronds dance in the wind

silky satiny butterfly wings

mysterious eyes beckon me closer

a rushing wind

shrieks, whistles, moans

dying down to a soft murmur


call and cry

the sea whispers secrets

that are


to anything

you have ever heard

as you clamber over


to see

and answer

your question

as the sun goes down

a voice fills your ears

to go with the strange eyes

it mumbles

Who are you?