At mid-2022, our Thirty Week Fiction Course graduate Eileen had published ten novels with Penguin Random House. Eileen’s novel ‘Pieces of You’ was published in 2017. This is the compelling story of a young woman who is uprooted from her home city and whose life begins to disintegrate. ‘Catch Me When You Fall’, was published in 2018, and tells the story of a girl who has leukemia, and her relationship with a boy suffering bi-polar disorder. Her third novel ‘Invisibly Breathing’ was published in 2019. Eileen works as a doctor. She has won prizes in UK and NZ short story awards, including the Sunday Star-Times Award four years in a row.
Ann’s elegiac novel ‘Rich Man Road’ reached No 1 on the Booksellers NZ fiction sales list. The novel is published by Eunoia Books, a publishing house made up of former students of Hub Director John Cranna. Ann says of her novel: ‘My extended family lives in Croatia and I have grown up with the rich stories and legends of the Dalmatian coast. During WWII, my relatives escaped the German occupation, spending time as refugees in the British run camps in El Shatt, Egypt.’ The novel follows the journey of one of these relatives who migrated to New Zealand. Ann’s novel received a glowing review from Rae McGregor on National Radio, which helped catapult it to No 1 position.
Gina’s collection of short stories, ‘Black Ice Matter’ was published by Huia Books. Gina is a graduate of our Thirty Week Fiction Course and is a family lawyer of Fijian and British ancestry. In these stories, a woman is caught between traditional Fijian ways and the brutality of the military dictatorship; a glaciology researcher falls into a crevasse and confronts the unexpected; two women lose children in freak shooting accidents. Gina has won prizes in several national writing awards and has been published in several Pacifica and other literary journals.
Greg Hall’s novel was profiled on Radio NZ and Television New Zealand to coincide with Anzac Day. It is a harrowing but uplifting story of three young men whose lives are overtaken by the First World War. It culminates at the battle of Passchendaele in which more than 800 young New Zealanders lost their lives. Greg is a Director of the Passchendaele Society, and a former senior banking executive.
Heidi’s book of poetry ‘Possibility of Flight’ has been described as ‘a thoughtful and intimate collection that ends unexpectedly with fireworks’. She won the Shanghai Writers Scholarship and the Asia Foundation short story competition. She was also awarded the Hachette / NZ Society of Authors Trans-Tasman mentorship, to work with a senior editor at Hachette Australia on the manuscript of her latest book. Her work has appeared in New Zealand and international journals. Heidi lives in Auckland, and when not being kept busy with her three-year-old, squirrels away time to write.
Fiona’s latest novel, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, was published in 2022. She won the Dame Ngaio Marsh award for the best crime novel of 2017, and the Sunday Star Times short story award in 2018, when John Cranna’s graduates took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in NZ’s best-known short story award. Her first novel ‘Shifting Colours’ based on her experience of apartheid in South Africa, is published by Penguin in New York, and Alison and Busby in London. Her second novel, ‘The Last Time We Spoke’ plumbs the dark reaches of urban NZ. Fiona has worked as a general practitioner and graduated from the fore-runner to our Thirty Week Fiction course, taught by Hub director John Cranna. www.fionasussman.co.nz
“Rosetta Allan’s debut novel ‘Purgatory’ (Penguin) is one of those books that draws you into its exquisitely crafted, atmospheric and entirely believable world within the first couple of pages. The time is 1865, the place is Otahuhu, New Zealand – back then just a small outpost designed to create a boundary between the slowly expanding settler’s Auckland, and the edge of the Waikato, still protected by King Country Maori.” NZ Booklovers. Rosetta’s second novel, ‘Unreliable People’ was published by Penguin Random House in 2019.
“A five-star course!”
“Very useful and enjoyable. It helped to clarify a number of issues I was unsure about, or only subconsciously aware of.”
“Excellent. Really enjoyed it. Challenging, fun, exploratory. Enjoyed the fact that things were revealed slowly, week by week.” “Informative, enlightening – huge learning curve.”
“Found writing in class daunting, but appreciated the challenge. The ‘homework’ helped establish a writing routine I plan to continue.”
“I really enjoyed it. Loved the dialogue workshop and the instruction on scene structure, which I found really helpful.”
“I liked having weekly projects to work on as it encouraged me to sit and write when I have a tendency to procrastinate otherwise.”
“Really enjoyed hearing the other students’ work!”
“The visiting writers were great. I also really enjoyed working with the group, and the process of reviewing and being reviewed. The group feedback was extremely useful. We quickly established trust.”
“Exposure to a number of NZ writers was not only a highlight – just meeting them – but the ideas they imparted were of great interest. This gave great depth to the course.”
“The critiquing process was helpful in my development as a writer. Reading others’ work and seeing how they structure their work and attack problems has been invaluable. It was very helpful to see working writers and hear their insights and to benefit from their skills.”
“I liked the discipline of continuing to write and critique work. I find that process valuable and illuminating. Group feedback was very valuable, and I gained a lot of insights into my work, and it kept me motivated to progress my writing. I wouldn’t have achieved much without it!”
“Everything worked. The best thing is the people in the group. We are so lucky. I think the trips to the pub afterwards (and other socialising) is an important part of it … it builds trust and team spirit. The group to me is like ‘The Inklings’ – Tolkien and CS Lewis’s group. What a model to base us on! We have the same structure … but of course they had no email, so they read aloud their work!”
“I feel empowered by what I learned on the course … There is no substitute for the Commendation, Recommendation, Commendation method we got on this course. You can’t get that from any book …”
“The weekly critiquing of work was brilliant. I liked the way theory was interspersed with this … it was a good refresher. Although I was at first put off by the test idea, it was actually a good way to see what we retained – a surprisingly great deal!”