Topic: Young writers go for the big chill

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An article about TW's Young Writers Group, and their publication They Came in From the Dark, co-edited by Jessica Harvey and Lauren Haddock.

The supernatural, horror and mystery were the themes for this year’s Write Off Line competition organised by Tauranga Writers. The prizewinning entries were judged by Lee Murray, a Sir Julius Vogel award-winner; Deryn Pittar, who writes futuristic romances as Virginnia del Parte; Dhaivat Mehta, novelist, filmmaker and performance poet, and editor Alan Lindsay.

Contributions from prizewinners and placegetters will be published in November as They Came in From the Dark, co-edited by Jessica Harvey, who teaches at Quantum Education, and supernatural mystery writer Lauren Haddock, secretary for this long-established writing group.

With prizes in four categories – junior and senior poetry, and junior and senior prize – it was no easy task to pick out whom to place first from so many remarkable entries (over one hundred from more than thirty schools across New Zealand.)

The Write Off Line series of anthologies was established in 2012 with the intention of providing a vehicle for teen writers to be published. The originators were Lee Murray, whose own stories have won prizes, and Piper Mejia, President of Tauranga Writers, who teaches English and creative writing locally. Piper has also created a special website for young writers at http://youngnzwriters.weebly.com/.

Says Jessica Harvey, “The amount of talent shown by young writers from both the North and the South Island is astounding and a good omen for the future of the literary arts in our country.”

The Strongest Metal by local schoolgirl Selena Wright, who attends Tauranga Girls’ College, is among the stories included in They Came in from the Dark.

“We were delighted with the response and excited by the high standard of the writing,” adds Jessica’s fellow-editor, Lauren Haddock. “The stories and poems we received were entertaining, moving and chilling – stories of modern mythology, abstract fears and phobias – and there was even a love story.”

A total of thirty young writers are represented in Write Off Line: They Came in From the Dark, which will be available early next month. Email taurangawritersnz@gmail.com for order details.

“Seeing your own work in print is such a boost,” says Lauren. “We’d have liked to publish every student who entered, because getting it down on the page is the most important part of writing. This wasn’t possible, but no one went away empty handed. We made sure they all got individual feedback and suggestions for improving their work. That’s how writers grow and learn.”

First published in Creative Beat November  2014 - Literary Trailblazers

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