Writers on Mondays
Latest news: due to pandemic gathering and travel restrictions, we have made the difficult decision not to hold Writers on Mondays in 2020.
However, the Next Page and Short, Sharp, Script sessions, featuring new work-in-progress by our current MA students, will go ahead in September. More details will be available on this page soon, and these events will be promoted on our homepage, in our occasional newsletter, and via the modernletters Twitter account.
The full series will return in July 2021.
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!
The 2019 Writers on Mondays events are listed in full below. You can also download the programme (2,040KB PDF). Previous years' programmes are available to download at the bottom of this page.
Events run Monday 12.15 - 1.15pm on The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa with the exception of the two Short Sharp Script sessions at Circa Theatre.
Admission is free, all welcome.
No food may be taken onto Te Papa Marae.
22 July: Hot and cold - Lynda Chanwai-Earle
The 2019 Creative New Zealand/Victoria University Writer in Residence Lynda Chanwai-Earle is a ground-breaking poet and playwright, whose work HEAT was the first-ever play to be powered by solar and wind power. This year, she is working on the second and third plays in her ‘Antarctic Trilogy’, and co-writing a television drama drawing on the real-life murder of a Chinese student in Auckland that was also the basis for her play Man in a Suitcase. Lynda is a well-known public broadcaster with RNZ, and has toured in a Māori theatre company visiting schools and prisons. She explores her interlocking creative lives with producer/playwright Miria George.
29 July: Poetry Quintet
New York poet Amy Leigh Wicks finds a new home in Kaikōura in The Dangerous Country of Love and Marriage, and New Zealander Nikki-Lee Birdsey plumbs the fault lines between her lives in America and Aotearoa in Night As Day, while Chicago poet Steven Toussaint composed the deeply musical poems of Lay Studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Sugar Magnolia Wilson hails from Fern Flat, but the poems of A Woman’s Heart is like a Needle at the Bottom of the Ocean travel to Korea and into intimate and distant histories. essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Raukawa) is a non-binary/takatāpui poet whose Ransack rummages through language and history in a search of a place to call their own. All five poets layer place and history, love and loss in their books, yet all five voices are utterly distinctive. Introduced by Chris Price, they read poems from here, there, and everywhere.
5 August: Dig Deeper - Dinah Hawken and Lynn Jenner
Dinah Hawken’s urgent yet contemplative poems have been celebrated in Aotearoa since her award-winning début, It Has No Sound and is Blue (1987). In There Is No Harbour, Hawken sets the depth of injustice Māori have endured in Taranaki against her own family history in search of greater clarity in the present. In her new book, PEAT, Lynn Jenner enlists poet and Landfall editor Charles Brasch to help her think through aspects of the land and the national character unearthed by the construction of the Kāpiti Expressway. Two Kāpiti writers, who share a conviction that the past is not a foreign country but everywhere at hand if only we know how to look, join chair Bill Manhire in what promises to be a fascinating discussion.
12 August: Axiomatic - Maria Tumarkin
Cultural historian and writer Maria Tumarkin moved from the Ukraine to Australia at age 15. Her latest book applies a freewheeling intelligence to five common axioms such as ‘time heals all wounds’, interrogating their accuracy and adequacy in the face of trauma. 'Maria Tumarkin's shape-shifting Axiomatic deploys all the resources of narrative, reportage and essay,' writes Pankaj Mishra in the Guardian. 'It is a work of great power and beauty.' Tumarkin is the author of three other acclaimed books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland. She also collaborates with visual artists, psychologists and public historians, and teaches writing at the University of Melbourne. She appears in conversation with Chris Price.
19 August - Best New Zealand Poems
Best New Zealand Poems is published annually by Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters. Get ready for Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day (on 23 August) by coming along to hear nine of the best read work selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2018—and be sure to visit www.bestnewzealandpoems.org.nz to view the full selection. Join 2018 editor Fiona Farrell as she introduces Nikki-Lee Birdsey, Jenny Bornholdt, Doc Drumheller, Sam Duckor-Jones, Bernadette Hall, Anna Jackson, Therese Lloyd, Mary McCallum, and Chris Tse.
26 August: Electric/Antarctic - Rebecca Priestly and Helen Heath
In Are Friends Electric?, 2019 Ockham NZ Book Award for Poetry winner Helen Heath explores the merger of human beings with technology, and asks questions about the potential of a digital afterlife to assuage human desires and griefs. She talks with Royal Society Science Book Prize and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize winner Rebecca Priestley about her memoir of science on the icy continent, Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica. This deeply personal tour of the place Priestley had longed to visit since childhood also explores her anxieties, both for herself, and for the threatened place she loves.
2 September: The Next Page 1
A wonderful opportunity to hear a fresh mix of prose and poetry by the current cohort of writers in the Master of Arts in Creative Writing Programme at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters. Caleb Harris, Ash Davida Jane, Elaine Webster, Cris Cucerzan, Rebecca Reilly, Geraldine Warren, Stacey Teague, Una Cruickshank, Mikee Sto-Domingo, and Fiona Lincoln are introduced (in that order) by Kate Duignan.
9 September: The Next Page 2
Part 2 of the popular Next Page sessions features readings from (in order) Danyl McLauchlan, Preya Gothanayagi, Melanie Ansell, Jane Cherry, Catarina de Peters Leitão,Tanya Ashcroft, Manon Revuelta, Dave Glynn, Louisa Buchanan, and Janey Thornton. They are introduced by Chris Price.
16 September: Short Sharp Script 1 - Circa Theatre
Actors perform dynamic new work by MA scriptwriting students from the IIML. This week scripts by Sally Bollinger, Mitchell Botting, Emily Callam, Emilie Hope, and Jonathan King are introduced by Ken Duncum.
23 September: Short Sharp Script 2 - Circa Theatre
More exciting work in progress from the second group of IIML scriptwriters, at Circa Theatre. This week the spotlight falls on work from David Mamea, Helmut Marko, Monica Pausina, Sophie Scott, and Rachael Stokes. Introduced by Ken Duncum.
30 September: Flight Across Worlds - Elizabeth Knox and Craig Cliff
Elizabeth Knox’s new novel The Absolute Book is set in London, Norfolk, the Wye Valley, and Auckland, as well as in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory. Old acts of revenge return with force, as three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world. Craig Cliff’s second novel Nailing Down the Saint explores the life of St Joseph of Copertino, as recreated by the movie industry. Can rational materialism explain everything? Join Kate Duignan to discuss parallel worlds, moral reckonings and religious borrowings in these novels.
7 October: This Hostile Place - Carl Shuker and Lawrence Patchett
Lawrence Patchett’s first novel The Burning River is a work of fictional futurology set in a version of New Zealand where a plastic miner who survives by alliances and trade is swept into a perilous inland journey with new companions. In Carl Shuker’s novel A Mistake, a gifted female surgeon at Wellington Hospital must make her way in a male-dominated world. Fergus Barrowman explores the allegiances and codes these characters must navigate to survive, and the different types of world-building that have gone into each of these novels.