About the National Schools Writing Festival

The National Schools Writing Festival was held annually from 2005 to 2009, before being suspended due to lack of ongoing funding support.

The Festival was established in 2003 for Yr 12 and 13 New Zealand students interested in writing fiction, poetry and scripts for theatre, film and television. Held over a weekend in August at Victoria University of Wellington, the Festival featured two half-day small group creative writing workshops and seminars with some of New Zealand’s leading writers.

The Festival was free to attend, and morning tea, lunch and afternoon were provided. For several years, we also offered a low-decile scholarship, awarded by ballot, to cover travel and accommodation expenses to Wellington for three students at a low decile (1-3) school.

Information, writing resources and nomination forms were sent to all eligible secondary schools and made available on our website in February each year the Festival was run. Home-schooled students studying at the equivalent of Yr 12 and 13 could also be privately nominated to attend.

As part of the final (2009) Festival we held a session for upper secondary teachers on teaching creative writing with the International Institute of Modern Letter's Founding Director, Bill Manhire. (Bill retired in 2013.)

Download the 2009 National Schools Writing Festival Handbook (564KB pdf)

For a number of years, the Festival was held in conjunction with the National Schools Poetry Award, which has continued as an annual event. The Award is free to enter and open to Yr 12 and 13 students throughout New Zealand.