Anna Taylor (Writing for the Page, 2006)

The IIML feels like a community - of writers and teachers; people who are passionate about writing, and books, and the process of making them come alive.

Anna writes: 'I look back on my MA year with a feeling of wonderment. Never have I been so productive; so invigorated by the process of getting words down onto the page. At the time, of course, each week was peppered with the anxiety of trying to write a book in eight months. My classmates and I passed what would otherwise have been many a productive hour drinking tea, eating, looking down on the harbour, and worrying about word count (or, for the poets, how many poems you actually needed to make a "'collection"). We were a community of worriers though, and it was this sense of all being in it together that made the anxiety bearable, almost invigorating. The members of my MA class have all become dear friends - to this day (five years on) we still meet once a month to read and critique each others work, and are in regular email contact, constantly championing the small or large achievements of our group. It is what I imagine being in a sports team to be like, without the running around, or (in my case) dodging of the ball.

'Of course, we would have been lost without the man who calmly, but supportively, helped us make it to our destination. As a tutor and supervisor, Bill had endless energy, patience and good humour. His guidance and advice would never be given in an authoritative manner, but in a gentle, almost offhand way, as if he was simply a passenger, sitting beside you while you were at the wheel, offering directions in such a way that made you feel that you were the one who already knew the turn to take anyway.

'It is an extraordinary and blessed luxury to be able to surrender yourself to the writing process for a year (with all the horrors of writer's block and looming deadlines roaring along behind you.) More than an institute, the IIML feels like a community - of writers and teachers; people who are passionate about writing, and books, and the process of making them come alive.'

Bio: Anna Taylor completed the MA in 2006, winning the Adam Prize for her portfolio of stories. This book went on to become Relief, published by Victoria University Press in 2009, and the winner of the NZSA Hubert Church Award for Best First Book of Fiction in 2010. Anna was the recipient of the 2009/10 Todd Writers Bursary, and was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow in 2012. Her work has been anthologised in The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories, and translated into German for the 2012 edition of Some Other Country. She teaches creative writing at Whitireia NZ, and is at work on her second book.

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