Lynda Chanwai-Earle (Scriptwriting, 2005)

Would I want to do the course all over again? Of course!

Lynda writes: 'I turned 40 during my MA year at Victoria. First thing I was asked (by my loved ones) was why I wanted to be a student again, after all aren't we supposed to be out there working in our chosen field, proving ourselves already? Isn't it a bit late to be learning now? My answer was simple; I knew then as I know now, that I was to have one of the best years of my life, cosseted in those hallowed halls (actually they're very small rooms) of learning, amongst the best and brightest, satiating my insatiable appetite for everything theatre and film. Ask any graduate of Ken Duncum's scriptwriting course, "Did you want to leave?" The answer will most likely be "NO, please let us stay, we need you SO!" Most of us had to be dragged away kicking and screaming, casting scathing looks at the baby-faced IIML students chosen for the following year.

'Okay, I was lucky too; I got into a great group of ten. During feedback sessions on our scripts with the ever energetic and eruditely generous Ken, we left our egos at the door (mostly) and got on with it. I was lucky; there were no writer's tantrums, no frenzied bursts of denial, and no long, monotonous lecturing monotones from opinionated experts. There was occasional writer's block, occasional terror at public readings and the odd feeling of disquiet for an insolvent future, which accompanies any writer at the best of times - but that's life. Would I want to do the course all over again? Of course, duh!'

Bio: Lynda has been writing from an early age. Her first book of poetry (Honeypants) was published by Auckland University Press in 1994 and was selected for the Penn Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards in 1995. Amongst many works written for theatre, her play Ka Shue (Letters Home) was selected to represent Aotearoa in the Fourth International Women Playwrights Conference in Galway, Ireland in 1997. Ka Shue was published by the Women's Play Press in 1998.

Lynda has also been involved as a script co-ordinator, drama facilitator and performer for dramas created within prisons: Kai Maumahara,Kai Maumahara II, A Christmas Wish and Watea (directed by Jim Moriarty, with Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu), which have all met with critical acclaim.

Since graduating from the MA Scriptwriting course Lynda has produced two gorgeous little girls: Tia and Sophia Manaia. Her portfolio thesis; a film script titled Little Dragon (formerly Abalone Soup), was picked up by a producer and received second draft development funding from the New Zealand Film Commission. Translated into Chinese, Little Dragon was recently selected as one of a dozen international film scripts to be pitched at the 2008 Shanghai Film Festival.

Lynda's play Heat (set in the Antarctic) recently received the 2008 STAB commission and premiered at Bats in November, 2008. Lynda has also been commissioned to write a play for Wellington High School - a collective history about Puke Ahu, Mt Cook.

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