Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Are You All Tired?

What a fantastic weekend!
Everywhere I looked people were sparking with the energy of new learning, new connections and new collaborations.

Our presenters were impressed with your energy and enthusiasm. And we were impressed with the depth and breadth of our presenter’s workshops. We are so pleased that many of them were able to stay and enjoy the whole conference with us.

Chris Else has made his Contract workshop available so we can email that to you.
Sue Copsey also has made her E-Publishing workshop available.
Just drop us an email at Tinderbox if you want them.

Once again a huge Thank You to you all for making the weekend go so well, from the Sparks Teams that were a high energy fireworks display on Friday ... to the sustained rocket launch that was Sunday.

The Illustrators had a magnificent day on Monday getting to grips with new media while the Writers had a drooling session in the National Library. Research never looked so good!
You can drop in on our Face Book page to see pictures... or email us some to put on here.

Maureen... for the Tired but very Happy Tinderbox team!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

What happens on Friday?

On Friday, the conference officially starts at 9am with a formal Maori welcome. Registration will happen after that, with conference bags being handed out and the committee on hand to answer any questions. We will give priority to those attending Mandy's workshop which starts at 9.30am. The timetable is here, but will also be provided in printed form in your conference bags, along with your individual timetable for the workshops. 
A note about the timetables: some of the workshops have proven very popular, and in those cases we’ve had to resort to your second choices. In general, we’ve used the principle of first come first served; but where workshops were designed for specific groups, priority was given to those who matched the criteria. For example, the ‘Creature Making and Drawing’ workshop was designed for illustrators, so in that case they’ve been given precedence.

Sessions before morning tea on Friday also include a catch-up for Sparks teams and portfolio critiques for illustrators. If you're not involved in any of those activities, you'll be free to start socialising, finding your way around the venue, meeting old friends and making new ones (and possibly even have time for a quick trip down to the Children's Bookshop).

If you can't make it to St Cath's by 9am, don't worry as registration will be happening all day, but your best chance of catching one of the committee members might be during a break in the programme, eg morning tea (10.30-11am) lunch (12.20-1pm) or afternoon tea (3.10-3.30pm). But try not to miss Andy Griffiths who will be speaking from 1-1.30pm. 

At the end of the day, we'll be heading down to The Children's Bookshop - 5 mins walk away - for the cocktail party which starts around 6pm. 

Friday night dinner is not included in the conference cost and we’ve suggested that you may like to make up a group and go out somewhere. (Alternatively, you may want to go home for an early night before a busy day on Saturday - all up to you!) There are not many dinner places in Kilbirnie itself, but Newtown (or even the city) is just a short car, bus or taxi ride away. This is also WoW (World of Wearable Arts) season in Wellington, so restaurants may be busy, especially in town, but at others you'll find you can't book but just have to wait a while for a table. We'd encourage you to look out for other conference attendees who may be on their own or don’t know many people - or if that applies to you, please don't feel shy about asking any other group if you can join them. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

And more helpful stuff!

Travel tips and other useful hints to help you make the most of next weekend.

(Click on the image below to make it bigger.)

Presenting... the Tinderbox committee!

We'd like to introduce our hard-working committee so you know who to buttonhole if you have any questions about the conference during the Tinderbox weekend. (You're also welcome to shower them with praise, congrats and thanks for the fabulous time you are having.)

Maureen Crisp
Over the past year, Maureen has fielded hundreds (if not thousands) of emails and filled up many, many folders of notes as she battled with the intricacies of IT requirements, budgets, programme make-up, selection of possible presenters, accommodation, food, transport and a million other details of conference organisation. She has also managed to keep up with her weekly Thursday deadline for posting the latest writing news and helpful tips on her Craicer blog:

And the rest of the organising committee, in alphabetical order:

Fleur Beale
Fleur is one of the four assessors who have generously offered to help with the ms assessments.

Fifi Colston
Fifi is not only helping to plan Tinderbox, but also has an entry ("Morphology") in this year's World of Wearable Arts show (in the Weta section) - so fingers crossed for her on award night.
She is also organising the Illustrators Day on Monday with Adele. 

Adele Jackson 
Adele has been in charge of design work, so we have her to thank for the logo, the wonderful programme and all other Tinderbox printed and online material.
She is also organising the Illustrators Day on Monday with Fifi, as well as the "Lightning talks" presentations.

Johanna Knox
Johanna is running the Sparks programme, which has already generated plenty of excitement and lots of cooperation - exactly what we hoped for.  

Sabrina Malcolm
Sabrina has spent untold hours extracting data from the conference registration forms and re-formatting it into lists of workshop attendees. She has also been answering emails and looking after the ms assessment programme, fielding queries and matching up writers with assessors. 

Anita Nalder
Anita (with Bridgette) has been tirelessly seeking sponsorship from all sorts of companies, business and local shops - often a thankless task, but together they have had some great successes. 

Pippa Werry
Pippa has been spending her time applying for grants, studying the budget, sending out receipts and paying invoices - if you've got any money-related queries, please ask her.

Bridgette Yates
Bridgette (with Anita) has been on the hunt for sponsorship, asking everyone from power companies to wine merchants, and together they have come up with some great surprises that you'll find in your Tinderbox goodie bags.

All of these people have been fitting their committee work in and around paid work, school visits, travel, moving house, child minding, everyday-life-cooking-cleaning-and-shopping and of course trying to find time to do their own writing and /or illustrating, and we are deeply grateful to them all!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Presenting ... Sparks!

Tinderbox 2015 is all about enjoyment, collaboration, and finding new ways to work together. From that has sprung an awesome collaboration with the Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) - Forest & Bird's organisation for children.

'Sparks' offers a chance for Tinderbox attendees to get published in KCC’s science-and-nature magazine for children - Wild Things.

Registered conference attendees team up in groups of two to four, to produce a fun, innovative feature that will be submitted to a special summer 2015 issue of Wild Things - themed around biodiversity.

Enrol for Sparks by this Saturday 29 August (details below!) and you'll receive a list of everyone else who's also enrolled, so you can start to form your teams. The Tinderbox Facebook page will facilitate this, and people from different creative disciplines are encouraged to collaborate with each other. 

You'll also receive from KCC a sample copy of the magazine, along with a full brief for the project, including a list of New Zealand native animals and plants to choose your team topic from. (Each team chooses a different one - first come first served.) 

After that, you'll have until the Tinderbox weekend to work together - in person, or by email, phone or any other means of communication - on a single-page work about your topic. Think articles, comic strips, stories, skits, activities, puzzles, games … OR some new, creative combination of those things. 

During Tinderbox, you'll get together at Sparks workshops to talk with Wild Things editor Johanna Knox, who can answer any questions and advise on fine-tuning your work to meet Wild Things requirements.

After the conference NINE fantastic works will be chosen by KCC and Wild Things from all those submitted. If many exceptional works are received, there may be room to include more of them in future issues of Wild Things, on an occasional basis.

Work will be paid for at usual Wild Things rates.

Find out more about Wild Things and KCC here.

To enrol for Sparks: Email with 'Sparks Enrolment' in the subject line, and your postal address in the body of the email.  

Sparks deadlines:
Saturday 29 August: Register for Sparks 
Friday September 4: Have your teams decided on
Monday September 7: As teams, submit 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice topics

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Updated Programme

Hi all- sorry if yesterdays facebook link didn't work- it's what happens when you notice a teeny mistake and correct it; the link doesn't update... but here is the updated programme with Andy Griffiths. Exciting much!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Registrations Closing Soon

Registrations for the Conference will be closing soon!
We are nearly fully subscribed. It is going to be a great conference. We have people coming from all over New Zealand and overseas as well!
With the late addition of a special guest speaker, Mr Andy Griffiths (Australian superstar children's author) we can't wait until the conference kicks off on October 2nd.
If you can't wait to join us… Register Here

Any questions? email us here

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


Tinderbox is thrilled to announce a new guest speaker!
Best-selling and multi-award-winning Australian children's author Andy Griffiths will be in town — and has agreed to join us at Tinderbox on Friday 2nd October.
We've tweaked the programme, so you won't miss the chance to hear from the brilliant and charismatic author of the Treehouse series, the JUST! books and The day my bum went psycho.
Some places are still available; if you haven't yet registered and would like to, or if you think a friend might be interested, you can register HERE

Please help us to spread the word!

Best wishes,

Tinderbox 2015 Committe

Friday, 12 June 2015

It's up! The full programme for Tinderbox 2015

You can see it HERE on the Programme page.

The Illustrators Day is HERE on the Illustrators page.

Check out all the Speakers HERE
Registration opens at 7pm Tuesday June 16th- be poised for action!

Notes: If you click on the picture of the programmes it launches a new large view window .
Writers have a visit to The Dorothy Neale White Collection (the largest collection of children's book in NZ) and Cafe discussion groups organised for Monday
Sparks is a secret - coming soon. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Tinderbox registrations open on 16 June

Due to so many of our friends being at the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards on Monday 15 June we are delaying registration of Tinderbox 2015 to Tuesday 16 June.

Congratulations to all the Finalists!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Official Media Release

Tinderbox: igniting and fuelling the fire of NZ children’s writers and illustrators

Tinderbox is a professional conference for new and established children’s writers and illustrators to be held at St Catherine’s College, Kilbirnie, Wellington, 2 - 5 October 2015. The conference aims to shed light on new writing and illustration practices, inform about current practices and practitioners, and otherwise foster and energise its delegates

The programme includes practical workshops, informative panel discussions, and insightful keynote speakers. Topics range from self-publishing, book production, marketing and contracts, public presentation skills, to next-steps for published writers, first-five-page manuscript critiques, and meet the small presses. There will also be an innovative, real-time, collaborative project that will run alongside the main sessions. 

The cost of the conference is $400 for three days, Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th October, and includes lunches, drinks at the Children’s Bookshop on Friday, and dinner on Saturday. Monday 5th October is a dedicated Illustrators’ Day, the cost of which is incorporated in the conference fee. While this can be attended as a stand-alone event, for a fee of $100, the full conference has much to offer illustrators and is highly recommended.

The conference programme will be available to view online in early June and registrations open on 15th June. Early bookings are recommended as the last conference held in Wellington, Spinning Gold 2009, sold out within four hours.

Tinderbox offers a range of activities and experiences for writers and illustrators at all stages of their career and is being organised by the Wellington Children’s Book Association, P O Box 1242 Wellington. 

For more information please email: 
or join the Facebook page: Tinderbox 2015, 
Twitter: Tinderbox2015

Monday, 1 June 2015

A slight delay...

We know you are all anxious to view the programme. We have had a slight delay in putting the finishing touches to it. Hopefully it will be up by the end of the week.
Thank you all for your patience.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Spinning Gold, Spinning Tales, Golden Yarns

Spinning Gold, September 2009: nobody who was there will ever forget it!
  • the quirky accommodation in Capital House, Melrose (now sadly earthquake-stickered and closed)
  • the fabulous goodie bags, provided by Learning Media and filled with treats from our sponsors
  • the generosity of John and Ruth McIntyre who put on the cocktail party at The Children's Bookshop on Friday night
  • the very convivial but slightly squashed lunches and dinners
  • many wonderful, thought-provoking and challenging sessions, panels and workshops
  • talks by Martin Baynton, Kate de Goldi, Lawrence Green and Fiona Inglis
  • a mystery trip to a secret location
  • and the lines of people quietly panicking on the stairs before their 5 min Pitch slam slot….

The next conference was Spinning Tales, held at King's School, Remuera in April 2011, and organised by Kiwiwrite4kids and Storylines. The Storylines AGM and annual Margaret Mahy lecture took place on Saturday morning, with the lecture ("Legends from the swamp") being given by Kate de Goldi.  

Margaret Mahy herself was present at the dinner, also held at King's, which featured (often hilarious) presentations by Kyle Mewburn, William Taylor and Fifi Colston, and a competition (which the illustrators won hands down) on making artwork from our meals. 

There was another Pitch slam, a Publishers Panel and a Kaumatua Panel with Gavin Bishop, Fleur Beale, Bill Taylor, Katerina Mataira and Tessa Duder, who were asked "What do you know now that you didn't know before?" and "What do you find most difficult in your work?"

Golden Yarns, hosted by Te Tai Tamariki (June 2013), treated us to the hospitality and delicious cuisine of Medbury School in Christchurch. For many attendees, this was their first glimpse of Christchurch post-earthquakes. Key note addresses were given by Greg O'Brien ("The life of an illustrator - Graham Percy") and Kate de Goldi ("Seeking Susan - the Susan Price collection"). 

Workshops included the editor's role with Anna Rogers, picture book writing with Kyle Mewburn and social realism with Fleur Beale. A session was put aside to discuss Burning issues in the publishing industry, and we also learnt about the work of Te Tai Tamariki, the NZSA, the NZ Book Council and Storylines. Ant Sang and Dylan Horrocks talked about graphic novels and there was a brief look at e-publishing. 

Saturday night's conference dinner was held at the Chateau on the Park, and the main conference was followed by an Illustrators' Day on Monday, open to all children's book illustrators, professional or aspiring. You can read Melinda Szymanik's take on it here

And now it's Tinderbox 2015 - we are looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Welcome to Tinderbox 2015

Tinderbox is a professional conference for New Zealand writers and illustrators to be held on 2 - 5 October 2015 in Wellington.

Tinderbox offers something for all writers and illustrators and is designed to be an interactive and inspiring experience. The programme includes practical workshops, informative panel discussions, and insightful keynote speakers. Topics range from self-publishing, book production, marketing and contracts, public presentation skills, to next-steps for published writers, first-three-page manuscript critiques, and meet the small presses. There will also be workshops for illustrators and a dedicated illustrator's day, including hands-on time on the tools. Running alongside these sessions will be an innovative, real-time, collaborative project. Further details will be announced once they are finalised. 

The conference will be held at St Catherine's College in Kilbirnie, Wellington, just across the road from The Childrens Bookshop. The conference is non-residential so attendees will need to arrange their own accommodation.  A list of potential providers will be uploaded shortly. Please be aware that the World of Wearable Art festival runs in Wellington from 24 September  until 11 October so early bookings are recommended. 

The conference programme will be available online from 1 June and registration opens on 15 June.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page, "Tinderbox 2015", and if we have your email details we will keep you informed. You can also contact us on 

Tinderbox 2015 aims to ignite sparks, shed light on new practices, to nourish and energise writers and illustrators. We look to forward to seeing you there.