Spark Teams

Johanna Knox will lead this exciting live writing and illustrating project. (More details to come)

Levelling Up - Exploring the iceberg: Integrated thinking for fiction writers

Mandy Hager will lead workshop for experienced writers who want to take their work to the next level.

Pre-booked Manuscript Assessments

Fleur Beale, Barbara Else, Chris Else, Barbara Murison will look through the first 5 pages of manuscripts, plus a one page synopsis of the whole story. Hard copy needs to arrive to us by hard copy by September 1. Cost $50 (same cost for picture books).

Portfolio Critique

Senior illustrators will be on hand to look at your portfolio and give recommendations for editing and showing your work off to its best advantage.

Working with Creative Commons

Elizabeth Heritage will share her knowledge on all things copyright, including what it is and how to protect it.

Rollocking Rhyme

Juliette McIver will speak about the intricacies of writing picture books, especially those in rhyme.

Where Do I Begin?

Just starting out in your writing career? Mary McCallum will show you the ropes, help you cast off and send you in the right direction, full steam ahead.


Provided at St Catherine’s

Juicy Fruit for Illustrators

Curious, entertaining and inspirational speakers offer delicious morsels for illustrators in this Pecha Kucha style session. Sit back and have your creative fuse lit!

Real-time Editing

Barbara Else will present a live editing session showing how to hone and polish your manuscript the way a professional editor would do.

Meta-Data and Other Mysteries

Andrew Long will present this valuable session looking at optimising the SEO behind your books online life.

Designing a School Visit

Tania Roxborogh will share her techniques, tips and wisdom on how to give a stellar presentation to schools and to the general public.

Keynote Speaker

Dave Armstrong, award-winning script-writer, will present an insightful and entertaining keynote speech.

Drinks at the Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie

Come and enjoy drinks and nibbles, good company and a browse around the bookshelves at the Children's Bookshop, a short walk away in Kilbirnie; thanks to John and Ruth McIntyre, tireless supporters of children’s writers and writing, for sponsoring this opening cocktail party

Friday night dinner

Good chance to catch up with friends, or make new ones; check out the Food on Friday page for a list of good eating places in nearby Newtown, only a short bus or taxi ride away.



A chance for the Spark teams to get-together and plan their projects.

Breaking Genres

The wonderful Susan Kaye Quinn will join us from Chicago via Skype to talk about collaboration within your writing, publishing and marketing.

Illustration School: Creature Making and Drawing

Sandra Morris & Nina Rycroft will help you create a fantastic sculpted creature from polymer clay and armature wire, which you can take home to draw. All materials supplied; numbers strictly limited.

Writing for Translation: Exploring Other Markets

Greet Pauwelijn will talk about the intricacies and rewards of writing for translation and the new markets you can reach.

Digital Books – Creating for New Formats

Steven Renata from Kiwa Digital, will discuss this company’s groundbreaking work in creating innovative experiential digital books.

Pre-Booked Manuscript Assessments

Fleur Beale, Barbara Else, Chris Else, Barbara Murison will continue their manuscript assessing.


Catered in-house at St Catherine’s

Changing Before You Get Changed

Christian Penny, Director at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, will speak developing a collaborative working culture.

Spark Teams

Check in with Johanna Knox

Presenting and Facilitation Training for Panellists and Chairpersons

Lee Wilkinson will conduct a workshop aimed at improving the skills needed by panellists and chairpersons – an increasingly common requirement for today’s writers. This is an advanced practitioners session.

Small / indie press

We are gathering together publishers to talk about different ways to publish in 2015. This panel will look at collaboration, different publishing models and being nimble in today’s market.

Conference Dinner catered in-house at St Catherine’s


Spontaneous Combustion

Seven people share their knowledge on writing and publishing in seven-minute sound bytes. It's fun, it's fast and you will be fizzing!

Deconstructing Contracts

Chris Else will de-mystify contracts and answer questions.


Sharon Holt flies in to share what she has learnt from her move from traditional publishing to self-publishing. She now has 10 print books in her series, and a road show that travels the country.

Inspiration for Teachers

This is a subscription-only talk for teachers offering something new to inspire their students. A group of highly successful illustrators share their work and methods for teachers not attending the conference.


Catered in-house at St Catherine’s

Get a Handle! Social Media and You

Do you feel like a twit on Twitter? Thought Hootsuite was a couch to laugh at? No idea how to work social media? Digital strategist, Alexandra Lutyens has been getting a handle this area for years and will demystify it for you. Bring your laptop, iPad or tablet and prepare to launch yourself into the online universe and let the world know you are there!

Burning Tax Issues – Help is at Hand

Discover what you can and can’t claim for; do you need to pay ACC levies on the PLR payment – plus other tricky issues writers and illustrators face at the end of each financial year.


Sue Copsey shares her knowledge as a freelance editor for independent authors and discusses her own endeavours with e-publishing her own children’s books.

Book Journey

Luke and Vida Kelly share their 35 years’ collective experience in the graphic design industry.


Illustrators' Day

From a hands-on demonstration of paint gel mediums and Golden QOR watercolours, to a session of steampunk life drawing, to a learning tour of some of Wellington’s best printeries, studios, and cafes, the Illustrators’ Day will have something for every practising or aspiring illustrator.

Writers Café Crawl

If you are still in town on Monday morning, we'd love to catch up for a debrief, (buy-your-own) coffee/lunch and tour of the Dorothy Neal White collection at the National Library, Thorndon.

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