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Young New Zealand Writers

Young NZ Writers was established in 2011 by Tauranga Writers' members, Piper Mejia and Lee Murray, to create a platform for young writers to be mentored and published. In its first year, Young NZ Writers held the Great NZ Book Race, and established two writing competitions culminating in anthologies of the best writing -  Beyond this ... (for intermediate students) and Write Off Line (secondary students). Buoyed by their success working with over 500 students from more than 200 schools, in 2014 Piper and Lee established a Young NZ Writers Annual 'Day Out'. From 30 local Bay of Plenty participants in its first year, workshops grew and with the help of convenor Jean Gilbert, the group facilitated annual workshops for over 100 student participants from Auckland to Christchurch for a decade. During this time, Young NZ Writers expanded with many schools and participants making the competitions and Day Outs a permanent event on their annual calendar. Some years, the competitions received as many as 1000 entries (with all students receiving individual feedback in their work). During the pandemic, the programme went online with even more students participating in webinar offerings through the group's dedicated website.  Run entirely by volunteers, the group disbanded in February 2023.

Our Youth Collections
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Scary Tales
Edited by Lee Murray


Write Off Line 2020 presents stories and poems from New Zealand secondary school students.

From campfire tales to apocalyptic futures, these chilling bite-sized stories expose our underlying fears, both real and imagined, unsettling to downright terrifying, and all dripping from the pens of our new blood in dark fiction. 

Includes 63 stories and poems from secondary students from 37 New Zealand schools. Winners (Denika Mead, Hazel Cook, Hilary Smith, Nick Peterson, and Raeefah Ahmed) judged by award-winning writer and screenwriter William Dresden. 

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Timegate to Tomorrow
Edited by Lee Murray, Grace Bridges, and Piper Mejia

ISBN10 0473446871

Don't want a future government that sanitises the history books to excuse the re-enactment of their atrocities? Stand up against governmental censorship and funding cuts for the arts and humanities in our education system today. Don't want urbanisation and rampant commercialism to continue its trend in value above that of human lives? Start rejecting the normalisation of below-living wages and boycotting sweatshop-made products. Don't want a future where human starvation is staved off only by crops cocooned in fragile greenhouse ecosystems? Fight against your governments, your manufacturers, the corporations you support, where they invest in environmental destruction. Drown out their cries of "but profit must prevail" with "you can't eat profit." The writers of these stories are the generation to which we will be handing over the future of the world and of new literature. This competition is proof that there are young people, many of them, with the passion and the fire to take the baton and run with it. Luckily for us, that's exactly what we need. - Guest Judge, Naomi Moore Timegate to Tomorrow contributors are Year 9-13 students of Aparima College, Cashmere High School, Darfield High School, Epsom Girls' Grammar School, Garin College, Green Bay High School, Homeschool, Horowhenua College, Howick College, John Paul College, Katikati College, Lincoln High School, Macleans College, Marlborough Girls' College, Morrinsville College, Mount Albert Grammar School, Mount Roskill Grammar School, Murchison Area School, Nelson College, Paraparaumu College, Queen's High School, Taradale High School, Wellington East Girls' College, Wellington High School, Whakatane High School.

Alter Ego
Edited by Lee Murray, Grace Bridges, and Piper Mejia


Don’t Underestimate My Superpower


Write Off Line 2017 brings together stories and poems from New Zealand secondary school students. Expecting tales of spandex-clad heroes with outlandish superhuman powers, instead the freshest voices in New Zealand fiction surprised us with the depth of their insight and the rawness of their delivery. Teen writers told of unassuming, circumspect alter egos, quietly powerful and as effective as any cape-wearing superhero, much like the writing in this soulful collection. 

Beyond This Story
Edited by Lee Murray and Piper Mejia


Beyond This Story is a collection of hyperfiction - fiction based on true events - written by New Zealand intermediate school students. It includes interpretations of disasters and epidemics, some unspeakable horrors, as well as discoveries and triumphs to delight and startle the world. All are told with insight and sensitivity in the fresh voices of New Zealand’s young writing talent.

Teenagers are an Alien Species
Edited by Piper Mejia and Lee Murray


Teenagers are among us. Abducted, then transformed, the males are dangerous game-playing geeks, tormenting their families with their Goth girlfriends and ridiculously loud music. The females are Barbies with cars on their hearts, who ribbon their wrists and think oh, but the clothes are worth it. And yet, before they are dragged inexorably downward, teen aliens long for warm desert storms, for time-travelling Mitsubishis and the beautiful haze of carbon and dreams... Write Off Line 2013 is a collection of stories and poems by New Zealand secondary school students. We had hoped for a glimpse of the teenage condition through their own eyes, and discovered instead that the view from there is a kaleidoscope…

Beyond This Age
Edited by Lee Murray and Piper Mejia


Finalist Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work, 2013

... the fairies are cantankerous, mermaids are devious, skaltons have pushed through the portal and reflections are not to be trusted. In this collection of speculative and fantasy stories by New Zealand intermediate students, our newest young writers reveal what the next age might hold. But with murderous governments, ruthless aliens and even scheming apple trees, the future looks decidedly uncomfortable. Luckily, teleporters, antigravity machines and rescue dragons offer a sprinkle of hope.

You Don't Understand
Edited Piper Mejia and Lee Murray


A diary reveals its secrets, a crowd gathers for a game of rugby, a sole wolf howls in the night, hapless alchemists escape a dungeon, a rocket ship spins out of orbit, and on a bus bound for Wellington, two teenagers hatch a plan ... Write Off Line 2012 brings together writing by New Zealand secondary school students, giving us their perspective on the world, and in their ow words. Not afraid of tough subjects, this collection, includes stories and poems about abuse, prejudice, neglect, and loss. But nor is it without hope; evident in the soft touch of new love, in a glance between strangers over a rickety fence, in the brilliant sheen of the sun on snow, in the roar of an engine, and in the taste of pizza.

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