• Current Recipients


    Andrew Dean is doing a doctorate in literature at the University of Oxford, focusing on metafiction in the works of J. M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, and Janet Frame. His short book, Ruth, Roger, and Me: Debts and Legacies was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2015.

    Andrew is reading novels that are said to be bad for us in some way, and what that means for the way we make claims for the value of literature.


    Tina Makereti writes fiction and creative non-fiction, teaches creative writing, and is a curator of cultural histories. In 2017 she will complete her third book of fiction, see the publication of an anthology of Māori & Pasifika fiction edited with Witi Ihimaera called Black Marks on the White Page, and launch a Courtenay Place Lightbox Exhibition called Magical Māori Mystery Tour of Wellington with Debbie Broughton and Johnson Witehira.

    Tina will explore the nexus between reading for pleasure and creative writing. Given the many ways she makes a living, she rarely reads purely for pleasure. Luckily, a lot of required reading enjoyable, but do we miss something if we don’t choose books based on what we might enjoy? What effect does reading for pleasure have on our writing practise? After all, it is often that feeling of reading joy that leads us to write in the first place.


    Past Recipients


    Amy Brown teaches at the University of Melbourne, where she completed a PhD in creative writing in 2012. Her most recent book, an epic poem titled The Odour of Sanctity, was published by Victoria University Press in 2013.

    Representations and realities of space migration themed Amy’s reading, which included science fiction, nonfiction, essays and interviews.

    Read Amy’s essay

    What Amy read


    Craig Cliff is an official “Creative Giant” of Palmerston North (no joke), and the author of the novel The Mannequin Makers and the story collection A Man Melting.

    Craig read about the rise of video games as spectator sports (e-sports) and how this may or may not parallel the rise of traditional spectator sports in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    Read Craig’s essay

    What Craig read


    Amber Esau is a poet and recent graduate of the Creative Writing Programme at the Manukau Institute of Technology. She has been published in Landfall, IKA, Hawaii Review and the Maori anthology Puna Wai Korero. She is the 2014 Going West Slam Champion.

    Amber read about location and dislocation: the ways people experience/interact with physical and abstract space and how this creates an individual and communal language of identity.

    Read Amber’s essay

    What Amber read


    Ya-Wen Ho is a poet, zine-maker and co-founding editor of Potroast. Her work has been published in JAAMPoetry New ZealandMinarets and Caketrain. Her first book of long poems, last edited [insert time here], is available from TinFish Press.

    Ya-Wen read about the impenetrability of English to readers of grapheme-script languages, such as Mandarin, and how bi-lingual writers adopt/resist/complicate Anglicisation.

    Read Ya-Wen’s essay

    What Ya-Wen read


    Alex Lodge is a playwright, performer and co-founder of (Tea for Toot, Nucking Futs, The Island Bay Loners’ Doomsday Christmas Sing-along). Recently, her play Our Parents’ Children was commissioned as part of the 2014 Young & Hungry Festival of New Theatre, and her short radio play The Conductor was featured in the podcast series The Witching Hours.

    Alex read the plays and critical writings of Kaite O’Reilly, whose work integrates British Sign Language and spoken word.

    Read Alex’s essay

    What Alex read


    Jessica ‘Coco’ Hansell is a multi-media artist who writes, raps, makes music and art often under the name Coco Solid. In between freelance and community projects Hansell is working on her animated webseries ‘Aroha Bridge’, a comic/poetry book about food and race, and a feature length project for Piki Films.

    Hansell’s reading was a ‘used-book bootcamp to enlightenment’. While volunteering in a charity shop weekly, she serendipitously chose and read the donated works of retro experts, feel-good quacks, random geniuses and buzzkill academics.

    Read Jessica’s essay

    What Jessica read


    Richard Meros is a Wellington-based pseudonym. He writes and publishes books with Lawrence & Gibson in Wellington. He is best known for his 2005 thesis On the conditions and possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her Young Lover as well as the 2008 adaptation of that work into theater. He has also published under the Meros moniker for White Fungus, the Dominion Post, NZ Listener and Hue & Cry and for the arts group Letting Space.

    Meros read in tandem, a selection of recent texts on post-scarcity economics and a selection of philosophical works on abundance and gifts. His aim was to combine these readings into a coherent understanding of the contemporary left in New Zealand mirroring the timbre of Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country.

    Read Richard’s essay

    What Richard read


    Lee Posna lives in Wellington and works at Pegasus Books. He’s recently enjoyed Tiepolo Pink by Roberto Calasso, Dreams and Stones by Magdalena Tulli and Elegies for Humanism by T. Zachary Cotler.

    Lee read about (and looked at reproductions of) Western painting of the 19th-20th century, and to some extent the genealogy of modernity as discussed by thinkers and historians including Charles Taylor and Paul Johnson. He studied artists working around the time of the advent of French impressionism and followed the journey many of them take from figuration and somewhat conventional representation to abstraction, pushing ideas and methods of deconstruction to their limits.

    Read Lee’s essay

    What Lee read


    Hannah Smith is a director, designer and producer with an honours degree in English Literature and Theatre from Victoria University of Wellington. She is the co-director of award-winning company Trick of the Light Theatre.

    Hannah researched early-to-mid twentieth century aspirational novels featuring girls who seek careers in the arts. Her reading canvassed a number of novels and authors who write in this vein, including, but not limited to, Noel Streatfeild (the ‘Shoes’ series) and Pamela Brown (the ‘Swish of the Curtain’ books).


    Read Hannah’s essay

    What Hannah read


    Alex Mitcalfe Wilson is a writer from Wellington, who lives in Auckland. His writing has been published by Artspace Auckland, Art New Zealand, Hue & Cry, The Pantograph Punch and Le Roy. He currently studies fine arts at the University of Auckland.

    Alex read about the sociological and economic currents which feed climate change, as well as how those forces are shaping the futures which the climate crisis leaves open to humanity.

    Read Alex’s essay

    What Alex read


    Rosabel Tan is founding editor at The Pantograph Punch, an online arts and culture publication fostering young New Zealand writers. Her work has been published in Hue & Cry, Sport, Metro, Wireless and The Spinoff. 

    Rosabel read critics on criticism and on the broader ethics of journalism, as well as criticism of film, art, literature, and perfume.

    Read Rosabel’s essay

    What Rosabel read


    Sylvan Thomson is a writer, romantic and occasional long distance walker. He is currently based in Michigan where he is completing an MFA.

    In 1818, aged 22, the yet-to-be-famous Romantic poet John Keats walked 642 miles through England and Scotland, accompanied by his good friend Charles Brown. Having recently recreated this walk, Sylvan read the poetry and letters Keats wrote while walking, as well as works written by two other copycat Keats’ walkers, one who attempted the walk in 1936 and another in 1992. His aim was to work out why you might want to do so such a thing in the first place, and whether the motivations of a 19th-century twenty-something poet are all that different to his own.

    Read Sylvan’s essay

    What Sylvan read