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Bell Gully National Schools Writing Festival 2004

20 August 2004

Bell Gully National Schools Writing Festival 2004

Creative juices will flow when more than 200 students, teachers and writers from throughout the country come together for a writing festival at Victoria University next weekend (28-29 August).

The International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) and leading law firm Bell Gully have teamed up to bring the second Bell Gully National Schools Writing Festival to Wellington, providing secondary school students from Years 12 and 13 with the chance to workshop their ideas and stories with 20 professional New Zealand writers, poets and screenwriters, including Margaret Mahy, Glenn Colquhoun and Kate De Goldi.

The festival will kick off with the announcement of the Bell Gully National Schools Poetry Competition winner on Friday evening (27 August). More than 200 entries have been received for this year’s competition, judged by Glenn Colquhoun, and the winner will take home a prize package that includes subscriptions to leading literary magazines and a cash prize for both the winner and their school.

The Festival begins on Saturday morning with a variety of workshops and a panel discussion chaired by Ken Duncum from the IIML followed by a session with renowned children’s writer Margaret Mahy. Workshops and a panel discussion featuring Glenn Colquhoun, Hinemoana Baker, Jo Randerson and Damien Wilkins take place on Sunday.

This year, for the first time, teachers will also be given first-hand experience of a creative writing workshop. With support from the Ministry of Education, teachers from around the country will workshop writing they have produced, and learn new strategies for inspiring the New Zealand novelists, poets and scriptwriters of the future.

“The Festival provides a great opportunity for young writers to work with and learn from some of this country’s best literary talent – the atmosphere is inspirational,” says Maggie Callicrate, Chief Executive of Bell Gully.

“We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Festival and the Award for the second year – and to see that entries for both have increased.”

"At most literary festivals, the guest writers speak from the stage and get on the next plane home," says Damien Wilkins, senior lecturer at the IIML.

"Over this weekend there's a rare opportunity for the students and teachers to work with the writers in small group workshops. We think this sort of imaginative engagement will provoke interesting work on all sides."

Media are welcome to attend the announcement of the Bell Gully National Schools Poetry Competition on 27 August at 6pm on L28 of the Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street, Wellington. Please RSVP to Cheryl Lovett at Bell Gully on 04 915 6799 or email to

Competition judge and 2004 Prize in Modern Letters winner Glenn Colquhoun will read from his own work as part of the IIML's free Writers on Fridays series at the City Gallery at 1pm on Friday 27 August.

For more information contact: Fiona Wright, Administrator, International Institute of Modern Letters, Ph: 04 463 6854, 021 712 363

Festival Details: Saturday 28–Sunday 29 August, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 101, Gate 5, Victoria University, Kelburn, Wellington, Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs


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