Small writing centre sweeps board in national fiction award
The Creative Hub writing centre in Auckland has come up trumps in the nation’s premier short story competition announced this week, its writers winning First, Second and Third Prizes.
Fiona Sussman won First Prize in the Sunday Star Times Short Story Award, for a story about a stripper called 'Mad Men'. Fiona's fiction is published internationally. She has published two novels, ‘Shifting Colours’ and ‘The Last Time We Spoke’ which have themselves won prizes, including the Ngaio Marsh Crime Novel Award 2017.
Director of the Creative Hub, John Cranna said, 'Fiona is a wonderful model of a writer with audacity. She cares about social injustice and has a great heart. This is true of the other two prize-winners as well.'
Eileen Merriman won Second Prize, and Kathryn Van Beek won Third Prize. Eileen has published two novels with Penguin Random House, ‘Pieces of You’ and ‘Catch Me When you Fall’ and is also a Creative Hub tutor. Kathryn was the Creative Hub Writer-In-Residence this year.
‘These talented writers are all graduates of the Creative Hub Thirty Week Fiction Course or its fore-runner,’ said John Cranna. ‘They’ve been exposed to the expertise of some of NZ’s leading authors, and have learned their lessons well.’
The Creative Hub was established by John Cranna and a group of senior NZ authors in 2010 and has had a number of successes both locally and internationally. Tutors include Roger Hall, Tessa Duder, Elizabeth Smither, Robert Glancy, and Judith White. 25 graduates have published novels or won prizes in national awards in the last three years.
John said, ‘My vision in establishing the Creative Hub was to take fiction writing out of the universities into the real world, employing professional working authors as tutors. In contrast with the university writing programmes with their massive resources, we are a pretty modest concern – so it is a David and Goliath situation.’
John Cranna established the Masters of Creative Writing at AUT University, where he was voted Best Post-Graduate Teacher by students before he exited to establish the Creative Hub.
‘It’s no coincidence that two out three of our prize-winners are doctors – they see life red in tooth and claw, and write about it with guts and courage. That’s why they are winners.’
You can read Fiona Sussman’s story here: