A Poetical Friday

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The Poets Respond to the Quake reading, held by University of Canterbury, celebrated National Poetry Day on Friday. Winners of the My Quake Nightmare competition were given the opportunity to read their poem.

The poems enticed listeners to consider the quake from various aspects, giving us insight into how people were emotionally affected by the quakes, and the ongoing struggles of surviving in Christchurch. There was also an underlying theme of the way people pull together to get through crisis times, especially in the poem Block Party (the author’s name I regretfully forget).

We were delighted to discover our CWG member, Helen Mongillo, was a winner of the competition. Despite the nervousness she showed before the event began, her reading was executed beautifully. The poem itself took us back to the day of the quake. It showed the way people became selfless, and did all they could to help others, despite danger to themselves. It also aptly captured the fear we all now live with: when will the next one be, and how much more can our buildings take?

The event was MCed by Jeffery Paparoa Holman, who also read some thought provoking poems of his own, such as one regarding the death of a language; it was particularly relevant due to Maori Language Week last week and the continued declining numbers of Te Reo Maori speakers.

We were also treated to readings from Helen Lowe and Ben Brown, both of whom read wonderfully. Ben Brown reminded me of Glenn Colquhoun, as they both perform, rather than simply read their work. Definitely a pleasure to listen to. Helen Lowe’s poetry struck me as ethereal. I hope she one day publishes an anthology of her poetry so I can buy a copy, though she did tell me some poems are available on her blog site.

Helen Mongillo has kindly given us permission to post her photo and winning poem here. I hope you enjoy her poem as much as we did.

Helen Mongillo reads her poem at the Poets Respond to the Quake event.

My Life, by Helen Mongillo
Normal day.  Email, photocopy, edit.
Floor rolls.  Filing cabinet drawers move towards me.
Must get out.  Can’t walk.  Falling files.  Crawling.
First aid course memories, “It’s alright!  It’s going to be fine!” I call from hands and knees.
Sobs from under nearby desk.

Evacuation.  Wait!  My cell phone.
Crawl under desk.  Tug, tug at my hand bag, pinned under heavy metal cabinet.
“Kirsty.  Can you help?”  She steps on books and files.  Yanks metal.  Bag free.
Down four flights.  Stairwell waterfalls.  Must be bad.
Kilmore Street crowded. Text kids. Where did these bruises on my arms come from?

Back to work.  Second floor, two story, pre-1970’s building, near city centre.
What if there’s another one now?  This tiny toilet.  Cinderblock wall.
Forgetting.  Caught off guard again.  Hold desk edge; do I go under?
Laughter.  Cursing.  Eventually no comment at all.  The strangest.
Why do I stay here?  It’s my life.

Critique System for Members

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Write. Right, even. Time to organise this feedback system for real.
If you’re in, email christchurchwritersguild@gmail.com with your name, email, and what critiquing experience/ability you have.
If you don’t really know what you’re doing, that’s fine, the best way to learn is to do.
I’ll write up some rules and guidelines in the next 24hrs too.
First thing you do need to know though, is that if you want to have your work critiqued you’re going to have to critique for others. 🙂


😀 Fran

Events and Writing opportunities

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While looking for the Storylines post on the facebook page I noticed a few other up and coming events that I had forgotten, so since I just added categories that you can search by on the side bar I thought I would add the other events I found to this site too.


In the month leading up to National Poetry Day 2012 there will be a competition called My Quake Nightmare
Participants will be invited to submit a poem of between 10 and 20 lines on this theme.
The poem must be delivered or posted to Canterbury University Bookshop,
University Drive, Ilam, Christchurch 8041 before 20th July. No email entries.
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, author of Shaken Down 6.3 will judge
There will be 10 prizes. The first 5 winners receive a $50 UBS book voucher
Next 5 winners receive a copy of Shaken Down 6.3.
Please add you contact details to entry.
All 10 winners will be invited to read their poem at the Canterbury University Bookshop National Poetry Day Event 27th July 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

Poets Respond to the Quake.
Performers Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Helen Lowe, Writer in Residence UC 2012 and Ben Brown
The first 30 people to attend the event will be given a free voucher for coffee or tea at the newly opened adjacent AdLib Café.
In addition, in the week leading up to the event, we will feature poetry inside the shop with book displays and poetry walls inside and out…

Children’s Novel Writing competition (Women only)

2012 Children’s Novel Competition

[Entry fee of £25]

1ST PRIZE: £5,000

The competition is open to children’s novels in any genre by previously unpublished women novelists, but it must be for children who are able to read for themselves or for young adults. Crossover fiction (i.e. that aimed at children and adults) is eligible. Nonfiction, and fiction intended for adults is not eligible. To qualify as a novel, your book must total at least 30,000 words.

Closing date: 10 September 2012

Full Details:  http://www.mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/ncomp_active.php#new

Short Story competition

The NZ Writers’ College 2012 Annul Short Story Award

This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the Short Story genre. The contest is open to any emerging writer residing in New Zealand or Australia, who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format (print or digital).


  • First Prize: $1 000.00 plus entry into one of our short courses
  • Second Prize: $ 500.00
  • People’s Choice Award $ 250.00 

THEME: Full Circle

DEADLINE: 30 September 2012

Full details:  http://www.nzwriterscollege.co.nz/Competitions+and+Writers+Resources/



August Writing Prompt

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A simple challenge this month, as I have randomly decided we will have alternate months of word lists and “other” prompts this month is one of the “other”. A first line prompt!

The line:

“It seemed like such a good idea at the time…”

Aim: about 500 words starting with this line.

As usual use the line however you like and have fun!

Happy writing!

Armageddon 2012

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We are fortunate, thanks to members’ hard work and heaps of donations, to have a Christchurch Writers’ Guild table at the Christchurch Armageddon this weekend.

All members have been given an opportunity to have their self-published books on the table, with an opportunity to sell something and to be a presence at the convention which we hope will bring in some thousands of people.

If you’re local, please come down and see us at Addington Raceway. Below there is a schedule for writer appearances if you’re interested in talking to, or getting an autograph from, a particular author. Other members, such as myself, who haven’t got to selling their work yet will also be around to talk to, or get autographs from 😉

A huge thank you to all of our supporters who have made this possible, and to our awesome authors who are sharing their wonderful words with the world.

😀 Fran

Author Appearances:

Beaulah Pragg   The Silver Hawk   Saturday & Sunday 10-12 & 3-5pm

Gonzalo Navarro   Aotearoa Whispers   Saturday & Sunday 1-4pm

Francis D. Tanner   David Tremain Series   Saturday & Sunday 10-1pm

Angela Oliver   Aroha’s Grand Adventure   Saturday only 11-2pm

Christopher Keene   Sunday only 1-3pm

Au Contraire Anthology Submissions open

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The wonderful people over at Random Static are looking for short story submissions on the topic of Regeneration for next year’s anthology. Due date is December 2012, so gives you a bit of time to think about the topic.

Here’s a bit more info from the page:

Tell us stories of how cities and societies regenerate after disaster; of bodies regenerated by science or magic, and the consequences; or natural – or unnatural – environments thriving once more. We’d also like to see stories that examine the psychological or moral dimensions to regeneration, or any other interpretation of the theme.

I figure that, being from Christchurch, we should have a pretty unique perspective on this theme – and it could be kathartic to write about the regeneration (not just the destruction and loss).

Full link is: http://randomstatic.submittable.com/submit/13305/account

Writing Prompt for July

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Here is the next month’s writing prompt, unlike the previous format this time there are 10 words. You may use as many or as few as you wish, the place I got the idea from taunted me by saying it was impossible to use all 10 but here are this month’s words:

Good Luck!
If you want to do the buddy system of last time then if you get your names to me by 4pm Monday the 18th (ish) I’ll buddy you up.
Otherwise you are welcome to post your stories on here, facebook or link to a website, blog or whatever.
(Any suggestions for next month’s prompts are welcome too)