Gina COLE (fiction writer, poet; New Zealand) is the author of Black Ice Matter, which won Best First Book of Fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and the winner of the 2014 Auckland Pride Festival’s creative writing competition for the poem “Airport Aubade”; her work is widely anthologized. She was keynote speaker at the 2017 Auckland Writers Festival and the Same Same But Different LGBTQIA+ Writing Festival. A barrister, she specializes in family law. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
Anne KENNEDY (fiction writer, screenwriter, poet; New Zealand) received the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry for The Darling North; in 2014 her novel The Last Days of the National Costume was a finalist for the New Zealand Post Book Award and was longlisted for the IMPAC-Dublin Award. In 2016 she was in residence at the Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. During her career, she has been an advocate for Maori and Pasifika voices. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
Julienne VAN LOON (novelist, essayist; Australia) is a research fellow at non/fictionLab of RMIT University in Melbourne. She won the Australian/Vogel’s Award and in 2005 was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize First Book Award for Road Story. Her work, including the recent novel Harmless, has strong creative and cultural connection to Asia, particularly China.
Courtney Sina MEREDITH (poet, playwright, fiction writer, musician; New Zealand) published her award-winning play Rushing Dolls in 2012; a poetry collection, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick, appeared the same year. A new book of short stories, Tail of the Taniwha, is available in August 2016. Her writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, French and Bahasa Indonesia. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
Johanna AITCHISON (poet; New Zealand) is the author of three books of poetry, including A Long Girl Ago (2007; finalist at the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards) and Miss Dust (2015). Widely anthologized in her home country, Aitchison is also the winner of the 2005 Victoria University Story Inc. Prize for Poetry, and of the 2010 New Zealand Poetry Society International Competition. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
Daren KAMALI (poet, performer; New Zealand) began performing as a musician and street poet, later putting out the albums Immigrant Story and Keep It Real. He is the author of poetry collections Poems and Songs from the Underwater World (2011) and Squid Out of Water (2014), two parts of the trilogy Squidluminaries, forthcoming in 2015. He has facilitated writing workshops and poetry slams, and worked as a music director and youth mentor.
Ali Cobby ECKERMANN (poet; Australia) is the author of six books, including the poetry collections Little Bit Long Time (2009), Kami (2010), Love Dreaming and Other Poems (2011), and Ruby Moonlight (2011), the verse novel His Father’s Eyes (2011) and a poetic memoir, Too Afraid to Cry (2013). Her awards include the Australia Poetry Centre’s 2008 New Poets Award and the 2013 Book of the Year for Ruby Moonlight.
WhitiHEREAKA (playwright, novelist, screenwriter; New Zealand) has written and produced eight plays for stage and radio, as well as the short film Unclaimed Luggage. Her debut novel The Graphologist’s Apprentice was shortlisted for the 2011 First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Asia/Pacific region); her second novel, Bugs, will be published later this year. She is a two-time winner of the Best New Play by a Maori Playwright.
Craig CLIFF(fiction writer, poet; New Zealand) is the author of the short story collection A Man Melting, which won Best First Book in the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His stories, poems, and non-fiction have appeared in print and online in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. He writes a column for The Dominion Post about his double life as a writer and public servant in Wellington, where he works as a policy analyst for the Ministry of Education. The Mannequin Makers (2013) is his first novel.
JeffreyPaparoa HOLMAN (poet, nonfiction writer; New Zealand) has worked as a sheep-shearer, postman, lecturer, psychiatric social worker and bookseller. He is the author of a book of nonfiction, Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau (2010), and seven collections of poetry, including As Big As A Father (2002) and, most recently Shaken Down 6.3. His memoir, The Lost Pilot is forthcoming. His participation is supported through a grant from Creative New Zealand.