International Writers' Workshop NZ International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc

Auckland, New Zealand

Writers' Workshop

The International Writers' Workshop was formed in 1976 by Barbara B Whyte, noted New Zealand Poet and Writer.

We are 'International' in that our multi-cultural national membership is diverse, and ages range from school to retirement. Anyone at all interested in any aspect of writing is welcome.

Aiming to foster and encourage would-be writers, the Workshop caters for those who wish to express themselves confidently and professionally by writing, whether it be a letter to the local newspaper, or placing a manuscript for publication.


The Workshop meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from February to November at 'The Villa', 119 Queen Street, Northcote. This is diagonally opposite the Bridgeway Theatre complex where there is a cafe. Click here for directions.

The Villa opens at 10am for members to mix and mingle, with the workshop running from 10.30am sharp to 12.30pm. Socialising and informal peer groups may continue for a short time afterwards.

The meeting on the first Tuesday of each month is usually a workshop and there may be a guest tutor or one of the club's own members may run the workshop.

The 3rd Tuesday of each month is usually competition day.  The guest judge attends the meeting with the results and feedback of the previous competition. 

2016 sees an exciting program with a number of tutor workshops planned covering creative writing, creative nonfiction and poetry, with many of the workshops building towards our member-only competitions.

Triggers to inspire writing of 100 words are a key feature of most workshops, giving everyone a chance to read their work. The trigger for each meeting is advertised in the newsletter and on the program page of this website.

Check out the monthly programme page to see what is coming up next time.


The annual subscription is $50, discounted by $20 if you receive your newsletter by email. Our subscription period is the calendar year and for new members the subscription may reduce after the last monthly competition of the year is due.
A one-off $10 joining fee applies.

Click here to download a Member Application Form.

Prospective members may attend two meetings before making the commitment to join the Workshop however, due to the popularity of some of our workshops and space constraints at our venue, some meetings may be 'Members Only'. These will be advertised as such on the website.

Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems

Prize Announcement November 2015

Maris O'Rourke from Auckland is the winner of the 2015 Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems with her small but perfectly formed six-poem sequence, Motherings. Judge Rosetta Allan said she was in awe from the get-go of the gentle consistency, and immediacy of the imagery of the poetry that went straight for the heart.

Roseta Allan and Maris O'Rourke
Rosetta Allan, judge, and Maris O’Rourke, winner.

Sue Wootton from Dunedin is this years runner-up with her sequence, Typewriter Songs.

For the first time the Emerging Poet Award, for an entrant who has had no poetry published, was awarded. This went to Gay Johnson for her sequence The Sounds of Bells or Trumpets.

International Writers' Workshop has been privileged to run the Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems since 2009. The prize has been made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust. It was a specific request of the late Jocelyn Grattan that her mother, Kathleen, be recognised through an annual competition in recognition of her love for poetry and that the competition be for a sequence or cycle of poems with no limit on the length of the poems. The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems is sometimes referred to as the 'Little Grattan' as the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust also funds the biennial Kathleen Grattan Award, run by Landfall / Otago University Press.

Previous winners of the Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems are Julie Ryan (2014), Belinda Diepenheim (2013), James Norcliffe (2012), Jillian Sullivan (2011) Janet Charman and Rosetta Allan (joint winners 2010) and Alice Hooton (2009).

Click here for the press release.

Details of the 2016 competition are on our Competitions page.

Barbara Birbeck Whyte

Barbara Whyte was a steady and guiding light to members of International Writers' Workshop (NZ) Inc., which she founded in 1976 and acted as Secretary until her death in 1986. To the world in general, Barbara was a practical, down-to-earth, no-nonsense person, but behind this brisk facade lived a poet - a mystical poet. She had a passion for poetry, which she taught to members of International Writers' Workshop with dedication, tactfully guiding hopeful poets and always available. Because she worked so hard herself, Barbara expected members to do likewise. "Work on it; one must do the best one can," she'd state. She was a fellow of the World Literary Academy of Poets, (Cambridge) and was made a life fellow and Honorary Professor by the Temple of Arts Academy International, (New York).

Though poetry was her greatest love, Barbara was untiring in her efforts to encourage nervous prose authors to send their efforts for publication, and it is mainly due to her that many of our members have had work published both here and overseas.


Beyond the Persimmon Tree , fiction, non-fiction and poetry from members of the International Writers' Workshop, is our latest anthology, published in November 2010. Click here for more information.

Previous publications include
The Word for Food - Recipes and Anecdotes from members of the International Writers’ Workshop and others, published in 2008
Evolving Ideas - an anthology of member's work published in 1997
Seeds on a Summer Wind - an anthology of member's work published in 1991
Silent Symphony - an anthology of poetry published in 1982