Giving a voice to Auckland's migrant women
Thinking of enrolling? here’s some FAQs we have been asked over the years…
What are the criteria for enrolling?
Simple! You must be 1. A woman (15 years or over) and 2. A migrant. A migrant is anyone who has moved to NZ from another country – it doesn’t matter how long ago or from which country.
I’m under 15, is there anything for me?
Yes! There is a writing workshop series for under 15 year old migrants of both genders, please contact Auckland Council for more details.
I’m a man, can I enrol/observe?
Sorry, these classes are closed to outsiders to that the group can work undisturbed and in cultural safety. All classes are taught by women writers and no outsiders (of either sex) are permitted to observe the classes.
I’m a past participant, can I do it again?
Sorry, no. This workshop covers the same structure and material (but won’t be exactly the same as exercises and tutors differ). There was an extension course run early last year, but there are currently no plans for a repeat of this.
I’m a journalist/academic/interested in ethnic women, can I observe/record/recruit interviewees?
We have had people attending in the past whose primary aim was not to write for themselves. These classes are to build a community of writers. If you are not there to extend your own writing practice, you are not welcome. We would also take very seriously anyone seen to be secretly recording, as the workshops are safe places where confidentiality is important.
If you want to find out what we’ve been doing, you’re in luck! Our book launch is a free public event and this is where you can meet the writers and enjoy their writing. There are also copies of the book, and past anthologies, to buy.
Are these classes to write fiction, or non fiction?
We cover prose, poetry and creative non fiction in the workshops. The writing exercises are often open in theme and form (ie no set form, and you also don’t need to write about ‘being a migrant’.) The last workshop covers performance and editing. Some of the tutors are also experienced in other forms eg graphic novels or scriptwriting, and would be happy to talk about these forms or even challenge everyone with an exercise. As we are small groups we can adapt to fit the needs of the group, and on the first day we talk about what you would like to cover.
I’ve never heard of the tutors – who are they?
There are bios on the website. Or, google us!
Do I have to attend all four classes?
Yes. These workshops are funded at significant cost by the local board and places are popular so if you can’t attend all four classes of the workshop, we ask that you defer enrolment so that someone else can take your place. Also, the classes build on each other with participants encouraged to submit something for publishing at the end – so you’ll get the most out of it if you come to all the classes. We understand that life sometimes gets in the way and you might be late due to unexpected demands – but please make an effort to attend.
Can I attend a mix of Saturday and Sunday classes if I can’t make all Sat or all Sunday?
Yes. Just let Renee (the facilitator) know.
Do I have to submit something for the book?
Not at all – but by the time the course ends you might have discovered your inner writer and want to!
How good does my English have to be?
The classes are taught in English, so your spoken English must be at a good enough level to follow. People have brought a friend to help translate in the past (who has also enrolled). That hasn’t tended to work that well as we move quite fast and your friend must also be there intending to write. We have looked at getting translators previously but that is just not possible with the way these workshops are run. You may write in any language (this is encouraged!)
I’m already a writer, are the classes for me?
Yes – we cater for all levels from beginners to experienced. The classes are small groups, and are a mix of discussions on the craft of writing and writing exercises. If you are experienced, we’d love your knowledge! Also as the tutors are experienced in the writing industry in NZ as well as internationally, they may have useful information about accessing writing resources or getting published.
What happens after the workshop and book launch?
A number of past students have formed writing groups, or enrolled in more formal tertiary studies, or gone on to win competitions, or be published. These workshops are just a way of bringing people together, having some writing time for ourselves, and taking the next step!