History of the MKWC Young Writers Programme

The MKWC Young Writers Programme was instituted in 2008 by the late Dame Christine Cole Catley and Ros Ali. Dame Chris was a writer, publisher, a keen advocate of young people’s writing and a founding trustee of the Michael King Writers Centre.

The programme was initially set up to serve talented North Shore (Auckland) teenagers who loved to write, and to hear about the writing life. There was a strong local focus and four weekend workshops were held during the summer months in the Michael King Writers Centre, and later in the Devonport library. Due to the popularity of the Programme, it was expanded to encompass the wider Auckland region.

In 2010 Jo Emeney joined Ros Ali to run the programme. Both are experienced English teachers and tutors of creative writing.  In 2018 they were joined by Carrie Rudzinski, a poet, published author, and teaching artist who coordinated workshops in the Waikato.  Throughout the year, the YWP offered opportunities for talented young writers (senior high school age) to be involved in writing workshops with novelists, journalists, lyricists, bloggers, short story writers, poets, editors and comic book artists. Meeting like-minded peers was another vital aspect of the programme in addition to becoming part of a growing alumni.  The workshops entailed a collaborative day with tutors and guest writers for groups of up to 25 students.

Since the end of 2012, the Young Writers Programme has published Signals, a literary journal that showcases a selection of work students have produced during the year. These pieces may be poetry, prose, comic-art or journalistic writing.

When the pandemic began in 2020, we were no longer able to run the programme in the original format (and therefore produce Signals in 2020-21). Instead we have developed and run the Signals Awards and have published Signals again at the end of 2022.

If you would like to be added to our database to receive information about upcoming opportunities for young writers please submit your contact details below.