I’m Glyn Strange, the founding director of the School for Young Writers. After completing a doctorate in English and filling in as a temporary university lecturer, I worked for a while in the personnel field. In 1993, when starting a writing and publishing career, I was asked to establish a school for young writers. It sounded like fun, and still does. I enjoy working with creative young people and helping them reach their goals. My work for the school has slowed my own writing but I’ve published four books so far: The Arts Centre of Christchurch Then and Now, Brief Encounters: Some Uncommon Lawyers, The Little Theatre and No Glory Without Effort/Pas de Gloire Sans Effort.
I’m Jason Clements (aka Doc Drumheller), and I was born in Charleston, South Carolina. I have lived in New Zealand for more than half my life. I have worked in award winning groups for theatre and music and have published seven collections of poetry: Blueprint for Resurrection or Destruction, Fears & Fetishes, Reality Myths, Super-Ordinary, The Great Distraction, Snake Songs and Strange Totems. In 2007, I participated in the 12th Havana International Poetry Festival, where I was asked to represent New Zealand on the International Board of Poets in Defence of Humanity. I live in Lyttelton and apart from my tutoring for CSYW, I practise puppetry, music, poetry and edit and publish the literary journal Catalyst.
Elizabeth O’Connor is a freelance Christchurch writer and director with special interest in the development of new New Zealand plays and films. She is the Court Theatre’s literary manager and works for Operate Trust (locally) and Playmarket (nation-wide), assisting playwrights and devisers with new works. Elizabeth writes and directs radio and stage plays with the Skillwise mixed ability drama group, is artistic director of the Crashbash scriptwriting competition, and revels in working with young writers and their ever-surprising imaginations and empathy. She plays music, writes stories and poetry and does arts journalism, academic editing and voice coaching on the side.
I’m Rachel Douglass, a former student of the Christchurch School for Young Writers, published in both Write On and Re-Draft, and enjoyed my time at CSYW immensely. I liked the fact that it gave me a definite time to devote to creative writing, and provided super tutors who helped develop my style and knowledge (which also helped with school English exams!). I have been studying English at the University of Canterbury. I have found tutoring for CSYW an enriching experience and this has helped me decide to train formally as a teacher once I complete my Hons. degree. I am a bookworm of the most voracious sort, and when I find time to write, my chosen style is poetry.
I’m Matt Powell, and I was one of the very earliest students at the Christchurch School for Young Writers. Although I put my creative writing on hold for a while to focus on a Computer Science degree, I never lost my love for a finely-tuned phrase, and have since returned to writing through theatre: I’ve written several plays for children (including a retelling of Shakespeare’s Tempest, called The Magic Island), and some shorter work for adults. I’m currently working as a software developer by day, and writing and performing theatre by night, especially with the Court Jesters. It’s been great coming back to the School, and I reckon I’m learning at least as much from the kids I tutor as they learn from me.
Chris White (Acting Chairman / Treasurer)
I have been a committee member at the School for Young Writers for the last two years. My two daughters have been involved with the school for five years. I have watched them develop skills and ideas and grow in confidence with creative writing. This enthusiasm and skill has been reflected both at home and at school. By being on the committee I can support Glyn and the tutors with their commitment to providing this fantastic opportunity to all aspiring young writers.
Dick Hlavac (Secretary)
I’m Dick Hlavac, an American who settled in New Zealand with my family in 1964. I was the Canterbury University Librarian from 1971 until my retirement in 1999. I was introduced to the School for Young Writers through participation by my two grand-daughters and I see the School as providing a wonderful opportunity for young people to develop their writing skills through helpful instruction and practical experience.
I’m Lauren Steel, a member of the School’s committee. My daughter has been attending the Junior class for the past two years. I am constantly impressed with the imagination and level of maturity shown in the writing by the School’s students. Being part of an organisation that fosters and encourages a love for language is something that we, as parents, should feel proud to encourage and support.