Young Writers


Young NZ Writers is excited to invite you to join us at GeyserCon!

The Young NZ Writers’ Day Out (on Friday 31st May 2019) will have a full day of writing workshops aimed at intermediate and secondary school students. 
To warm up to the day we invite young NZ writers to enter into our 2019 annual writing competitions for intermediate and secondary students (opens 1st of February and closes midnight on 15th March – check our website out for more details). Finalists will be awarded prizes at the book launch at the end of the day.

For the first time there will even be a special writing event for our youngest writers in years 5 and 6 (only open to local Rotorua Primary schools) and PD opportunities for teachers who attend.

Please contact or visit for more details.
We hope to see you there.

Meet our International Author Guests

GeyserCon 2019 Guest of Honour: Kaaron Warren (AUSTRALIA)
published her first short story in 1993 and has had stories in print every year since. Her stories have appeared in Australia, the US, China, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, and have been selected for both Ellen Datlow’s and Paula Guran’s Best of the Year Anthologies.
Kaaron has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She has published five novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole, and Tide of Stone) and six short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her next short story collection is A Primer to Kaaron Warren from Dark Moon Books.Her novella “Sky” from that collection won the Shirley Jackson Award and was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. It went on to win all three of the Australian genre awards, while The Grief Hole did the same thing in 2017. She has stories upcoming in Ellen Datlow’s “Mad Hatter’s and March Hares”, “Looming Low” from Dim Shores, Nate Pederson’s “Sisterhood”, Cemetery Dance’s Dark Screams series, and “Bitter”, a novella, from Cemetery Dance.

You can find her at

GeyserCon 2019 Guest of Honour: Laura VanArendonk Baugh (USA)

writes speculative fiction in both short and long formats for both traditional and indie publishing, as well as non-fiction. She is a professional speaker and instructor. Her most recent novel THE SONGWEAVER'S VOW was a semi-finalist for SPFBO's Best of 2017 and won the Realm Award for Fantasy. Visit her website for more details:

Alan Baxter writes supernatural thrillers, dark fantasy, and urban horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dogs. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. Read extracts from his novels, novellas, and find free short stories at his website – – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook.
Meet our NZ Author Guests

Jean Gilbert
Four-time award-winning author Jean Gilbert moved from Virginia, U.S. to New Zealand in 2005, and has since called the Waikato Valley (the Shire) her home. Jean’s latest work, co-authored with William Dresden, is a modern YA fantasy called Light In My Dark, a tale of love, betrayal, and self-discovery. Jean’s science fiction novels: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault from The Vault Agency Series are published by Rogue House Publishing. You can find her short story Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror published by Paper Road Press, and SJV short story finalist Pride in Contact Light Anthology. Jean works in close association with Alessi Films, writing screenplays for promotional advertising and television. Jean is also involved in mentoring young writers through nationwide writing competitions in coordination with Young NZ Writers called Write Off Line for Secondary students and Beyond… for Intermediate students.

AC Lindsay (Chad)
A.C. Lindsay (Chad) retired from a career as a scientist to write a book about the environment. However, he took a wrong turn, got side-tracked, and now writes fiction instead. In addition, he edits both fiction and non-fiction, and enjoys assisting others with their writing projects. He promises to return soon to that book about the environment.

Eileen Mueller
Eileen Mueller lives on the side of a hill, with four dragonets and a shape shifter. Awarded two Sir Julius Vogel Awards for Best New Talent and Best Youth Novel (Dragons’ Realm—A You Say Which Way Adventure), she has won various literary contests. Eileen writes for young adults and children, with occasional forays into dark fiction.

AJ Ponder
Multi-award winning writer and editor, A.J. Ponder has a head full of monsters, and recklessly spills them out onto the written page. Beware dragons, dreadbeasts, taniwha, and small children — all are equally dangerous, and capable of treading on your heart — or tearing it, still beating, from your chest.

Darian Smith
Darian Smith writes mainly speculative fiction (fantasy) and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife (who also writes) and their Siamese cat (who doesn't). He holds two Koru Awards, is the winner of the SpecFicNZ/Steam Press manuscript competition, and recently a Sir Julius Vogel Awards. By day, he works with people who have neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy or charcot marie tooth disease. He is also a qualified counsellor/family therapist and can be seen - by those very swift with the pause button - on television shows such as Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus. For more information about Darian and his upcoming work, please check out his website at

Paul Mannering
Paul Mannering has received two Sir Julius Vogel Awards for science fiction and fantasy writing, including Best Novel for Engines of Empathy. Paul has written across genres and for all age groups, with his 10th novel scheduled for release in April 2017. Paul has edited anthologies, seen dozens of short stories published and he has written and produced hundreds of hours of pod-cast audio drama. 
Paul is the current treasurer of SpecFicNZ, the non-profit organisation dedicated to nurturing and supporting New Zealand genre writers of all ages and experience.
Find us online at

Lewis Morgan
A familiar face around New Zealand schools, Lewis Morgan has worked as a professional storyteller for 25 years.  He also writes and publishes his own books and games, runs numeracy and literacy workshops for everyone from preschoolers to youth offenders, and makes movies. As well as this Lewis is also an accomplished airsoft player, this year being a member of the winning team at the 2018 New Zealand Airsoft National Championships.
To see more of what Lewis does, you can visit his website  or catch up with his latest adventures on his facebook page You can get hold of his books through

Meet our Organisers

Piper Mejia
Piper Mejia is an advocate for New Zealand writers and literature. Her short fiction has appeared in a range of publications including; Little Fingers in Breached Vol 2 (2017) and Room enough for Two in Te Korero Ahi Ka (2018). In addition to writing, Piper manages the Beyond This … and Write Off Line annual writing competitions for collections by New Zealand intermediate and secondary students. As a child, Piper stayed up late laughing at horror films. As an adult, she spends a lot of time being disappointed by plot holes and yet somehow she has never lost her love for Science Fiction and Horror; two genres that continues to ask the question “What if …”

Lee Murray
A ten-time winner of New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award, Lee Murray has written numerous titles across multiple genres, but Kiwi stories are her preferred genre. Her novels for young people include middle grade time travel adventure Battle of the Birds, YA mystery Misplaced, and a Kiwi version of the Wizard of Oz. Her bestselling New Zealand military thriller for adults Into the Mist (Severed Press) was longlisted for the International Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel in 2016, and later won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel.
Lee is co-author of Hounds of the Underworld (with Dan Rabarts), the first title in their supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra. Longlisted this year for the International Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel, Hounds of the Underworld won Best Novel at the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Lee is the co-editor of seven additional anthologies, with the horror anthology Hellhole. Visit her at