Book celebrates 21 years of writing at NorthTec

20 May 2016

Book celebrates 21 years of writing at NorthTec

An anthology of works by NorthTec-trained writers will be launched in June, to celebrate 21 years of its renowned applied writing programme.

Dancing on Air features selected works by 49 former and current NorthTec students, written for both adults and children. Most of the pieces have previously been published, and were chosen to demonstrate the breadth of genres, styles and forms covered in the diplomas.

The book will be launched at a special event at NorthTec’s Geoff Wilson Gallery, at 5pm on Thursday, 2 June, where copies will be available to buy.

NorthTec teaches two Diplomas in Applied Writing at levels 5 and 6, plus a level 7 Diploma in Advanced Applied Writing. All are taught online, and the programme has the honour of being the first New Zealand writing course to be available online to students all over the country.

The long-running programme is co-ordinated by Di (Diana) Menefy, an experienced tutor and award-winning author.
Applied Writing at NorthTec got under way in 1995, taught at the Rāwene campus by author and tutor, Janine McVeagh.
She was later joined by Di Menefy and Lesley Marshall as guest tutors based at the Rāwene campus, and, with the advent of online tutoring, the first web-based programme was launched in 2001.

Tutored by Di Menefy, the online programme began with six students willing to give it a try; it then went full-time, with Janine leaving the classroom to become a full-time online tutor.

It has since grown in both size and reputation, and these days there are more than 50 students from around New Zealand working across the three diplomas at any time, with eight specialist tutors.

The highlights of the last 21 years include competition wins by emerging Māori writers, an Asian writer and several other students, and the publication of work by many former NorthTec students.

Di Menefy said: “When any student gets published we all celebrate – it’s almost as good as having something of your own published. We also enjoy seeing students who may not get published gain confidence from doing the programme, and using this in their lives.”

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