Gina Cole (fiction writer, from Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa, New Zealand) is of Fijian, Scottish, and Welsh descent. She is the author of Black Ice Matter, which won Best First Book of Fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and the winner of the 2014 Auckland Pride Festival’s creative writing competition. Cole’s work has been widely anthologized and she is a past participant in the Auckland Writers Festival, and the Same Same But Different Festival. She is an honorary fellow in writing at the University of Iowa and was 2018 Writer in Residence at the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska. She is currently a Phd candidate in creative writing at Massey University, School of English, researching Indigenous science fiction.
Joanne Drayton is an acclaimed NewZealand author whose output is globally recognised. Her most recent book Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love was the winner of the non-fiction prize at the 2019 Ockham NZ Book Awards. Her other books include biographies of Anne Perry, Frances Hodgkins, Rhona Haszard, Edith Collier and Ngaio Marsh.
Michael Earp is the editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and contributor to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories. He has a teaching degree and a Masters in children’s literature and has worked between bookselling and publishing for over seventeen years as a children’s literature specialist, currently at The Little Bookroom in Melbourne. His writing has appeared in The Victorian Writer and Aurealis.
Kelly Gardiner’s latest series is the time-slip trilogy for kids, The Firewatcher Chronicles. Her previous novel, 1917: Australia’s Great War, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Prize and the Asher Award. Kelly’s other books include the young adult novels Act of Faith and The Sultan’s Eyes, both of which were shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and CBCA Notable Books; the Swashbuckler pirate trilogy; and Goddess, a novel for adults based on the life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman, crossdresser and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny. Kelly worked for many years in queer media and now teaches creative writing at La Trobe University.
Jeremy Hansen is an Auckland-based journalist and editor. He had edited the magazines HOME and Paperboy, co-wrote the book Villa: From Heritage to Contemporary (Godwit, 2009) with Patrick Reynolds and Jeremy Salmond, and edited Modern: New Zealand Houses from 1939-1977 (Godwit 2013).
Mark Henrickson (he/him) is Professor of Social Work at Massey University, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand where he has been since 2003. He worked for many years in HIV-related health and mental health care before coming into the academic sector. He has published on HIV prevention, care delivery, and programme design and evaluation. Mark was the project leader on Lavender Islands: Portrait of the Whole Family (2004), He has published extensively on gender and sexually diverse populations and led the AfricaNZ Health study on Black African new settlers in Aotearoa New Zealand (2012-13). His recent major publications include the edited book Getting to Zero: Global Social Work Responds to HIV (available free to download on the UNAIDS website) released in 2017, and a co-authored book Vulnerability and Marginality in Human Services (with Christa Fouché; Routledge, also in 2017). His current funded research explores the ethics of intimacy and sexuality in residential aged care. Mark is a registered social worker in New Zealand.
Joshua Iosefo is of Samoan and Niuean descent and is born and raised in South Auckland. He has a passion for raising mental health awareness within Pasifika families, storytelling and equity in education. He is currently doing his Masters in Philosophy of Communication Studies at AUT and serves within the mental health and education sector. He is the founder of 'Odd Family' a collective who create and perform stories to encourage Pasifika families to talk openly about mental health.
Nathan Joe is a Chinese-Kiwi playwright who often deals with issues of racial or sexual identity through a postmodern lens. He is a graduate of the New Zealand Broadcasting School (2011) with a Bachelor in Broadcasting Communications (Digital Film and Television Production). He won the Playmarket b425 award two years in a row and has been shortlisted for the ADAM NZ award. He also scooped up two awards during Auckland Fringe (2019). His most recent plays include: I am Rachel Chu and Scenes from a Yellow Peril (to be staged in 2020).
Moe Laga is a Performance Artist from South Auckland. Her practice includes movement and activation and a large number of stage and screen productions, as well as collaborative visual arts work that has been shown in Australia and at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China.
Kyle Mewburn is one of New Zealand's most eclectic and prolific writers. From multi-layered picture books to laugh-out-loud junior fiction series, her titles have been translated into a dozen languages and won numerous awards including Children's Book of the Year. She was Children's Writer-in-Residence at Otago University in 2011 and President of the New Zealand Society of Authors from 2013-2017. Originally from Brisbane, Kyle lives with her wife, Marion, two cats and 24 chickens, in a house with a grass roof near the sleepy village of Millers Flat. When she's not writing she's either searching for hidden eggs or exploring the exciting world she discovered in her closet.
Joni Nelson is a writer, organiser and candle-maker based in Tāmaki Makaurau. A creative all-rounder, she has been a producer, performer, poet, director, and then some. Joni has spent the last four years making space for other people, as co-founder of queer & trans creative arts organisation, Breaking Boundaries which she left behind in March 2019 to focus on her own creative pursuits. Her first play 8 Reasonable Demands was commissioned and performed by Auckland Theatre Company as part of HERE&NOW Festival and shortlisted as part of Playmarket’s b425 Awards 2019.
Sam Orchard’s ongoing web comic Rooster Tails has been running for 11years and is the only comic of its kind in Aotearoa. Written from his life as a queer transgender man, the comic explores themes of mental health, fat embodiment, nerd culture and trans identity. Sam is also the author of Family Portraits, a series of short comic stories of intersectional identities within Aotearoa's rainbow communities. He is currently working on a young adult fiction graphic novel.
A secondary school teacher by training, Charmaine Pountney has worked in many areas of the education system, with students, teachers and parents. As an out lesbian since meeting her longtime partner, Tanya Cumberland in 1985, she has been a strong supporter of Maori sovereignty and of women's issues. Her book, Learning Our Living, is a story of her first hand experiences of education - in homes, kindergartens, schools, teachers colleges, universities, polytechnics and on marae, farms and the internet.
essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Raukawa | takatāpui they/them/theirs) is a poet from Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa. They are part of the local writing group Puku.riri|Liv.id. They are a graduate of the IIML’s 2017 Masters in Creative Writing course. They are a firm believer in collaboration and have produced multiple zines with other artists and writers. Their first collection of poems comes out in July 2019 from VUP titled ransack.
Victor Rodger is a critically acclaimed playwright of Samoan and Scottish descent. His work often deals with issues of sexuality, race and identity, and has been praised for its boldness, candour and freshness. Since his first award-winning play, Sons, was produced in 1995, he has written eight plays, including Black Faggot, My Name is Gary Newman and Club Paradiso. A collection of his work was published by Victoria University Press in 2017, while his personal essay, ‘Voyage Round My Father’, was published in The Best of E-Tangata the same year. Victor has also written extensively for television, as well as children’s stories for Radio New Zealand.
Simie Simpson (Te Ati Awa) is interested in spaces that allow people and books to connect. She believes in the transformative power of books and the importance of seeing yourself reflected in the books you read. Simie has many years of working in the book trade, cutting her teeth as a bookseller at Unity Books, and working as a rep and then NZ sales manager for Walker Books. Currently she is enjoying the role of librarian in the beautiful Kaipara and reviewing books for Magpies, Sapling, and the Paparoa Press. Simie was a judge for the NZ Children Book Awards in 2019 and the NZ Booksellers Industry Awards 2019.
Caitlin Spice is the author of The Silver Path, a collection of short modern dark fantasy tales in the style of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Her short stories have been adapted by the NoSleep Podcast after gaining a following on Reddit. Caitlin is also the co-author of recently-funded transgender fairy tale Raven Wild, which was co-written with Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris and due for release in June 2020.
My name is Samuel Te Kani and I am a Maori and New Zealand European homo hailing from Northland, belonging to iwis Nga Puhi Tainui and Ngati Porou. My interest has generally orbited science fiction and fantasy from a very young age, mostly through compulsive consumption of film and television. Growing up poor meant going to the library was one of the few leisure activities my family could actually afford, out of which came a still deeply entrenched book lust that has only served to pique my initial romances with wildly escapist genres; only now I see them for being succinct laboratories in which the variables of potential futures are drawn, as opposed to mere entertainment.
Melody Thomas is a sometime-presenter and producer for Music 101, and writer for various print and online media. A graduate of the New Zealand Broadcasting School, Melody was once advised to 'channel her creativity into ad writing'. Ever contrary, she decided to find a place where she would never have to write, listen to or think about an ad for the rest of her broadcasting life. Melody is the creator of award-winning sex and sexuality podcast BANG! a frank (but often entertaining) exploration of sex, sexuality and relationships using real stories told by real people.
Julie Watson is in her fifth year of being the programme director for Samesame but different. She is an educator, facilitator and advocate. After two decades of working with the Human Rights Commission, she is now programme lead for Silver Rainbow, a facilitator with Rainbow Tick and does education and consultancy around relationship and LGBTQI issues. Julie is part of the Rainbow Panel Advisory group to Auckland City Council and is also the artistic director for Auckland Playback Theatre.
Jem Yoshioka is an illustrator and comic artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. Deftly weaving words and pictures together, Jem’s comics tell evocative and emotional stories with themes of belonging, place, and heritage. Jem’s current webcomic project is a queer science fiction romance between an android and a human called Circuits and Veins, which has been running for two years and has over 67,000 subscribers. Jem has been published in Electrum - an all-ages mixed race anthology, The School Journal, Three Words - the New Zealand Women’s comics anthology, and Geometry literary journal among others. Her comic Concrete was published by Square Planet Comics and she self-published Sunshine in 2015. She won first place in the Chromacon New Zealand Indie Arts Festival Comic Awards in 2013 and 2015 and was shortlisted in 2017.