With a nickname like “Slang”, how could I not became a writer?
When I was five, my story about a floppy disc won a prize in a Wanganui writing competition. I progressed to writing fairy tales, then short stories. One day I saw my teacher preparing to throw out boxloads of magazines, and asked if I could take them home. I read each one cover to cover, and from that day on I wanted to write for magazines.
But first I wanted to read a lot. I did a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University, majoring in English Literature, then a Bachelor of Communication Studies majoring in journalism at Auckland University of Technology (in retrospect, two degrees was overkill). After my first job writing for The Rotorua Daily Post and sole reporter at the Turangi Chronicle (a lot happened there – honest!), I landed a job as editorial assistant at North & South magazine. I was promoted to staff writer, and won two Qantas Media Awards.
Since 2007, I’ve freelanced for stand-alone and newspaper-insert magazines including North & South, NEXT, Capital, NZ House & Garden, The Herald on Sunday, Fairfax magazine Your Weekend, Weekend Herald magazine Canvas, Sunday and the Reader’s Digest, the NZ Herald magazines Travel and Viva, the NZ Listener, the Australian Women’s Weekly NZ, Good, AA Directions, NZ Women’s Health, Alive, Unlimited, The Independent (NZ), Mindfood, Australian magazine HealthSmart, and international magazine Monocle.
Over six years, I wrote dozens of stories – as well as film reviews and TV previews – for the Herald on Sunday and its magazines View and Living. Five years ago I moved from Auckland to Wellington, where I’m the books’ and culture writer for Capital magazine (see previous issues at capitalmag.co.nz for these and other stories).
As much a reader as a writer, I review international books (largely fiction) for North & South, and run the Wellington Classic Literature Meetup group to work my way through the classics. Books and people are my thing. Nosy by nature, I’ve interviewed everyone from actress Helen Mirren through to a cheesemaker and a crime-scene investigator.
For five years, I tutored online courses Magazine Journalism, Basics of Feature Writing and Advanced Magazine Journalism for the New Zealand Writers’ College.
My awards and nominations are as follows:
2013 Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards: runner-up for the Heritage Hotels
Award for The Best Travel Story about New Zealand
The Magazine Awards 2011: Journalist of the Year (Lifestyle) finalist
The Magazine Awards 2011: Journalist of the Year (Home, Food & Garden)
The Magazine Awards 2010: Journalist of the Year (Women’s Interest) finalist
2008 Qantas Media Awards: Science and Technology winner
2008 Qantas Media Awards: Junior Magazine Feature Writer finalist
2008 Statistics New Zealand Journalism Award (for a co-written story)
2007 Qantas Media Awards: Human Relations winner
2007 Media Peace Awards finalist
Photo by Nicola Edmonds