Short Story Writers or Readers?
Every year thousands of New Zealand writers of all ages enter short-story contests at home and overseas, including local competitions like the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition and the National Flash Fiction Competition. We write stories for writers’ workshops and groups, as well as for assessment at school and university. But the quality of many stories entered into contests and written for classes suggests a lack of familiarity with the form. Name recognition of great short story writers is poor. Sales for our own story collections and anthologies are at an all-time low. Are we a nation of writers rather than readers, no longer prepared to undertake an apprentice in reading - or support the form we claim for our own?
Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai) is the author of the story collection Forbidden Cities (2008) and the upcoming story and essay collection False River; the long-form essay On Coming Home (2015); and seven novels, including Rangatira (2011), fiction winner at both the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland and is the founder of the Academy of NZ Literature.