The Monthly interviews young New Zealand poet, Elizabeth Ayrey – Part 1 – Learning the craft

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Liz Ayrey, and I have been writing literally since I could hold a pen. I’ve been making up stories, writing poetry, as long as I can remember. From there I was very lucky to get involved with the School for Young Writers, which is a locally based programme. They really encourage young people to keep writing, and to get your material published in their magazine which makes it feel much more real. It certainly encouraged me to keep going.

Write On – School for Young Writers – Christchurch

You started at a very young age?

I was a big reader when I was very young and my parents were always reading to me. From there I moved on to read books on my own. I think from that experience it’s just become a very natural thing to write my own stories. Eventually I started to write poetry.

Nowadays, even though it’s more about poetry than long fiction for me, it’s still definitely all about storytelling. My writing is not so much about my feelings; it’s much more about the ideas and the messages that I want to convey.

Do you get support at home and at school for your writing?

Yes, absolutely. My family supports me, my friends are really into it, and going to the School for Young Writers has given me a fantastic community. The tutors are established professional writers and I have to thank , Gail Ingram, and James Norcliffe to name just a few people. They’ve offered me so much support and guidance through the years.

Writer and Teacher- – Heather McQuillan

Could you explain how the writing school works?

It takes place on a Saturday morning and it is a bit like heading out to Saturday morning sports, except I go along to a writing workshop and professional tutors give up their time to teach us what they know.

Is that part of your general school activities?

It’s very much an extracurricular activity. It isn’t like a school English class, rather, the tutors are there to teach you the craft of creative writing and share their love for it.

Elizabeth Ayrey

part two of this interview is here

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