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Master of Creative Writing

Recent Books

Featured here are recent books by alums of the Master of Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland, many of which were written during the MCW year.

MCW Books

Brave Kāhu and the Pōrangi Magpie

Poto is the perfect fledgling – the apple of her father's eye and a natural at hunting and flying. Anything a kāhu is supposed to be good at, Poto can do best of all. She can't understand why her sister Whetū gets cross with her – it's not her fault…
MCW Books

The Call

Winner of the Allen & Unwin Fiction Prize 2023. After surviving a brutal attack, Auckland cop DS Honey Chalmers has returned to her hometown to care for her mother. The remote coastal settlement of Waitutū holds complicated memories for Honey, not least the tragic suicide of her younger sister, Scarlett.…
Gavin Strawhan
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Amma

Singapore, 1951 When Josephina is a girl, her parents lock her in a room with the father of the boy to whom she's betrothed. What happens next will determine the lives of generations to come. New Zealand, 1984 Josephina and her family leave Sri Lanka for New Zealand. But their…
Saraid de Silva
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Ndima Ndima

From the red soil of her garden in Southgate 1, a crowded suburb of Harare, Nyeredzi watches the world. She knows not to venture beyond the grasses that fence them off from the bush, where the city’s violent criminals and young lovers claim the night. But on this red soil,…
Tsitsi Mapepa
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Before George

When Marnya immigrates to New Zealand from South Africa in 1953 with her mother and sister, her mother cuts off Marnya’s hair and changes her name to George to hide her identity as a girl. Hours later, their Christmas Eve train plummets into the Whangaehu River and George loses not…
Deborah Robertson
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Ngatokimatawhaorua: The Biography of a Legendary Waka Taua

Shortlisted for the 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This is the biography of the mighty ceremonial waka taua Ngātokimatawhaorua that rests on the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi. The inspiration for its construction came from Te Puea Hērangi. In the late 1930s the Waikato leader held a dream to build seven…
Jeff Evans
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts

Winner of the Allen & Unwin Fiction Prize 2022. Mickey Bloom: five foot tall, dyslexic, and bullied at school. Mickey knows she's nothing special. Until one day, she discovers running. Mickey's new-found talent makes her realise she's everything she thought she wasn't – powerful, strong and special. But her success…
Josie Shapiro
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

New Dawning: The Edge of Light

Book one in a startling new trilogy. We meet Merel, a girl living on a futuristic island in the middle of a sea. Many years have past since the community survived the floods and the severe heat that has forced their forbears to shadow their world. They live in twilight…
AM Dixon
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Golden Days

Golden Days is the story of the intense late-teen 1995 friendship between bookish Becky and star-dusted Zoe Golden—music, clubs, art collaboration, spirituality, sex—and what happens when one terrifying night changes their lives and destroys their friendship forever. We meet first-person protagonist Becky again seventeen years later, drunk for days and mourning…
Caroline Barron
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Rough Lives Speak

Rough Lives Speak, the anthology by Street Poets & Artists Collective Enterprise. SPACE is made up of eight poets and an artist--seven poets published in this book. Voices in this book speak straight from the heart of former rough sleepers honed through poetry workshops and now a publication in collaboration…
Daren Kamali
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Barefoot

Shortlisted in the NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards 2021 and the NZ Booklovers Awards 2023. Wellington, 1939. A hot summer’s day at a church picnic. Adelaide watches as a girl is rescued from the river and resolves to meet the unassuming hero of the moment. After a claustrophobic, strict…
RV Bayley
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Na Viro

Appearing before the head of the Academy for fighting at her graduation ceremony, puffer ship navigator Tia Grom-Eddy must either join the crew of a spaceship on a deep space mission or complete a lengthy probationary period on Earth. Mortally afraid of travelling into deep space, Tia chooses probation. Estranged…
Gina Cole
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Ten acceptable acts of arson

There are many messages in this book: Never go drinking using your passport for ID. Make sure to apply lidocaine before ripping out your toenails. Magic might be real, but it never fixes the worst of your problems. Try to fall in love with bastards. You or someone you know…
MCW Books

Isobar Precinct

Shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Awards 2022 (Best First Novel). Lestari Aris is a woman on the edge. Her tattoo studio on Karangahape Road is hammered by burglaries; the hangers-on in her life, from a teenage runaway to a married cop, are bonded to her for reasons she can’t fathom.…
Angelique Kasmara
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Vunimaqo and Me: Mango Tree Collections

This powerful new collection by Daren Kamali centres on a mango tree—Vunimaqo— that was a focal point of his youth. Vunimaqo stands by the Tubou Street Barracks, in Samabula North, Suva, Fiji. More than just a tree, Vunimaqo is at the intersection of a community’s life, overseeing and sharing the…
Daren Kamali
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Crazy Love

Based on the author's own experiences, this vivid novel explores how - as the Van Morrison song suggests - crazy love can take away the troubles. It can, though, add a whole lot more. 'We save each other, don’t we, when we are in love.' It has been 28 years…
Rosetta Allan
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

Spark Hunter

Winner of the NZSA Best First Book Award 2022 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and the Storylines Notable Book Award 2022. Shortlisted for the Esther Glen Junior Fiction prize. Over a million hectares of wild bush-clad land and one young hunter ... Nissa Marshall knows that something…
Sonya Wilson
May 10, 2024
MCW Books

The Girl in the Mirror

Shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Awards 2021 (Best First Novel). Identical twins only look the same … Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted…
Rose Carlyle
May 9, 2024
MCW Books

Ripiro Beach

Winner of the New Zealand Heritage Literary Award for Best Non-fiction Book 2020. Does DNA write our destinies? Or do the hands that nurture triumph over nature? What is it that determines who we really are? Caroline Barron’s father never found his birth mother. After he dies suddenly on her…
Caroline Barron
May 9, 2024
MCW Books

Fake Baby

Longisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2021. Fake Baby is a tender and funny exploration of the power of words, our perception of resilience and what it means to be real. Nine Days. One City. Three Oddballs. Stephen’s dead father is threatening to destroy the world.…
Amy McDaid
May 9, 2024
MCW Books

Whispering City

Whispering City is set between 1912 and 1917, in northern Greece, Dublin, London, Lemnos and Gallipoli. Three divisive and destructive wars sweep through the territory in rapid succession, but for three young women these uncertain times present an opportunity to escape their fettered pasts and seize the lives they want. When…
Rachel O'Connor
May 9, 2024
MCW Books

The Telling Time

Winner of the international First Pages Prize and shortlisted for the 2020 NZSA Heritage Literary Award. Two young women, a generation apart, travel to opposite sides of the world on fraught journeys of self-discovery. 1958: Gabrijela yearns to escape the confines of bleak post-war Yugoslavia and her tiny fishing community,…
PJ McKay
May 9, 2024
MCW Books

Taking Pagoda Mountain (By Strategy)

A satirical novel set in early 2000s Shanghai and New Zealand. After a failed marriage in Auckland, aspiring artist Mark Webster heads to Shanghai seeking adventure, romance, riches and a chance to indulge his painterly ambitions. His artistry is focused on a pagoda and a local beauty which results in…
Michael Wilson
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

Lost Wonders

The story of the lost wonders of New Zealand's natural history: the extinct species that are now gone forever. Lost Wonders also features some key species that are on the brink - critically endangered - and the efforts that are being made to save them for future generations. Story by Sarah…
Sarah Ell
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

We are tiny beneath the light

We are tiny beneath the light charts the end of a marriage and the tumble of tiny moments that make up a life under stress, including the unexpected discoveries that can still bring joy – watching a child fly a blue kite or weaving words to make sense of sorrow. Heidi’s…
Heidi North
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

The Unreliable People

Is all love doomed under a heartless regime? Antonina is a student at the prestigious Academy of Art in St Petersburg. At times, though, she feels she might be a better fit at the Centre of Nonconformist Art across town. She knows she stands out as different, being neither Russian,…
Rosetta Allan
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

Touching the Universe

Ten years after his father’s disappearance, Gordo Jenkins is on the brink of turning his life around. He’s about to finish college and pursue his filmmaking dream, and he’s fallen in love with Eleanor after a chance encounter in a New York City clinic. But then he’s confronted with news…
Tom Romeo
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

Attraction

Longisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2020. The present reckons with the past in Attraction, Ruby Porter’s atmospheric debut novel. Three women are on a road trip, navigating the motorways of the North Island, their relationships with one another and New Zealand’s colonial history. Our…
Ruby Porter
May 8, 2024
MCW Books

Black Ice Matter

Winner of the Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction 2017. These unpredictable short stories explore themes of heat and cold, ice and glaciers in the heat of the South Pacific, and take us into unusual lives and situations. A woman is caught between traditional ways and the regime…
Gina Cole
May 7, 2024