Creative writing students having a conversation.

Create your story , Māu anō te kōrero

Join us in exploring and creating the stories we need to tell.

Ready to start your chapter or want to know more?

At Massey, we believe in the power of creative writing as our point of connection, as our way of understanding who we are, how we sit in the world, and what we might give to this world.

Creative Writing Peri

Get creative, get writing and get published

Your lecturers are award-winning established writers in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, writing for children, script-writing and play-writing, and have published in Aotearoa and overseas.

Our goal is to help and encourage you to become a better writer, whatever path you choose to take.

Hear from the lecturers about studying creative writing at Massey and how we can help you tell your story

Begin your life changing chapter

Our undergraduate courses feature a spectrum of forms and genres, and each comes at writing from a different angle.

At the heart of your undergraduate journey is our writing workshop, where you'll have the opportunity to share your work in safe but rigorous discussions that range from line edits to holistic ways to build on strengths and grow as a writer.

Workshops are flexible and can take the form of in-class discussion, real-time video discussion or forums – depending on the course, the type of study you do and your own preferences.

You'll read excellent work from Aotearoa and beyond with a set of diverse authors and approaches to craft. We take apart poems or stories or essays or scripts for how they work – so that you can use those lessons to shape your own creative work.

Write the next act in your story

Through our Master in Creative Writing (MCW) or PhD, you'll work on a book-length project with the support and supervision of our experienced lecturers.

You'll be closely supervised by one of our established writers and excellent teachers whose primary goal is to help you unlock your potential as a writer.

Our graduates have published books or work in journals with major outlets both here and overseas. They have been short-listed for the poetry and fiction categories of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and have won awards including:

  • New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition
  • Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize
  • Playwright’s Association of NZ 2018 One-Act Play Competition
  • University of Otago’s annual creative writing competition
  • Canterbury Branch NZSA Short Prose competition
  • Playmarket Brown Ink award.

Enhance your professional role

Creative writing students come from many programmes and disciplines, ranging from business to computer science to veterinary science.

Our courses can be taken individually or as part of a major, minor or graduate diploma. They are a great opportunity to expand your creative thinking and develop your writing skills – making you an asset in many professional roles.

Learn from experienced authors and established writers

Our award-winning lecturers publish and supervise across a full range of creative writing forms, including novels, short stories, poetry, plays, film scripts and creative nonfiction.

They have written essays, articles, and books about creative writing and are experts in online workshopping and supervision.

Professor Bryan Walpert

Professor Bryan Walpert


Bryan is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Native Bird; a novel, Late Sonata; a collection of short stories, Ephraim’s Eyes, and two scholarly books, Resistance to Science in Contemporary American Poetry and Poetry and Mindfulness: Interruption to a Journey. He has received writing awards in New Zealand, Australia and the US.

Professor Elspeth Tilley

Professor Elspeth Tilley

PhD, BA(Hons)

Elspeth is a three-time winner of the British Theatre Challenge international playwriting competition and a three-time official playwright for Climate Change Theatre Action. Her award-winning plays have been published and produced globally including off-Broadway and off-West End. Elspeth received the 2018 College of Humanities & Social Sciences award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching.

Dr Gigi Fenster

Dr Gigi Fenster

Lecturer - Creative Writing

Gigi's first novel, The Intentions Book, was a finalist in the New Zealand book awards and was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award and Commonwealth Prize. Her second novel, A Good Winter, won the Michael Gifkins Award and was a finalist in the Ockham Fiction Awards. Her memoir, Feverish, was born out of her creative writing PhD. Gigi is currently working on a children's nonfiction book and novel.

Associate Professor Robert Sullivan

Associate Professor Robert Sullivan

Ngāpuhi and Kāi Tahu
PhD, MA Hons (1st Class), BA, Dip. Libr, Dip. Tchg
Associate Professor - Creative Writing

Robert has won the 2022 Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for his contribution to New Zealand poetry, the Montana New Zealand Book Award for co-editing Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, the Māori Literature Award for co-editing Puna Wai Kōrero: An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English, and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year.

Dr Thom Conroy

Dr Thom Conroy

Senior Lecturer

Thom is currently a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and is also Editor-in-Chief of the literary journal Headland.

Thom has authored The Salted Air and The Naturalist (Penguin Random-House) and is editor of the personal essay collection Home (Massey University Press). He has won the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and has published short fiction in literary journals.

 Whiti Hereaka

Whiti Hereaka

BA, LLB, MA (Merit)
Lecturer - Creative Writing

Whiti Hereaka is a novelist and playwright based in Wellington. She is the author of four novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice, and the award-winning YA novels Bugs, Legacy and her latest novel Kurangaituku. Legacy won the New Zealand Children’s and Young Adult Book Award for YA fiction in 2019 and Kurangaituku won the 2022 Jann Medlicott Acorn Award for fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Platforms available to creative writing students

Headland Journal

Headland is an online journal publishing short fiction and creative non-fiction. The journal gives voice to aspiring writers alongside established authors, from Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad.

Produced in partnership with Massey University's Creative Writing programme, Thom Conroy serves as Editor-in-Chief and various Massey alumni and current students volunteer as editing staff.

Headland Journal

Off the Page

Off the Page is a national writers and reader series that features some of the best national and international voices in contemporary literature, including Tayi Tibble, Tina Makereti, Dame Fiona Kidman, Bill Manhire, Laura Jean McKay, Sarah Laing, Emily Perkins, Anne Kennedy, Elizabeth Knox, and Whiti Hereaka. Each year features a creative writing showcase from creative writing students.

Visiting Artist Residency

In partnership with the Palmerston North City Council and Square Edge Community Arts, Massey has co-hosted three visiting artists in Papaioea Palmerston North since 2005. Each year, the Visiting Artist Programme includes a writer, a multi-media artist, and the director of Summer Shakespeare. Past visiting writers have included Feana Tu’akoi, Owen Marshall, Pip Desmond, Mikaela Nyman, Davis Hill, Lynley Edmeades, James Norcliffe, and Vivienne Plumb.

Visiting writers participate in the Off the Page readers and writers series, meet face-to-face with creative writing students on the Manawatū campus, host community events and workshops, and create digital content for distance students and the general public.

Visiting artist residency in Palmerston North

Join us to explore your voice and create memories

For advice on the best study pathway to pursue your passion, contact us through our get advice form.

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Fees & funding

What your fees at Massey will be and how to pay them, what funding support is available, and how to be money smart.

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