November 2019

In this edition: Publishing party hits the right note, students send stylish publishing projects out into the world, Odessa Owens takes on her dream job, happy days on work placement and a Halloween launch for a novella that’s more than just a ghost story. Plus: win a Wellington Chocolate Factory prize! 


Publishing graduates celebrate the year in style

And here they are: students’ publishing projects

Ockhams role perfect for Odessa Owens

Right at home on work placement with The Cuba Press team

Fantasy novella tells new stories for a ghost of urban legend

Interested in a career in publishing? Enrol for 2020!


Publishing graduates celebrate the year in style

Publishing graduates Publishing graduates1 Publishing graduates2 Publishing graduates3

Back in May we were told that the students were responsible for planning the Whitireia Publishing end-of-year party. I was the crazy one who decided to take charge and, after months of venue hunting, too many phone calls, blowing up 70 balloons and a venue change just one week before the event, everything was set and we were ready to go!

The night was everything we could have hoped for and more. Live jazz filled the room, the wine was flowing, the food was disappearing and people were schmoozing. We had the wonderful Chris Tse as our industry guest speaker, who gave an inspiring and thought-provoking speech. The class went wild when Olive Owens was awarded the Tim Mason Prize for Most Promising Editor – a true sign of how deserving she is – and the speeches were all done in 20 minutes, which was a bonus! In all, it was a fantastic evening that went off without a hitch. Check out the photos on our Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated the class of 2019. Your support over the year has meant so much to us.
By Sophie Knowles


And here they are: students’ publishing projects

publishing projects

As the year comes to a close, we’re finally seeing the results of eight months’ hard work. Pictured above are the class of 2019’s projects: Whitireia Publishing and Escalator Press newsletters, Read NZ (formerly the New Zealand Book Council) Lecture ‘Stories from the Wild: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age’; Chosen Boys; Whitireia Journal of Nursing, Health and Social Services; 101 New Zealand Monologues for Youth; From a Shadow Grave; The Swart Brothers: Jack and Stephen; Waiora: Te Ūkaipō – The Homeland and 4th Floor Literary Journal.

The mood in the classroom is both elated and nostalgic as we send our projects out into the world. Thanks to everyone who has guided us to this point with their good sense and good humour: the tutors, the industry speakers, the work placement hosts and, of course, each other.

By Gem MacDuff


Ockhams role perfect for Odessa Owens

Odessa Owens


Whitireia Publishing’s senior tutor Odessa Owens is thrilled to be judging the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and seeing ‘so many beautiful and excellent books’.

Odessa is the convening judge of the Illustrated Non-Fiction category for the 2020 Ockham Awards. To choose the best that Aotearoa has to offer, she will be drawing on her years of experience publishing prize-winning books at Te Papa Press. The cultural significance of each book, as well as its impact on the community, is important. ‘That’s tricky – for example, comparing art books with historical accounts of war.’

There are over 40 books in the category, all by New Zealand authors. Alongside skilful writing and editing, judges are looking for high production values and excellent image quality. ‘We are looking at how well put together the book is and how beautifully it’s made. I think that’s awesome because I’m a bit judgy about how things look.’

Odessa has been reading three to four books each week and is looking forward to the long-list announcement in January. She says the entries range in quality, but some are excellent. ‘I may have already read the winner.’

By Chris Cessford


Right at home on work placement with The Cuba Press team

Steffi Dryden

When I heard that I’d be interning at a publishing company as part of my study, I don’t think I was the only student who wondered if I’d spend the entire time making coffee and doing admin. Instead, I spent the two weeks of my second placement feeling right at home with The Cuba Press team.

I arrived at the office each morning excited to be doing real work. I proofread a novel, designed marketing collateral, created author spreadsheets, proofread a poetry book, edited a novella and typeset a second poetry book, which I was lucky enough to send to print on my final day. They threw me right in the deep end, and I loved every minute of it. My confidence grew with each task I was set, and I started feeling more and more ready to enter te ao pukapuka.

But the highlight of my time at The Cuba Press was when the author of the book I’d been typesetting asked me to include my own name in the acknowledgements to thank me for my work.

I’m very grateful to the team at The Cuba Press for taking me under their wing. I learned so much – from working with authors to editing images in Photoshop and adding to my ever-growing list of InDesign shortcuts. They even made me coffee!

By Steffi Dryden


Fantasy novella tells new stories for a ghost of urban legend

Fantasy novella

Andi C. Buchanan’s novella, From a Shadow Grave, was published on Halloween. It was a collaboration between a team of Whitireia Publishing students (Michaela Tapp, Sophie Knowles, Chris Cessford, Gem MacDuff, Ryn Yee and Holly Morton) and Marie Hodgkinson, who is both the publisher for Paper Road Press and a tutor on the course.

From a Shadow Grave is inspired by the true events surrounding Phyllis Symons’s life and her death at the Mount Victoria Tunnel construction site in Wellington, 1931. The resulting urban legend, in which drivers toot their horns to scare off her ghost that is said to haunt the tunnel, takes on a fantasy twist in the novella. Buchanan writes that ‘All ghost stories start with endings, but you are a woman, not a story’, and their novella explores three alternate ways Phyllis’s story might have gone, weaving together historical fiction, urban fantasy and time travel. The stories centre on hope, love, resilience and two women mysteriously connected across time.

It’s been a unique experience having a course tutor also being the publisher we worked with to produce such a quality book. Paper Road Press provided an opportunity to work with an amazing local author. The ebook is available from all major ebook vendors and paperback copies can be purchased directly from the publisher’s website.

By Ryn Yee


Interested in a career in publishing? Enrol for 2020!

Enrol for 2020

The Whitireia Publishing Programme has had a huge vote of confidence: our programme and staffing have been confirmed after a recent institution-wide review. The funding for the Creative New Zealand Internship Initiative has also been renewed for the next three years. Thanks to all our industry partners for their support!

Find out more about the course on our website.



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