History of the NZ Young Writers Anthology

The NZ Young Writers’ Anthology is an annual publication by writer & artist, Z.R. Southcombe (Zee), full of stories and poems by children all over New Zealand. Zee is committed to encouraging writers to start where they are with what they know, and contribute their voice to the literary landscape.

In December 2015, the inaugural edition, titled Secrets, was published. The second book, titled Heroes, was released at the NZ Book Festival 2016. The release was celebrated with one of the young authors, Poppy, reading some of her story at the festival. The theme for 2017 is Nature, chosen by Poppy and her brother.

About Z. R. Southcombe

Zee is a children’s author, illustrator & fine artist who approaches all her work with vigour and imagination. Her fiction has been short-listed for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards in the Best Youth Novel category, and she has had work commissioned for the Auckland Arts Festival, Artweek Auckland, Wellington Botanic Gardens, and the Auckland Heritage Festival. Zee had her debut exhibition at Youthline Gallery in 2016.

Zee works to promote other artists, especially young creatives, through collaboration, encouragement, and publishing opportunities such as the NZ Young Writers Anthology, (wo)manpower zines, and Spotlight On New Zealand Arts (SONZA). She shares her knowledge and experience through school visits and other community outreach.

When not making stuff, Zee can be found with a cup of tea and a good book, planning her next creative adventure, or out for a walk in the beautiful forests of Aotearoa.

Panel 1

Title Competition

When I first started this anthology, it seems I came up with the most generic name it is possible to have – so much for creativity!

So, it seems I need your help. Submit your idea for the anthology title below, along with a brief explanation about why you chose that name. Titles in English or te reo Maori will be accepted.

Some vague guidelines/ideas are below:

  • 1-3 words long
  • Reflect youth, children, and/or young voices
  • Reflect a collection of diverse writing
  • Be linked to New Zealand-ness

Fill in the form below – the creator of the chosen title will get a copy of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 anthologies, as well as a bookshop voucher. Each person can submit up to 3 title suggestions, and there are no age restrictions.


Panel 2


Books can be purchased from the publisher’s online shop: zrsouthcombe.felt.co.nz. You can also purchase them through local NZ bookshops, online via Amazon, iBooks, or Kobo, or borrow a copy from your library.

Click on the book cover to go to the product page:

Panel 3


The first two annual children’s anthologies can be purchased here. The deadline for the third annual children’s anthology has been extended and is currently OPEN for submission until the end of Term 3 – Friday 29 September.

I’m also on the lookout for a new title to replace the super-generic-and-unoriginal NZ Young Writers. Got a suggestion? Let me know!

This year’s theme is NATURE, but can be interpreted broadly.

To stay updated, please sign up to Zee’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

If you would like to support this anthology, please consider a monthly donation on Patreon. It can be anything from $1/month upwards, and there are some sweet rewards. Check it out here.

downloads_wordmark_white_on_coral@2xThe NZ Young Writers’ Anthology is proudly sponsored by Book Printing, a fantastic & friendly New Zealand-based printer.

The book is due for publication on Saturday 11th November, at the NZ Book Festival 2017.

The Rules


You must be in a New Zealand school (or homeschooled in New Zealand) up to and including Year 10, in 2017. Note this is Year 10 of the schooling system, not ten years old. There is no minimum age / year level.


The theme this year is NATURE.

Readers tend to like stories that are original, written in your authentic voice, and have characters that we can relate to. See if you can bring out these elements in your stories. What will keep the reader reading? What do you like most about your favourite stories?

You can submit a story, personal essay, report, play, or poem.

Word Count

There is no minimum word count. Maximum wordcount is 2,500 words for short stories or articles, and 300 words for poetry.


There are a few requirements for sending your piece to me. This is to make sure it’s fair to everyone and that collating the winning stories isn’t a nightmare for me!

  • Save in a .doc or .docx or .rtf – any other formats will not be accepted.
  • Don’t put your name anywhere on the document.
  • Size 12 Times New Roman text, including title.


Please email zee@zrsouthcombe.com. In the body of the email, please include:

  1. Your name
  2. Your parent / caregiver contact details (see Official Stuff)
  3. Your school year level

And please attach as a separate document:

  1. Your story in .doc or .docx or .rtf format (see Formatting)

Due Date

Friday 8 July (the last day of Term 2) Friday 29 September

Official Stuff

I do need parental permission, so you’ll need to email me a parent or guardian’s name, and their email. I will email them just to check whether they are okay with you submitting to the anthology, if your work is chosen.

If your story is chosen…

I’ll need your mailing address so I can send you your book!

…and your preferred bookshop for your prize, which is a $20 book voucher.


  • Don’t send me a first draft. Your teacher is right when they tell you how important editing is! (Check out writing tips in the Blog).
  • Read your work out loud. It helps catch mistakes and awkward sentences.
  • Ask some honest friends to read through your work and give you constructive feedback.
  • If they have time (or if you can bribe them with chocolate / coffee / good behaviour) ask a teacher to give you some constructive feedback, too.
  • Use spell check, please! There should be no spelling errors in your work when it is so easy to check. US spelling is okay.
Panel 4 Placeholder