North Shore-based writing group celebrates 40 years with historical book release

From left, Leonie Couper and Sue Courtney wrote a book to celebrate the 40th jubilee of an Auckland-based writing group.
Laine Moger/Fairfax NZ

From left, Leonie Couper and Sue Courtney wrote a book to celebrate the 40th jubilee of an Auckland-based writing group.

An Auckland based writing group celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016, and how better to mark the occasion than with an historical book?

Those be Rubies details the 40 year history of the International Writers Workshop NZ Inc, from its beginnings in 1976 to present day. 

Author Leonie Couper spent the best part of 18 months ironing out 40 years of information from old committee meeting minutes, as well as tracking down and interviewing past members.

However, Couper says this seemingly laborious task was actually a lot of fun. 

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"It intrigued me," she says. 

"The minutes read like a gossip columns, with the amount of detail they have in them."

The International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc was formed in 1976 by Barbara B Whyte, a noted New Zealand poet and writer. 

Whyte wanted to form an international writers group based in Auckland, and in its early days the group had members all over the world that communicated through letter and stamp.

Now, as the international membership has dwindled, the "international" refers to the multicultural membership made for Auckland's diverse demographic.

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In 2004, the group moved to the North Shore, a part of the city with which it shares a longstanding history, including a relationship with the North Shore Times newspaper when it was called the North Shore Times Advertiser. 

Current workshops are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 10.30am till 12.30pm and feature guest speakers, workshops and competitions. 

President Sue Courtney says that everyone with a passion for words, writing and storytelling, is welcome.

Visit iww.co.nz.

 - Stuff

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