South Island Writers

For writers, the Canterbury earthquakes have been a source of inspiration as much as disruption, presenting new challenges and experiences for them to draw from and examine in their stories, poetry, and articles. 

"Things the Earthquakes Taught Me" by John Ewen 

A new collection in UC CEISMIC from members of the South Island Writers’ Association (SIWA) represents a pocket of this activity, with seven stories by local writers Jane Seaford and Shirley Eng (previously broadcast on Radio New Zealand), and a poem by John Ewen. 

From left: Jane Seaford, John Ewen, Shirley Eng

John, Shirley, and Jane are all accomplished writers. Each has had short stories placed, highly commended, or shortlisted in local and international competitions; published in anthologies and magazines; and broadcast on the radio. Jane Seaford is also the assistant fiction editor of the New Zealand literary magazine, Takahe, and in August 2012 she published her first novel, Archie’s Daughter.

"Finding the Way Home" by Jane Seaford 

A wide range of earthquake experiences have been examined in these works, including the loss of loved ones, the ordeal of being trapped in a collapsed building, the strengthening and ending of relationships, the ongoing trauma of living in an earthquake zone, and the frustrations and lessons that came with the quakes. Like all good stories, they focus on the human spirit, what drives us, what moves us, and how we cope under extreme conditions.

"Haruka’s Cranes" by Shirley Eng 

This is just the beginning of our SIWA collection. We hope to gather more stories and poetry from the group, and from other writers in Canterbury. If you have any writing or know anybody who does, please get in touch. We are interested in any works related to the Canterbury earthquakes.



"Things the Earthquakes Taught Me" copyright John Ewen.  "Finding the Way Home" copyright Jane Seaford.  "Haruka's Cranes" copyright Shirley Eng.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.