Navigation for The Reading


Some writing from the 2016 graduates of the International Institute of Modern Letters, VUW Wellington

Foreword by Emily Perkins

For some years now Ken Duncum, the convenor of the MA in Script Writing at Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) has sent his students to RNZ Drama for a workshop on writing scripts purely based in sound.

Ken says: “It’s a great discipline for the writers to have to think outside the visual, and as with all constraints this often proves to be a real stimulus to their imaginations.”

Radio is a magic place for a creative writer, where anything can happen on the most modest of budgets. Send a tiger to the moon? Why think so small? Alpha Centauri, the glory days of the Ottoman Empire, the inside of someone’s head – it’s all there on radio, just waiting to be voiced, and waiting to be heard.

The Page Numbers 2016 initiative has expanded on that relationship, and been brought about by the students, really – that is, by the sound of their words. Listening in workshop, as we do every week, it struck us that some of the students’ writing could be just right for radio, that they had the necessary sense of rhythm, timing, character, the snap of language, the pull on a line.

Creative writing is an aural activity. We work with our mind’s ear. We listen as we write, whether what we’re putting on the page is a line of a lyric poem, or dialogue, or an image that we want to lodge inside the reader’s head and heart. Often, we read our work back to ourselves aloud, to test it for leaks or dodgy rattles. If it sounds off, you know instantly – and if it lands right, you’re on your way. The ear doesn’t lie.

We have been delighted to work with RNZ to put together this selection from the MA class of 2016. We hope you enjoy what you hear.

          - Emily Perkins co-convenes the MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters.



Page Numbers 2016  is a co-production between RNZ Drama and the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University Wellington.

The series was produced and directed for RNZ by Adam Macaulay

See You at the Airport and Plain Crazy were directed by Duncan Smith

The series was engineered by Phil Benge, Marc Chesterman and Adam Macaulay

Special thanks to Emily Perkins and Ken Duncum from IIML.