Novelist

Our Master of Creative Writing programme helped Ruby Porter make her award-winning novel a reality.

Key facts

Career: Novelist
Programme: Master of Creative Writing

"I took one course with Paula Morris in 2015 and that was it — I knew I wanted to do my Master of Creative Writing here at the University of Auckland. I hadn't even been aware the degree existed.

"Since I was a child, I'd held a vague fantasy of one day writing a novel. But that was all I saw it as: a fantasy. Yet in 2016, it was exactly what I did.

"Paula recognises the kind of book you're trying to write, and she helps you get there. My class had a diverse array of works-in-progress: from YA to poetry, memoir to post-apocalyptic fiction.

"I loved the workshop format. We'd get instalments from two people's books each week. Reading what my peers were writing was one of my favourite tasks — topped only by coming to class to discuss it. There's something incredible about being in a room with eleven other people who share your passion, and the feedback was invaluable.

Paula recognises the kind of book you're trying to write, and she helps you get there.

Ruby Porter Award-winning novelist

"I also tutored an undergraduate course while I was completing my masters; a role I continue in today. Teaching has become a whole new passion for me.

"In 2018, I was the inaugural winner of the Michael Gifkins Prize, open to all New Zealand writers, published or unpublished. The reward was a publishing deal with Text in Melbourne, and a $10,000 advance.

"My debut novel Attraction was published in 2019, and is now distributed throughout Aotearoa and Australia. I have the University of Auckland and Paula Morris to thank for this. She turned my fantasy of writing a novel into a reality.

"I'm about to embark on my PhD with Creative Practice to write my second novel. There's no other university — or supervisor — I’d consider."