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Youth Voices: Five writers discuss poetry, story and activism through words

Lucy Kennedy (age 12; Auckland, New Zealand)
Lucy Kennedy is 12 years old and was born in Auckland, New Zealand. She loves cats, cups of tea, chocolate lamingtons, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children (would recommend) and Tim Burton movies. Lucy enjoys writing short stories and is currently working on her first novel.
Denika Mead (age 16; Wellington, New Zealand)
Denika lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She is 16 and has an unrelenting passion for fantasy and dystopian writing. She published her debut novel Royal Orchid, The Death-Hunters, in October 2019 when she was 15. The prequel to Royal Orchid, Into the Flames, was released on April 3rd, 2020. Her third book is in the early editing stages and is due to be released late 2020. Over the past few years, she has won and been a finalist in several youth writing competitions, including being a two-time finalist in the New Zealand Youth Laurate award 2018. Denika was a finalist in the Best New Talent category for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards in 2020. www.denikameadauthor.com
Penelope Duran (age 17; Frankfurt, Germany)
Penny Duran’s educational journey began at Dyer St. Kindy in Lower Hutt, Wellington. As a child in a U.S. diplomatic family, she has also lived in the Philippines, Egypt, Poland and Germany. She is educated in the German school system and has achieved recognition for her poems, short stories and personal memoirs in English and German. In addition to creative writing, Penny’s other passion is physics, and she enjoys ballet and ballroom dancing.
Freddie Gormack-Smith (age 19; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Freddie Gormack-Smith is a poet and flash fiction writer from Christchurch NZ, currently in his first year of an English degree at the University of Canterbury. Before that he was a student with the School for Young Writers in Christchurch from the age of 11, who successfully converted him to flash fiction and he hasn’t looked back since. His work has regularly appeared in the annual Re-draft anthologies and Write-On Magazine, where he had the privilege to be a featured writer in 2019.
Samantha Jory-Smart (age 19; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Samantha Jory-Smart currently studies at the University of Canterbury and is an established poet. Her poetry has received many awards, including first place in both the New Zealand Poetry Society’s Anthology open junior section 2018 and the We Could Be Heroes Poetry Competition 2017. In 2018, Samantha worked with Ōtākaro Ltd. to curate a poetry mural on Armagh Street. The poems were linked through their multi-faceted approaches to the topic of climate change. Last year, she spoke at the Enviro-Past conference about the intersection between art and climate change. She has also worked with the School for Young Writers throughout high school.

Moderator

Lola Elvy
Lola Elvy writes music, poetry, and other forms of creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing, she is passionate about language, mathematics, and the environment, and speaks English, German, and Swedish. After living and travelling for seventeen years on a sailboat, she is now based in Dunedin, studying Music and Physics at the University of Otago. Her poetry has been featured in Fast Fibres, Olentangy Review, and The Larger Geometry: poems for peace (anthology, 2018). Lola edits the journal fingers comma toes.

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