Starling: Showcasing New Zealand’s Best Young Writers – to be edited by Louise Wallace & Marty Smith

Starling takes flight

Showcasing New Zealand’s Best Young Writers

A new opportunity for young writers has emerged today. Starling ( is an online literary journal that will be published twice yearly, accepting poetry and prose from only New Zealanders under 25 years of age.

The founder and editor is poet, Louise Wallace, author of two collections of poetry and the current Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. The journal will be an opportunity for young writers to showcase their work in a professional environment to a national audience. “There is nothing quite like this out there at the moment in New Zealand – certainly not with the national focus we hope to cultivate,” Wallace says. “It can be difficult for young writers to find publication with our more established print journals when they are competing for space with writers who have twenty or thirty or forty year’s experience. Starling levels the playing field.”

Wallace is keen to convey that the quality of the work will still be there. “Just because a writer is under a certain age, does not mean the quality of the work is any less. The journal has a high standard for acceptance and we are committed to presenting our contributors and their work seriously – in that way the submissions we receive and the writing we publish will be the best of the best.”

Starling is also focused on a community approach. Each issue of the journal will open with new work from an established New Zealand writer and will close with an interview with a person of note from the literary industry. Wallace says there are a few things that are crucial to the journal’s success. “The first is obviously getting young writers to submit. But we also need support from readers. We have a selection of posters available on our website that people can download and put up out in the real world to encourage submissions, and the website also allows supporters to sign up for email updates. Without these people taking that extra step, there will be no community.”

Submissions are now open for Issue 1, with a deadline of 20 October 2015, the issue to be published January 2016.

Wallace is joined by Co-editor, Francis Cooke, and Schools Coordinator, Marty Smith, who like Wallace, are graduates of the International Institute of Modern Letters MA programme. Cooke’s short stories have been published in a number of national journals, and Smith’s first collection of poems, Horse with Hat, won the Jesse Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry at the 2014 NZ Post Book awards, and was a finalist in the poetry category. Smith is also a high school teacher, and will work with Wallace to deliver the journal as a resource for New Zealand teachers in the classroom.

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