What we mean by Literature

Literature is a broad, inclusive concept that includes the research, writing and publishing of high-quality work in fiction or non-fiction.

Fiction includes, but isn’t limited to, novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, children’s fiction, young adult fiction, graphic novels, illustrated picture books, and speculative fiction such as fantasy fiction, science fiction, detective fiction, and historical fiction.

Non-fiction includes, but isn’t limited to, autobiography, biography, essays, social commentary, literary criticism, reviews, analytical prose, non-fiction written for children, young adult non-fiction, and writing about the physical and natural sciences.

It includes customary and contemporary practices of all the peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand, including Māori and Pasifika peoples and the diverse cultures of people living in Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Track record requirements

For a writer of literature, success means having had published at least one work that received a degree of critical or sales success. This does not include work published as part of a course of study.

For a publisher of literature, success means having previously published at least one work by a New Zealand author that achieved a degree of critical or sales success. This does not include work published as part of a course of study.

Literature activities we support

We fund a range of activities, for example: 

Developing or presenting work

  • Researching and writing new work
  • Commissions to research and write a new work
  • Original writing in te reo
  • Publishing New Zealand work
  • Writer-in-residence programmes

Developing skills and audiences

  • Mentoring and internship programmes
  • Domestic and international professional development opportunities
  • Initiatives for audience development

Other literature projects  

  • Community arts projects that focus on professional writers working with communities (refer to Community arts)
  • Literary magazines and review journals.
  • Literary festivals, or support for festivals to include New Zealand writers as part of a general programme.
  • Workshops, wānanga, fono, masterclasses, literary seminars and conferences featuring established New Zealand writers, editors, publishers and so on.
  • Documentary projects that focus on New Zealand literature or a New Zealand writer.

Other support for Literature

The Publishers Association of New Zealand manages international market development initiatives for New Zealand literature on behalf of Creative New Zealand. This includes funding for the translation of New Zealand titles into foreign languages and an international promotional fund to support New Zealand authors to attend literary festivals or engage in other international promotional events or activity.

The Publishers Association of New Zealand also manages publishers’ attendance at major international books fairs.

Activities we don't support

Creative New Zealand sees literature as a broad concept that includes high-quality writing in fiction and non-fiction. However, funding is not available for research, writing and publishing that:

  • is funded by other government agencies, e.g. film, radio and television scripts; and writing and research projects supported by the History Research Trust
  • is part of an education course, e.g. textbooks and other works created for primary, secondary or tertiary educational purposes; academic theses or coursework undertaken as part of any tertiary education programme, including coursework in creative writing
  • we don’t consider to be literature, e.g. instruction manuals, guide books, phrase books, do-it-yourself and how-to books, travel guides, gardening books, recipe books, bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, professional reference works, newsletters, hymn books and publisher catalogues.