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Animals and Us: A Call for Expressions of Interest

photo: Bernard Spragg

Kia ora koutou,

We’re excited to announce a forthcoming anthology of essays about animals, to be edited by historian and filmmaker Arini Loader and essayist and poet Ashleigh Young. We’re asking writers from Aotearoa who are interested to come forward with their ideas.

Animals are a source of comfort, aid, warmth, transportation, food, beauty, wonder. They can also be discomfiting, frightening, difficult to fathom.

This anthology of new essays will explore our ever-evolving relationships with non-human animals. As we enter the Anthropocene – a proposed geological epoch in which human activity drives change on Earth and causes the majority of extinctions – animals continue to have an emotional presence in our homes, across our industries, and in our language and media. Yet the lives of animals are still richer and more complex than we can ever fully know, even as we begin to develop new understandings of their consciousness. In these essays, writers from Aotearoa will offer ways of seeing and thinking about our lives together.

Style and content is at the writer’s discretion. Essays might be personal in tone, journalistic, investigative, lyric. They might explore our relationships with animals from a variety of perspectives: philosophical, historical, personal, political, economic, scientific, artistic. We also welcome pieces that engage with myth, pūrākau and other forms of storytelling that might not fit squarely under the nonfiction umbrella.

If you would like to put your work forward for consideration, please send an expression of interest by 1 November 2021 to Your expression of interest should briefly outline your proposed piece of writing, and be 300 words at maximum.

Submissions due: 17 January 2022

Length: Up to 6000 words

Payment for accepted pieces: NZ$400

If you have questions ahead of sending an expression of interest, you're welcome to email us at

Dr Arini Loader (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Whānau-a-Apanui) is a lecturer in Māori history and a filmmaker. She recently cowrote, produced, directed & performed in the short film E Whiti E Te Raa: Shine (2019). Her area of speciality is nineteenth-century materials written in Māori and she was the recipient of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Te Kōpūnui Māori Research Award in 2018.

Ashleigh Young is an editor at VUP. She is the author of Magnificent Moon, Can You Tolerate This?, and How I Get Ready, and some of her recent work appears in North & South, the Spinoff and the Guardian.

Kuri, Canis lupus familiaris, collected 1876, between 'Waikava' & Mataura plains, Catlins, New Zealand.
Gift of Mr Anderson, 1876. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (LM000828)