Paint n’ Pen


Celebrate Christchurch’s rich street art scene
by writing a short story, a poem or a song inspired by it


This is now closed.

Go to Stories inspired by street art to read the submissions. Follow the Artwork Details link at the bottom of each story to learn more about the artist and locate it in Christchurch using Watch This Space map.


Open to all ages, to professional or budding writers and from New Zealand residents to visitors from here and overseas. Submit your work individually or collectively, in English or in your own language.

  • Explore and discover Christchurch’s street art with family and friends or by yourself.  Create your own itinerary using the interactive Watch This Space map, the AR Plain Sight app or book a guided tour and have an expert guide you.
  • Once you find your inspirational mural, note down the exact location and take your ‘selfie’ in front of it (you will need this picture when submitting your work).
  • Now, start writing!

Submissions are open until 28th February 2020 and the deadline is the last day of each month. Once received and reviewed by a multi-lingual panel, we will publish it immediately on our Scan & Read projects, and on our online Stories catalogue and the best ones will have the chance to be featured on the Watch This Space map, the Augmented Reality street art app Plain Sight and in the Summer Exhibition at Tūranga from December 2019 until March 2020.

Images from our Summer Exhibition at Tūranga


We ran 7 Free Creative Writing Workshop and Street Art Guided Tour at Tūranga and New Brighton Library between June and July. Some of the stories and poems submitted are the result of the work done at the workshops with Gail Ingram from WRITE ON – The School for Young Writers and Dr. Reuben Woods from Watch This Space.  We have students of all ages,  from 10 years old to late 70s. Thank you all who participate.

Images from workshops



12/1/2019 Check out the Street Art Design Competition

12/1/2019 Plain Sight Augmented Reality Street Art guided tours

  • 12 PM on Jan 24th
  • 12 PM on Feb 14th

Come on a 30 – 45min tour with Sam Evans Co-Creator of a augmented reality app called Plain Sight that brings street art to life. Explore and experience street art in a unique and interactive way like never before. In the tour we will visit 2 – 3 murals and discuss the creative process around bringing street art to life. At the same time the floor is open to any questions around Augmented Reality and how it works and what the future might look like with this exciting technology. Meeting point: Paint n’ Pen Summer Exhibition at Tūranga Hapori | Community, Level 1


Submission Guidelines
Read before you submit your work

Terms and Conditions

  1. The Paint n’ Pen Creative Writing Programme is open to all ages.
  2. The Paint n’ Pen Creative Writing Programme is open to New Zealand residents and overseas visitors. Christchurch visitors from either NZ or overseas can submit their work upon returning to their home town provided is before the deadline.
  3. Submissions are made at any time through The Commuting Book website between 1st July 2019 and the 28th February 2020 at 5:00 pm.
  4. Only complete submission forms will be considered.
  5. Each participant can submit up to 3 pieces (submitted separately) at any time between July 2019 and February 2020.
  6. Participants can be individuals or a family group.
  7. Works can be written in your own language, as well as English and Te Reo Māori.
  8. The theme and genre of the work is open however, the image (street art) selected must be reflected in it. The image could be a whole wall-size mural or a character in it.
  9. We are looking for short stories, flash fiction pieces, poetry or some lyrics of no more than 2500 words.
  10. Each submission must be accompanied by a photo of you (up to 1MB) with the Street Artwork that inspired your written piece plus the Street Art’s artwork location.
  11. Upload your work on PDF format
  12. There will be no winners. Instead, all submissions will be reviewed by a multilingual panel and they will select submissions that demonstrate skill and fit the criteria.
  13. All selected pieces will be part of our Scan & Read project (Stories On The Go, Bonus Read, Stories On the Spot and some future actions), they will also be published on our online Stories catalogue and the best ones will have the chance to be featured on the Watch This Space map and in the Augmented Reality street art app: Plain Sight. Also, you will have the chance to feature in the summer exhibition at Tūranga that will run from November 2019 to mid-February 2020. This has been updated: Summer Exhibition runs from 12/12/2019 – 3/8/2020
  14. Your work could be featured through The Commuting Book digital marketing channels and our Scan & Read projects during the period of the programme in order to promote Paint n’ Pen.
  15. Participants guarantee that the work they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright for it. Authors also guarantee that the work has never been published, or broadcast, nor submitted to any other programme or competition.
  16. Copyright in each work remains with the author, however, the author grants to The Commuting Book a perpetual and royalty-free licence to use the work in any of its projects, website, social media accounts and/or in any promotional material connected to this programme.
  17. All information about how to enter the programme forms part of the Terms and Conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and by entering the programme, the author agrees to abide by these rules. The panel’s decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

If you have any issues with the submission form please email us to

The Commuting Book Paint n’ Pen Creative Writing Programme is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries, The School For Young Writers, Watch This Space, Evans Taylor Digital and supported by Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Projects Fund and Publica