Paint n’ Pen

Celebrate Christchurch’s rich street art scene by penning a poem, a song or a short story inspired by it. Open to all ages, to professional or budding writers, and from residents to visitors. Submit your work individually or collectively, in English or in your own language.

Submissions are now 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, 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.

Paint n’ Pen Summer Exhibition
12 DEC 2019 – 8 MAR 2020 at Tūranga

Residents and visitors are invited to participate in a summer of street art and storytelling through this exhibition celebrating the street art of Christchurch and the creative writing that has been inspired by it.

You can read short stories, poems and songs written by other Paint n’ Pen participants, have the chance to create your own piece of writing and get published, design your own mural using AR technology, digital maps and more traditional methods plus other pop-up activities throughout the summer. 




  • 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!
  • Sign up for a free Creative Writing Workshop and Street Art Guided Tour to be held at Tūranga and New Brighton Library. Bookings are essential.

2 JUNE 12.30-3.30PM AT Tūranga
7 JULY 12:30-3:30PM AT Tūranga
4 AUGUST 12.30-3.30PM AT Tūranga
1 SEPTEMBER 12.30-3.30PM AT Tūranga
15 SEPTEMBER 12.30-3.30PM AT New Brighton Library
13 OCTOBER 12.30-3.30PM AT Tūranga
20 OCTOBER 12.30-3.30PM AT New Brighton Library

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.
  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