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Literary Guests

Catherine Asaro, an American author of both science fiction and fantasy books, novellas and short stories, will be the Guest of Honour. When not writing and making appearances at conventions and signings, Catherine teaches math, physics, and chemistry. She is a member of SIGMA, a think tank of speculative writers that advises the US government as to future trends affecting national security. A former ballerina, Catherine Asaro has performed with ballets and in musicals on both coasts and in Ohio. She founded and served as artistic director and a principal dancer for two dance groups at Harvard. She has atttended several conventions in the US in partnership with musician Donald Wolcott as 'The Diamond Star Project', and they will be appearing together at ConText. For further information, please visit Catherine's official website

Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, broadcaster and poet. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first in The Wall of Night quartet, is newly published in the USA, the UK, Australia and NZ, with recent foreign rights sales into the Netherlands and France. Helen's first novel, Thornspell, was published by Knopf in 2008 to critical praise from Kirkus and Booklist, amongst others, and she won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel: Young Adult in 2009. She blogs on the first of every month on the Supernatural Underground and every day on her own Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site.


Russell Kirkpatrick is a geography PhD graduate of the University of Canterbury and currently lectures at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. During the 1990s he worked on two major atlas projects, as Deputy Editor of the New Zealand Historical Atlas (Readers Choice winner, Montana Book Awards, 1998), and as author of Contemporary Atlas New Zealand (Montana Book Award finalist, 2000). He has been involved in four other published atlas projects, and continues to work on atlases when he can. Russell has written two trilogies - Fire of Heaven and Husk.

Fire of Heaven trilogy

  • Across the Face of the World (2005)
  • In the Earth Abides the Flame (2005)
  • The Right Hand of God (2006)

Husk Trilogy

  • Path of Revenge (2006)
  • Dark Heart (2008)
  • Beyond The Wall Of Time (2009)

Lyn McConchie is an author from New Zealand, who writes in a range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, humour, mystery, and westerns. She became a professional writer in 1991 with sales in that year to USA markets MZB’s Fantasy Magazine and Strange Plasma. Since then she has had a vast number of short stories published in at least six countries, in both print and electronic magazines; 23 books have appeared and others have been sold; and several books are being translated and republished in other languages. Lyn continues to write and her credits include poetry and articles published in several countries, in addition to the books and short stories.

Frank Victoria was born in Canada and spent his childhood in Switzerland. There, he studied plastic arts and decorative arts. He joined Claude Lapointe's atelier, where he took on illustrating for the juvenile press. He also went to do storyboard work in an animation studio. Living in Paris, he did his first short comics for Spirou. He introduced his Scottish character 'Kilt le Picte'. The series was published in albums by Delcourt and Victoria went to live in London. A true traveller, he soon moved to New-Zealand. There, he continued his artistic work, such as painting and sculpting.

Paul Tobin contracted Peter Pan Syndrome early in life and failing to gain entrance to any Art Schools. Paul eventually pursued Ancient History and Medieval English at Victoria University Wellington. After a brief brush with adult life he escaped abroad for three years to pursue his interest in exploring and working as a volunteer archaeologist. Arriving back in NZ he enrolled at Massey University's School of Design, where he spent the next four years specialising in graphic design and illustration and began building his portfolio for Weta. After graduating he rather unexpectedly landed his dream job at Weta Workshop and has been employed principally as a conceptual designer on films such as Andrew Adamson's Chronicles of Narnia, Sir Peter Jackson's King Kong, The Hobbit and James Cameron's Avatar. He has also been involved with Weta's publishing projects, conceiving, art directing and illustrating "The Crafting of Narnia" and helping to design and illustrate The World of Kong, A Natural History of Skull Island. In 2010 Paul created 'White Cloud Worlds', an anthology of sci-fi and fantasy artwork from New Zealand.

Fan Guest of Honour

Lynelle Howell, editor of Phoenixine and an active Wellington fan, will be the Fan Guest of Honour. Lynelle served as chair of ConD'or in 2000, and Icon in 2005. She has also worked extensively for both the Phoenix SF society and SFFANZ, the national science fiction and fantasy association, and has been responsible for administering the Sir Julius Vogel Awards since their inception.

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