Meet Harry, Award-Winning Playwright and Daily News Writer

Our lesson materials are produced by a team of professional writers, journalists, and educators. But did you know we also have an award-winning playwright

Meet Harry Meech!

While he doesn’t write plays for us, he has written parts of our Conversation lessons as well as hundreds of Daily News lessons. More recently, he has become the editor of our blog, so it's the perfect time to introduce him here.

Tell us about yourself!

I'm a writer and theatre practitioner from Wellington, New Zealand. I have a BA in English Literature and Theatre and a MA in creative writing. 

Outside of writing for the Content Team, I work in a variety of roles for the local theatre industry, including as a production manager, lighting designer, and playwright. I've written and produced three original full-length plays and worked on many other productions.

Outside of work and creative pursuits, my partner and I are slowly fixing up our house, where we live with our son and two dogs.

Harry and his dog, Falcon

What got you interested in theatre and English literature? 

I've always been a lover of stories and the English language. I got interested in theatre during my year as an exchange student at a high school in Kansas in the US. 

The school had an extensive theatre program, and I fell in love with all aspects of the craft. The school gave me an opportunity to try everything – acting, directing, playwriting, set design and building, improvisation. Without that experience, I don't think I would have chosen to study theatre when I returned to New Zealand.

Could you share any plays you've worked on with us?

Absolutely. Here's a trailer for a production of Hamlet which I helped put together.

Very neat! And what got you interested in English language education?

I’m passionate about the English language and writing, and English education offered me a great opportunity to work in those areas. I was also looking for work that would let me use and develop my writing skills, but still had the flexibility to allow me time to continue being creative. So Engoo’s Content Team was the perfect fit.

What’s your role on the Content Team?

I have many roles in the Content Team at the moment. In the past, my main job was to write, edit, and fact-check Daily News articles. But recently, I have taken on a management role overseeing a lot of our blog content.

I also edit and help create other content for different teams within the company – from social media and blog posts to advertising and communications with our students and tutors.

Can you tell us a bit about the process of making a Daily News article?

It's quite a complicated process that would take too long for me to fully explain here. But it's a team effort. 

For example, for a Daily News article, one person researches and writes the article, then another person fact-checks and edits it. Then other people create the vocabulary section and discussion questions, and others do final checks to make sure no mistakes have slipped through. 

For lower-level articles, there are also translators who add translations after that whole process. So it takes a lot of work, and a whole team of people, just to make one article.

Wow, there’s so much work that goes on in the background just to produce one article!

Exactly. Our whole team works extremely hard to make sure that we're not just teaching correct English, but that all of the information in our articles is interesting, well-researched, and factually correct. 

Harry at a Content Team meet-up in Seoul

What’s the most memorable article you’ve written for Daily News so far?

My favorite article I've ever written for Daily News is "Man Records History of Humanity in Stone," because I was lucky enough to be able to interview the subject of the article, Jacques-Andre Istel, over the phone and email. 

He is an extremely interesting man who has led a fantastic life. He was 90 years old when I interviewed him. Even at that age, he was one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever spoken to. 

I felt very grateful to be able to speak with him about his life, and I think the article is one of the best I have written – partly because I enjoyed writing it so much.

What are some things you keep in mind when writing Daily News articles?

I always try to remember that our lessons are meant to be read aloud. That's important because sometimes things that read well when read silently don't sound as good when read aloud or are difficult for English learners to pronounce. The last thing we want to do is accidentally create a tongue-twister! 

I would say the hardest part of writing Daily News is writing low-level articles. It's very challenging to accurately tell an entire news story using very simple language and a limited word count. It actually takes me much longer to write a low-level Daily News article than a high-level Daily News article.

Do you feel your experiences as a creative writer contribute to your Daily News articles?

Having a background in creative writing has helped me make sure that the Daily News articles I write are fun to read and tell a story. I'm always very careful not to introduce bias into my articles, but I still want them to be compelling, intriguing, and insightful, and I think my creative writing skills help me achieve that. 

A really big part of getting a creative education is learning how to effectively give and receive feedback, and helping to edit and improve the work of your collaborators, so that has also been very useful when working on the Content Team. So much of what we do is collaborative, and now that I'm doing more editing of articles than writing, I am relying heavily on my constructive criticism skills.

Last but not least, what do you do in your free time?

I have lots of hobbies. When I have a good amount of time to myself, I like to do creative writing – these are usually scripts for plays, but I'm now learning new forms of writing, like screenwriting and comic books. But I need several hours alone to get some good writing done, so I haven't had much time for that since my son was born in 2020. 

I also enjoy photography. I have several film cameras, including one I love that I inherited from my Granddad, but I only shoot film on special occasions, because it's too expensive now. I also recently bought a new Fujifilm mirrorless camera, so that is my new favorite camera to use.

I occasionally play video games, but I don't have much time for that since my son was born. When I do play games, I try to only do it with friends, so that I'm at least being social while I do it.

👋 That’s it for now!

We hope you enjoyed going behind the scenes and getting to know one of the people who make Engoo possible. If you haven't already, check out our Daily News lessons and discuss them with your Engoo tutor!