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Berlin Writer's Residency

The prestigious Berlin Writer's Residency is offered biennially for an established New Zealand writer to work on an approved project in Berlin, Germany for up to eleven months.


Closing dates:

Find out who got funded recently


6 Mar 2015

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Literature .

1. Check your eligibility

Benefits and track record

To be eligible for Creative New Zealand funding:

  • Your project or activities must directly benefit New Zealand arts, artists or practitioners.
  • You must have a track record of experience and success — this means you must have:
    • recognition from peers or experts
    • achieved a degree of critical or sales success
    • specialised training or practical experience.

Eligibility for the residency

You must:

  • be an established New Zealand writer
  • have been resident in New Zealand for at least three years prior to making the application
  • be able to undertake the residency in Berlin between 1 November 2015 and 30 September 2016
  • expect to to complete, or substantially complete, a body of writing during the residency
  • demonstrate a willingness to engage with overseas contacts and the media (previous involvement in literary festivals, tours, seminars or panels is an advantage).


The residency is open to writers working in the following genres:

  • autobiography / memoir
  • biography
  • children’s fiction
  • creative non-fiction
  • essays
  • fiction
  • graphic novels with a strong literary element
  • histories
  • literary criticism
  • poetry

Who can apply

To apply for Creative New Zealand funding, you:

  • must be a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or organisation (overseas arts organisations or overseas-based New Zealand artists may be funded only if the project directly benefits New Zealand arts)
  • cannot be a Creative New Zealand staff member or a member of the Arts Council.

Late reports and breaches of agreements

We cannot fund you if you, your organisation, or key members of your team:

  • are more than 16 weeks overdue with a report for a previous grant or investment
  • are in breach of the conditions of a current funding agreement
  • were in 'default' of a funding agreement and sent in a late report in the six months prior to the closing date for a new application.

2. See what's funded


The primary aim of the residency is for a writer to work on an approved project in a new environment, and to complete, or substantially complete, a body of writing during the residency.

Other expected benefits include:

  • developing the potential of the writer through exposure to new cultures and new ideas
  • an increased awareness in Berlin of New Zealand literature.

Period covered

The current residency is offered for 11 months from November 2015 to September 2016. The apartment provided must be vacated by 30 September 2016.

Costs covered

The residency provides:

  • a stipend of $40,000 to cover travel to Berlin, insurance and living costs
  • a one-bedroom 60sqm apartment in the lively Friedrichshain district in former East Berlin (suitable for the writer and partner but not additional family members).

The writer must have health insurance. The cost of this and any other expenses must be met by the writer. 

Previous recipients

Previous recipients are listed on the who got funded web page.

3. Make an application

Downloads (application forms and criteria)

Register or Log in

How to apply

  1. Read the Call for Applications.
  2. Write a cover letter, proposal and gather support material.
  3. Print or photocopy five copies of your application.
  4. Include copies only of support material, as we are unable to return it.
  5. Use bull-dog clips, but do not staple or bind your application. 
  6. Submit the five hard copies of your complete application package to arrive at our Auckland office by 5pm on the closing date.

No exceptions are made.

What to include


  • a covering letter
  • your proposal and support material.

Covering letter

In your covering letter:

  • include contact details, postal address, telephone and email address
  • clearly state that you are applying for the Berlin Writer's Residency. 


In your proposal:

  • describe the project on which you will be working with comment on what influences or impacts you expect living in Berlin will bring to the project
  • describe how you will carry out the project and any special requirements for the project such as additional travel and research in Berlin, Germany or Europe
  • clearly articulate your reasons for wishing to be resident in Berlin, including details of any international interest in your work or European contacts that you are interested in developing during the term of the residency
  • provide a full literary CV detailing any awards, residencies and fellowships
  • details on how your project will deliver to our long-term goal (outcome) that high-quality New Zealand art is developed, both through your new writing and your professional development as a writer 
  • outline any future plans for the completed project, which may include a commitment or expression of interest in the proposed work from your publisher
  • include up to two letters of support — these may be from your publisher or respected members of the literary industry and should refer to the project you are proposing in your application
  • include up to 10 pages of the proposed work in progress.

Submitting your application

How, when and where

All applications, including those sent from overseas must arrive:

  • together with all supporting material.
  • by 5.00pm on the closing date
  • by post, by courier, or by hand

Auckland office addresses


Berlin Writer's Residency
Creative New Zealand 
PO Box 1425 
Auckland 1140

Courier or hand-delivery

Berlin Writer's Residency
Creative New Zealand 
Level 1 Southern Cross Building 
57-61 High Street 

Keep any courier receipts with track and trace information until you have received our acknowledgement.


Within one week after the closing date, if not before, we will send you an email confirming we have received your application. If not, contact us on info@creativenz.govt.nz or (04) 473 0880 or (09) 373 3066.

How to make a strong application

To make a strong application:

  • if there is an application guide, read it carefully
  • use our glossary to check the meaning of the terms we use.

Content to include

  • Clearly explain your project idea and what will be achieved.
  • Describe how your project will achieve the Creative New Zealand strategic outcome you selected
  • Describe what a successful project will look like (how you will evaluate its success).
  • Demonstrate how you'll compete the project in the timeframe. A timeline or production schedule may be useful.
  • Identify the key people and their experience.
  • Provide detailed financial information that is accurate and relevant.
  • Provide detailed itineraries if applicable: when, where, who and why.
  • Provide confirmation of venues if possible.

Support material

Ensure that:

  • you provide brief, recent and relevant artistic support material
  • audio and video support material is of good quality and accessible
  • you provide up to three up-to-date relevant letters of support, with one preferably from someone not directly involved with your project. We cannot consider letter of support from Creative New Zealand staff or members of the Arts Council. 

Evidence of demand

Evidence of demand can strengthen your application. Examples include:

  • box-office income or recording sales
  • fees to be paid by practitioners enrolled in a professional-development course
  • performance or appearance fees being paid by venues, presenters or exhibitors.

4. Assessing applications

The primary aim of the Berlin Writer's Residency is for the successful applicant to work on an approved project while in a new environment. On returning, they will be expected to have completed, or substantially completed, a body of writing.

Who assess your application

Applications are assessed by Creative New Zealand staff and external peer assessors. 

Assessment criteria

We assess:

  • how closely the results of your proposed project match our long-term goal (outcome) that high-quality New Zealand art is developed
  • the extent of your potential development as a writer through exposure to new cultures and ideas in Berlin
  • how your proposed project would benefit from you being resident in Berlin
  • your willingness to engage with overseas contacts and the media (previous involvement in literary festivals, tours, seminars or panels is an advantage)
  • your record of achievement as a writer. 

5. Notification of results

By the end of May 2015 or beginning of June, we will notify all applicants of the decision.

We also list successful applicants on the who got funded web page.

If you are successful, we will contact you about your funding agreement including payment schedule and reporting requirements.

6. On completion


Within two months of completion of the residency, you must provide a detailed report that gives an account of the project and the professional activities you engaged in while in Berlin. This will help us understand what is being achieved over time. 

The acquittal report asks you to comment on:

  • the extent to which your project expectations, as described in your original application, were met
  • the most positive aspects of the residency
  • your most useful contacts
  • any language or any other difficulties you experienced
  • any related activities in which you engaged while in Berlin
  • any suggestions that might improve the experience for other writers
  • any other general comments you wish to make.

7. Who to contact

Senior Arts Adviser — Literature
Malcolm Burgess
Phone: (04) 498 0707
Email: malcolm.burgess@creativenz.govt.nz