Louis Johnson New Writer's Bursary

The annual Louis Johnson New Writer's Bursary provides a stipend that enables a published writer or playwright at an early stage of their career to create a new work.


Closing dates:

Find out who got funded recently


6 Apr 2018

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Literature .

This content is tagged as Theatre .

1. Check your eligibility

Project timing

Your project, or the stage of it for which you are seeking funding, must:

  • start after 8 June 2018 (for the 6 April 2018 closing date)
  • be completed within 12 months of us offering you the grant

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.

For a writer of literature,  success means having had published at least one work that received a degree of critical or sales success in the literature genre for which the writer is applying. This does not include work created as part of a course of study.

Bursary eligibility

To be eligible for a Louis Johnson New Writer's Bursary, you must be a writer at an early stage of your career and meet the track record requirements listed above.

Who can apply

  • As an individual you must be a New Zealand (NZ) citizen or permanent resident.
  • NZ-based organisations can apply.
  • If you are an overseas-based NZ artist or organisation you can apply. But your application must show direct benefit to NZ arts and you must have it endorsed by:
    • NZ artist(s) currently resident in NZ and/or;
    • NZ-based arts organisation(s) (must be well established).
  • To apply to Māori arts:
    • you must be Māori or your proposed project must be managed or directed by Māori
    • organisations must be owned and managed by Māori. If an organisation is applying for funding on behalf of an individual, that person must also be Māori.

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.

Reapplying for the same project

You can only reapply for the same project if you have written permission from the Manager, Funding Services. To see if your application is eligible for re-submission contact Funding Services

2. See what's funded


The bursary provides a stipend to enable an emerging writer to create a new work. Read our budget guidelines for more information about stipends. Budget Guidelines (pdf 120KB)

Our priorities

We are particularly interested in:

  • the creation of a diverse range of high quality new work
  • increasing and diversifying readership and sales for New Zealand literature.

We are also interested in projects or programmes of activity that:

  • are by, with or for young people up to the age of 18
  • involve the innovative and cost-effective use of digital technologies to create high-quality New Zealand work and/or to engage and interact with audiences.

Activities funded

To be considered for the Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary applicants should apply for an Arts Grant to write a work of any genre other than those listed below under 'Activities not funded'.

Activities not funded

Creative New Zealand literature funding is not available for research or writing that:

  • is funded by other government agencies, eg film, radio and television scripts; and writing and research projects supported by the History Research Trust
  • are education resources and activities as part of a course of study in New Zealand
  • is part of the core business of a Tertiary Education Organisation (TEO) or a territorial local authority (including a Council Controlled Organisation). Applications from staff or contractors of a TEO, or a TEO subsidiary, must disclose the full extent of the support they will receive from the TEO for their proposed project. Where equivalent, competing applications are received from TEO applicants, and those not, priority is given to freelance artists and practitioners.
  • we don’t consider to be literature, eg instruction manuals, guide books, phrase books, do-it-yourself and how-to books (including travel guides, gardening books, and recipe books); bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias and professional reference works; newsletters, hymn books and publisher catalogues.

Amount Funded

The dollar amount varies depending on the project request. Recent awards have been between $10,000 and $25,000.

Previous recipients

Previous recipients are listed on who got funded

3. Make an application

Downloads (application forms and criteria)

Register or Log in

How to apply

  1. Decide whether you want your application assessed as general arts, Māori arts or Pacific arts (see below for information to help you choose).
  2. Start your application online. Apply through the Arts Grant opportunity (you may need to register first).
  3. Gather artistic support material.
  4. Prepare a budget using our budget template.
  5. Submit your application online by 5pm on the closing date.

Login or register to apply online

Choose how you want your application to be assessed 

Applications for the Louis Johnson New Writer's Bursary, as part of Arts Grants, can be assessed as one of the following. You can choose:

General arts: which is suitable for all Literature applicants.

Māori Arts: if your project is by Māori and Mātauranga Māori is evident in the practice and results of your proposed activities. By Māori means:

  • you must be Māori or your proposed project must be managed or directed by Māori
  • organisations must be owned and managed by Māori. If an organisation is applying for funding on behalf of an individual, that person must also be Māori.

Pacific Arts: if Kaupapa Pasifika will be evident in the practice and results of your proposed activities. You will be assessed on how well your project fulfils the concepts of Kaupapa Pasifika.

See 4. Assessing applications for more information about the assessment process and criteria.

4. Assessing applications

Who assesses your application

Your application will be assessed by external peer assessors who are experts in their field. Pasifika or Māori artists and practitioners are involved in assessing applications to the Pacific or Māori Arts funds. Recommendations are made to our Senior Manager for Arts Development Services for a decision.

Assessment criteria

Match with our goals

When applying online select Creative New Zealand’s strategic outcome ‘high quality  New Zealand Art is developed’. We'll assess how closely the results of your proposed project match this long-term goal/strategic outcome.

Project Proposal: Your proposal will also be assessed on:

  • how strong and how well-developed your idea is (what)
  • the soundness of your processes for making the project happen (how)
  • the ability and experience of the people involved in the project (who)
  • the credibility, accuracy and completeness of your budget (how much).

Māori Arts

If you choose to submit your application to Māori arts your application will be assessed on how strongly Matauranga Māori is evident in the practices and results of your project. Your application will be assessed by a person of Māori descent, with knowledge of Nga Toi Māori. More information under Make an application

Pacific Arts  

If you choose to submit your application to Pacific arts your application will be assessed on how strongly Kaupapa Pasifika are evident in the practices and results of your project. Your application will be assessed by a Pasifika person with knowledge of Pacific arts. More information under 3. Make an application

Funding priorities 

The following priorities are not part of our assessment but may be taken into account when applications receive a similar assessment score. 

We may consider whether your application fulfils:

  • a funding priority for your artform 
  • a funding priority for Creative New Zealand.

For more information select your artform and go to 2. See what’s funded.

We may also consider the following if you select these as potential outcomes. 

  1. Cultural diversity is a significant feature of the project and/or the results.
  2. Innovation is a significant feature in the practice or results of the project.
  3. Community participation is a significant feature of the project.

Nominate peer assessors for our funding programmes

External peer assessors are asked to evaluate a range of applications made to Creative New Zealand’s funding programmes and initiatives against specific criteria.

Peer Assessor nomination form (doc 167KB)

Peer Assessor terms and conditions (pdf 259KB)

5. Notification of results

Ten weeks after the closing date we will email all applicants of their result.

  • For the 6 April 2018 round we will notify on Friday 8 June.

At the same time we also list successful applicants on who got funded

If you are successful, we will contact you about:

  • your funding agreement
  • payment schedule
  • reporting requirements.

6. On completion

A project completion report is required within 12 weeks of the project end date using the report template. To be considered for further funding, your report needs to be submitted on time.

Project Completion Report template (doc 840KB)

Project completion report - request for extension (219KB)

7. Who to contact

For more information or advice: