Major shake-up of awards by NZ’s national writer-residency organisation
5 Sep 2017
New Zealand’s largest writer-residency organisation has totally revamped its programme for 2018 following calls by writers for greater flexibility.
The Michael King Writers’ Centre provides a year-round programme of residencies at the historic Signalman’s Cottage on Takarunga Mt Victoria in Devonport, Auckland. Residents receive accommodation, the use of a studio and a generous stipend.
Four residencies were awarded in 2017, ranging from eight weeks to six months, but the new 2018 residencies will be available for up 13 writers, and applicants can stay for as little as a fortnight at the centre. A Pasifika residency has been added to support Pasifika writing.
“We’d heard anecdotally that some writers were finding it hard to commit to some of the longer residencies, so we did a survey of over 130 writers, and they clearly told us they’d like more flexibility. So we’re opening these wonderful residencies right up,” said Catriona Ferguson, chair of the MKWC’s board of trustees.
“Some people, especially emerging writers, told us they were in the ironic position of not being able to accept free accommodation, a studio, and a healthy stipend, because it meant too long a break from their regular lives.
We hope to attract a more diverse range of writers with this new schedule, including ones who, at this stage in their career, are keen to have a place and dedicated time to write, but can only commit to a relatively short time away.”
“The increased flexibility is great for us too,” said Ferguson, “in that it allows us to broaden the scope of writers we can support”.
HOW ARE THE MICHAEL KING WRITERS’ CENTRE RESIDENCIES DIVVIED UP NOW?
- University of Auckland Residency: 20 weeks
- The Māori Writer’s Residency: Between two and eight weeks
- Pasifika Residency: Between two and four weeks
- Emerging Writer Residency: Between two and four weeks
- Winter Residency: Four weeks
- Spring Residency: Four weeks
- Early Summer Residency: Five weeks
WHY ARE WRITERS OFFERED THESE RESIDENCIES?
- The residency programme aims to support New Zealand writers and promote the development of high-quality New Zealand writing. Projects can be in a wide range of genres, including non-fiction, fiction, children and young adult, drama and poetry.
- The residencies are offered with the assistance of Creative New Zealand.
WHO CAN APPLY?
- Writers from all over New Zealand, including those who live in Auckland, are welcome to apply.
- The 20 week residency, offered in partnership with the University of Auckland, is for an established author who will benefit from the academic environment.
- The shorter residencies are open to emerging, mid-career or established writers.
- Writers who do not qualify for the supported residency programme are able to apply to be a visiting writer on a paying basis.
WHAT IS THE MICHAEL KING WRITERS’ CENTRE?
- Founded in 2005, the Centre was established to realise Michael King’s dream of having a residential retreat for New Zealand writers so that they would have time and money to work on a major project over an extended period.
- Forty-one New Zealand writers have held residencies at the centre since 2005.
- The current writer in residence is Anthony Byrt whose first book, This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art was shortlisted for the 2017 Ockham Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-fiction.
- Previous resident writers include Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton, who wrote the final draft of her novel The Luminaries at the centre. Additionally, Sarah Laing, Vincent O’ Sullivan, Chris Price and Frankie McMillan (this year’s University of Auckland/MKWC resident), were all longlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
For interviews please contact Michael King Writers Centre Chair, Catriona Ferguson, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ph. 021 024 82637.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESIDENCIES