23 Nov 2011
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A talented group of writers will take up residencies at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport next year.
The centre received applications from nearly 70 writers for its residency programme in 2012. Three eight-week residencies were offered, together with one six-month residency run in partnership with The University of Auckland.
Whiti Hereaka, a Wellington playwright, novelist and screenwriter, who has been admitted to the High Court as barrister and solicitor and works for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in her day job, has been selected for the Summer Residency starting in January. She plans to write a play about making rewena, exploring the idea of hospitality, of Maori and Pakeha “breaking bread” and how breadmaking is a part of colonial history that has been embraced by Maoridom.
Whiti’s first novel, The Graphologist’s Apprentice, was shortlised for the Commonwealth Writers First Book awards this year and she has won several awards for her plays.
Well-known Lower Hutt author, Chris Else, has been awarded the Autumn Residency to work on a major new novel which explores how society began to change in the 1960s and 1970s. Chris has had eight books published, has contributed to numerous anthologies and magazines, and written for screen and stage. He has won numerous awards and is currently chairman of Copyright Licensing Ltd.
Te Awhina Arahanga from Christchurch has been awarded the Maori Writer’s Residency in May to work on a collection of short stories. She has extensive experience as a writer and researcher of historical, heritage, natural history and Te Ao Maori. She is currently working on a social history about fish and chips and the new Kaikoura Museum, which is due to open toward the end of 2012. She holds a Ministerial appointment to the Aoraki Conservation Board.
Each residency, offered with support from Creative New Zealand, is for eight weeks. The writers have free accommodation and working space at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport, and receive an $8,000 stipend. The aim of the residencies is to support New Zealand writers and to promote New Zealand literature by providing an opportunity for the writers to work full-time on a major project. Eleanor Catton from Christchurch has been awarded a six-month residency from July 2012, which is offered in partnership with The University of Auckland.