Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer's Fellowship 2021

The fellowship is awarded every two years to an established New Zealand writer from any literary genre, with a significant publication record, to work on a major project.


Up to $100,000 over two years
Find out who got funded recently

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Literature .

Funding rounds

Opening dates:
Closing dates:
Notification dates:
Round 1
1 Feb 2021, 1pm
26 Feb 2021, 1pm
19 Mar 2021

1. Check your eligibility

Who can apply

To apply for the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship 2021 you:

  • must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • cannot be a previous recipient of the fellowship
  • must have a strong national reputation as a writer. You will have either:
    • received critical acclaim for the work that you have produced, for example, published significant works of literature.
    • received a significant literary award or fellowship, or been short-listed for one or more literary awards.

Project timing

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

  • start after 19 March 2021
  • be completed by 19 March 2023

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 more information about track record requirements for literature see our Funding guidelines - the artforms we support

If you don't have the track record we're looking for, you may be able to get funding through the Creative Communities Scheme

How often you can apply

You can make one application in this funding round.

Reapplying for a previously declined project

You can request to resubmit a project you've had declined in a past funding opportunity. Be aware that there are strict criteria to meet, and this is at the discretion of Creative New Zealand. For more information see our Funding Guidelines – Reapplying for a previously declined project.

Other Creative New Zealand funding

Your project, project phase or programme of activity must not have received funding from any of our funding programmes or initiatives, including the Creative Communities Scheme.  

Breaches of agreements

We cannot consider an application if you, your organisation, or key members of your project team are in breach of the conditions of a current funding agreement, which includes missing the deadline for reporting on a previous grant or other funding contracts.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – breaches of agreement

2. See what's funded


The Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship is intended to help achieve one of Creative New Zealand’s long-term strategic outcomes that high-quality New Zealand art is developed. The results we are looking for include the:

  • development of new skills and arts practice
  • support of high-quality artists
  • creation of new work.

What we fund

The fellowship is intended for authors who have achieved significant success or critical acclaim in their career. Up to $100,000 is available over two years to fund a writing project. It provides the time and/or resources for the fellow to commit to a period of deep investigation, experimentation or research in their practice, and towards a major project. Note a detailed budget must be included as part of your application.

Special guidance

COVID-19 Alert Levels

When applying, you will need to ensure your project will be possible within the government alert level current at the time of notification. We suggest you also describe any potential changes you might make if the alert level is lower or higher when we are making our decision (just prior to the round notification date published in the funding calendar).

We will also continue to comply with government advisories (including alert levels) and/or border controls. For this reason, when making funding decisions, we may decline a programme or project if it is not viable at the time of notification, regardless of when the project is planned to take place.

International activity

Funding is available to support artists and practitioners to engage in a variety of international activity. Make sure you read the updated International activity guidelines before submitting an application.

We anticipate that the majority of activity involving an artist or practitioner participating overseas will occur virtually for much of this year. If your project requires international travel you will need to follow official travel advice. You and your international partners should carefully consider the additional risks of travel.

You can only include international travel in your application if the government travel advisory permits it at the time of application. We will not accept the cost of quarantining or managed isolation as eligible costs.

If advisory or border control information changes during the period between submission and decision Creative New Zealand reserves the right to exercise discretion and/or comply with government advisories and/or border controls.

Read our Funding guidelines - international activity

Previous recipients

Previous recipients are listed on bursaries, fellowships, scholarships and residencies

What we don’t fund

  • Activities that another Creative New Zealand funding programme or initiative is designed to support.
  • Activities funded by other government agencies.
  • Education resources and activities that are part of a course of study in New Zealand including early learning, school or further education.
  • Game design, fashion design and commercial design.
  • Purchase of capital items, renovating or buying buildings, or restoring marae.
  • Activities that are part of the core business of a Tertiary Education Organisation (TEO).
  • Activities that are part of the core business of a territorial local authority or Council Controlled Organisation.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – what we don’t fund

Additional activity guidelines and advice

Specific requirements and guidelines apply to some activities so you must check if any are relevant to your application. For more information see our Funding guidelines - activity guidelines and advice

Funding limits

The maximum amount you can apply for is $100,000.

Email Funding Services if you have further questions.

3. Make an application

Register or Log in

How to apply:

  1. Register or log in to the portal to start your application and select Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship 2021.
  2. Read the Funding guidelines
  3. Prepare a budget. Read and watch videos about budgets at Funding guidelines – standard project budget template
  4. Gather support material. Read the Funding guidelines - support material
  5. Complete each question in the portal application form.
  6. Submit your application by 1pm on the closing date.


4. Assessing applications

What we assess your application on

External peer assessors will assess your application using the following criteria.


Is it a strong idea? We look for the following indicators:

  • The artistic aims are clearly expressed.
  • The idea is compelling.
  • The artistic outcome is likely to be of high quality.


Can it be achieved? We look for the following indicators:

  • The process to achieve the idea is realistic and well planned.
  • The budget is thorough and accurate and considers fair remuneration for artists and practitioners.
  • The artist has sufficient experience to deliver a major project across the time period.

Strategic fit

Does it deliver to Creative New Zealand outcomes and the purposes of the fund? We look for the following indicators:

  • The project delivers to the Strategic Outcome – High-quality New Zealand art is developed.
  • The writer’s publication record and national reputation is significant.

Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes

All activity you are seeking funding for must align with both Creative New Zealand’s strategic outcomes and the purposes of the fund.

In your application you must choose the following Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes to be assessed on:

  • High-quality New Zealand art is developed.

See our Funding guidelines - Strategic Outcomes for more information.

Scoring your application

Our assessors use the following assessment scale for Idea and Viability:

7 – Excellent – Exceeds all indicators
6 – Very Good – Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in two
5 – Good – Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in one
4 – Acceptable – Satisfies all indicators
3 – Minor reservations – Satisfies two indicators only
2 – Major reservations – Satisfies one indicator only
1 – Unacceptable – Does not meet the indicators

And the following scale for Strategic Fit:

5 – Excellent – Exceeds both indicators
4 – Very good – Exceeds one indicator
3 – Acceptable – Satisfies both indicators
2 – Weak – Satisfies one indicator
1 – Unacceptable – Does not meet either indicator

How we assess your application

Peer assessment is critical to Creative New Zealand’s decision-making process for funding, with external peer assessors using their knowledge and expertise to provide independent and impartial advice.

Two external peer assessors will assess your application, using the assessment criteria and assessment scale listed above, and resulting in a total possible score per assessor of 19.

Following assessment, an assessment panel will be convened for this fund providing an important opportunity for our peer assessors to discuss the collective merits of projects within the fund.

This panel will have representation across artforms and will consist of external peer assessors who have assessed the applications being discussed. The panel will make recommendations for funding by coming to a consensus at the meeting. Creative New Zealand staff will provide advice where required.

After the panel meeting, Creative New Zealand holds an internal moderation meeting, without assessors present. On occasion the moderation group’s final recommendations may differ from those made by the panel (for example, if one artform or community is considerably under-represented).

The moderation group makes final recommendations to Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager for Arts Development Services, who makes the final decision of who will receive the fellowship.

Who are our External Peer Assessors

We have a large number of external peer assessors, assessing a range of applications to our funding programmes and initiatives. They are selected based on their knowledge and experience in an artform and represent the diversity of the artists and arts organisations who apply for funding. We have a number of Māori and Pasifika assessors who assess applications to our Ngā toi Māori and Pacific arts funding pools or artforms.

You can nominate peer assessors – information and nomination form below:

Peer Assessor nomination form (doc 167KB)

Peer Assessor terms and conditions (pdf 259KB)

For more information about the assessment process and criteria see our Funding guidelines - assessment

5. Notification of results

We will email all applicants their result on Friday 19 March 2021.

We also list successful applicants on who got funded

If you are successful, we will also 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.

Login or register to report online

7. Who to contact

For more information or advice email Funding Services