A wonderful mix of non-fiction, memoir and short fiction
16 Nov 2015
Four writers selected for the residency programme at the Michael King Writers’ Centre next year will explore a variety of topics in different formats – from short fiction, a look at valuing the humanities in 21st Century New Zealand, a memoir that looks at how the cataclysmic changes of the 1960s and 70’s impacted on personal lives, to a book about silent cinema.
The writers selected for the four residencies at the Devonport writers’ retreat are editor and researcher Hannah August from Wellington, Elspeth Sandys, predominantly a historical fiction writer also from Wellington, playwright, screenwriter, poet and short story writer, Briar Grace-Smith from Paekakariki and fiction writer and academic, Jenni Quilter, currently residing in New York.
Hannah August will take up the eight-week Summer Residency to research and write about how the humanities are currently valued within New Zealand universities and generally within New Zealand society. Hannah is the author of No Country for Old Maids?: Talking about the ‘Man Drought’ (BWB, 2015). She holds a PhD in English Literature from King’s College London and has written for publications such as Metro and the Times Literary Supplement.
Elspeth Sandy’s has published eight novels, two collections of short stories and written numerous plays for radio (RNZ and BBC) and television. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the ONZM for services to literature in 2006. Elspeth has been awarded the eight-week Autumn Residency to work on her latest project; volume two of her memoir that will cover a period in the 1960s and 70’s and will look at how time, place and historical events are agents of one’s personal story.
The Māori Writer’s Residency has been awarded to Briar Grace-Smith (Ngā Puhi). She is an award-winning writer of plays, screenplays and short stories. In 2000 Briar received the Arts Foundation Inaugural Laureate Award and in 2010 she received the New Zealand Writers Guild award for Best Screenplay for Strength of Water. She will hold the eight-week residency to develop a work of short fiction - a mixture of published and new stories that will all respond thematically to the idea of using unexpected combinations of ‘colour’ to bring about beauty or change.
The six-month University of Auckland Residency at the MKWC has been awarded to Jenni Quilter for a work of fiction - part art theory, part art book, a celebration of silent film and what makes it stubbornly unique. Much of her writing is on visual art, particularly collaborations between writers and artists of the New York School, she has written four books in this area. Jenny has been Clinical Assistant Professor in the Expository Writing Program at New York University, for the past eight years and is also the Director of the Office of Global Awards there. Before teaching at NYU, she taught at Oxford University, where she obtained her M.Phil. and D.Phil. as a New Zealand Rhodes Scholar. Her essays have been published in Agni, Poetry, Southwest Review, Metro and Nowhere magazine and are forthcoming in The London Review of Books.
All of the residencies are available thanks to support from Creative New Zealand.
The Michael King Writers’ Centre thanks all applicants and wish Hannah, Elspeth, Briar and Jenni the best of luck with their work.
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