The Victoria University of Wellington / Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence – applications close soon

Writer in Residence

The Writer in Residence is an annual appointment to foster New Zealand writing, with support from Creative New Zealand.

About the residency

Creative New Zealand Logo

The Victoria University of Wellington / Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence appointment is jointly funded by Victoria University of Wellington and Creative New Zealand. It has been created to foster New Zealand writing by providing the appointee with the opportunity to write full-time within an academic environment for the period of tenure.

Applications are invited from writers in all areas of literary activity, including drama, fiction and poetry, New Zealand art, biography, history, music, society and culture, etc. Applicants should be authors of proven merit normally resident in New Zealand or New Zealanders currently resident overseas. There is no restriction on the occupation of applicants, but they should not be employees of Creative New Zealand or Victoria University, or have been employed by Victoria University in the twelve months prior to the closing date.

Applications for the 2019 appointment are now open, with an application deadline of 30 September 2018. A full role description and application is available on the Current Vacancies page of Victoria’s website (position reference 2254. Enquiries can also be directed to modernletters@vuw.ac.nz.

An addition to the 2018 Writers on Mondays series: Kate Camp: Menton, memoir and me

8th Oct 2018 12:15pm to 8th Oct 2018 1:15pm

Soundings Theatre, Te Papa

The International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) is delighted to announce the addition of this special event to the 2018 Writers on Mondays series.

Kate Camp: Menton, memoir and me:

When poet Kate Camp took up the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship in 2017, it was to write memoir, not poetry.

Memoir writing raises interesting questions – of fact and fiction, ethics and ego, what one remembers, and what one chooses to reveal. In this lecture, Kate Camp examines a more difficult and profound question – who cares? Who could possibly give a damn about the details of someone else’s life?

Drawing on her own work and that of other New Zealand writers, Camp’s lecture is an entertaining, insightful, and at times deeply personal exploration of the ‘point’ of writing memoir.

Originally delivered September as the Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture, initiated by Waikato University with the support of the Friends of Hamilton Library.

FREE EVENT

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Wen-Juenn Lee’s ‘Prologue’

 

DSCF9614.JPG

 

 

 

 

Prologue‘ appeared in Three Lamps, an online journal from the University of Auckland, edited by Paula Morris.

 

Wen-Juenn Lee edits poetry for the Australian literary journal, Voiceworks. She works and lives in Melbourne, and writes of home and belonging.

 

 

 

 

 

For women who signed the petition and the women who step forward

 

 

 

IMG_4390.JPG

Frida Kahlo by my daughter, Estelle Hight

 

125 years ago today many but not all New Zealand women got the vote.

I have waited until today to let this sink in and react

I am sitting here at my kitchen table with the grey clouds and a bite

in the air thinking of our early women poets who held hands with

the English suffragettes and risked their words to shape a better

future for all women by writing and speaking out and imagining

an equal life for women without violence and without poverty

and without being spoken over or patronised or ignored

on the grounds women were not men’s equal. I am thinking

this and the way I have a support crew of women who have held

my hand over the past year through difficulty and celebration

and I am wondering how we are risking words to shape

a better future for all women by writing and speaking out

and imagining lives without violence or poverty or denigration

or erasure or inequity and I am thinking of Selina Tusitala Marsh

and Tusiata Avia who have held my hand in this tough year

and who stand tall and proud for all women but especially

Pasifika women and speak out about abuse be it physical

or emotional and who then stand even taller and show

how words can sing and who get young Pasifika

women singing and I can feel the chain of hands stretching

back through a line of women writing to Blanche Baughan

and Jessie Mackay and I can feel the hand of Airini Beautrais

who is brave in her writing and Dinah Hawken who showed

me the tug of war between men and women and the way they

let the rope go and the way Fiona Farrell gave voice to her

broken city and we could hear the small stories of living

and here I am taking stock and giving thanks to the women

who came before me and giving thanks for my vote

and my freedom to choose education and motherhood

but thinking then of my notfreedom within medical systems

that know best and education systems that let children down

and clamp the Arts and the way even now our voices might

be trampled upon when we don’t sing in harmony. I am thinking

we bake bread and we buy bread and we get married and we don’t get married

and we live with women and we live with men and we hang out washing

and soothe the troubled child and we change gender and we go to work

and fold the clothes and get bruised and make the money stretch and make dreams

and try to keep warm and run away and chop the wood and get degrees

and we hold hands and we keep holding hands because there is strength in difference.

This year has almost wiped me out or so it feels but to sit here at the kitchen table and

reflect back on those brave early women who never gave up and who embraced shrill

and loud and forceful puts me back with the wind blowing through the manuka

back to that moment when I wrote a poem for Neve and her parents

and the world felt full of hope because kindness is just as important as strength.

 

 

Written in one breath by Paula Green, 19th September 2018, Bethells Valley, Waitakere

 

IMG_4405.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two speeches: Elizabeth Knox and Paula Green launch Anna Jackson’s award-winning novella

 

41946219_888009048075281_8779317979461451776_n.jpg

Anna Jackson with co-winner Avi Duckor-Jones at Time Out Bookstore

 

 

Anna Jackson recently won the 2018 Viva La Novella Prize with The Bed-Making Competition. The competition is open to Australasian writers but this is the first year a New Zealander has won – in fact two did. Avi Duckor-Jones also won with Swim. Both books were published by Australia’s Seizure Press and were recently launched in Wellington (by Elizabeth Knox) and in Auckland (by me).

I adore this book so it gives me great pleasure to share our launch speeches.

 

 

from Elizabeth Knox at Unity Books, Wellington:

Tena Kotou katoa

I am delighted to be launching Anna’s prize-winning novella The Bed Making Competition.  I’m a fan of novellas, a lovely, free, slippery form, partly because no one has yet decided what a well-made novella is supposed to look like, whereas there are plenty of confident and confidently expressed opinions about novels and short stories.  Like novels, a novella tells a sustained story, but in a way that somehow makes it more permissible to leave things out.  The Bed Making Competition gives us five chapters in the lives of two sisters, Brigid and Hillary.  Each chapter is a point of shared or solitary personal crises—solitary in the case of Hillary’s Goldilocks episode at a flat in Christchurch. The longest chapter is the duration of a pregnancy, the shortest a single day and a little run of events that consolidates a character, a relationship, a world view. Years intervene between each of the episodes—for instance Brigid is pregnant with a first child in the central one, then has two growing children in the next. Over and over I had the pleasure of surprise in coming back to the small configuration of sister, friends, parents, partner, children and seeing the changed circumstances, and changed selves, and the work of an almost Elizabethan sense of fortune in their lives—fickle fortune, an artist of whimsy and unease.  I kept wanting to know more, and having to intuit much, and being rewarded by the book’s feeling for the mysteriousness of what happens to people over the course of a lifetime.  These characters make their beds and have to lie in them; they move their beds around to make room for more beds; they climb into bed with a beloved sister and are as happy as a puppy in a basket; or they find themselves in the wrong bed in the wrong house, or bedless at bedtime and sitting on a suitcase.

This is a book about a sibling relationship. All sibling relationships entail some degree of competition.  Hillary and Brigid for the most part aren’t competing for anyone else’s attention—maybe a little for Brigid’s best friend Julia, and Brigid is ever ready to cede even a best friend for a sister’s needs—but never for their parent’s attention—and always for each other’s.  I could say that the novella charts a power relationship between sisters, except “power relationship” doesn’t quite describe the oscillations in their orbits of each other as the gravity of one becomes greater than the gravity of the other, and then swaps back again—back and forth over half a lifetime. The Bed-Making Competition is essentially about this dance, Hillary and Brigid circling each other, taking turns at being the heavier gravitational body. The younger sister waits for the older to come out of her bedroom and listen to her story, waits to have mysterious things explained to her, or for a lead in how behave with their parents, how to feel about being left by mother and father, and with father’s credit card.  Later each waits for the return of remembered moment of glorious closeness.  The novella gets that sense of loving too much, or of not being loved enough, that rises and falls in relationships between sisters.  It gets the necessity of wooing a sister.  Of all other relationships changing at the sudden presence of sister who has been absent too long. It gets being asked to be responsible, to manage a sister’s crisis for the happiness of helpless and aging parents, to manage it as if there’s some managerial magic in just being a sister. What the book doesn’t do is resentment, or disavowal—”I am not my brother’s keeper.”—only the helplessness of being able to do only so much.

This is a book very much about the changing nature of strong relationships.  And it’s serious about those things, but serious with lightness, and an appreciation of mess, mayhem, oddity.  The characters in this book never complain, they’re observant, rueful, they have notions about how to improve their lot – often peculiar and experimental notions.

The story is book-ended by abandonment and death—a mother runs away, followed by a father trying to retrieve her—and then then, in time, that mother is on her deathbed.  The meaningful deathbed exchange the mother and daughter have isn’t about the past, but a conversation conducted as if both of them have a present and future.  The scene is so true to the book’s understanding of people, and true to life, I found it really moving.  This book is moving, and also productive of anxiety. I really worried about the characters at various points.  Books that make me worry about their characters are my favourite kind of books.  The Bed Making Competition is a fine example one of those, a book that mostly caresses its readers and smooths their fur and sometimes startles them into electrified wakefulness by brushing their fur up the wrong way. So, welcome everyone to this caressing and startling book. And thank you Anna.

 

Elizabeth Knox

 

Bedmaking-front-cover-sml.jpg

 

 

from Paula Green at Time Out Bookstore, Auckland:

Kia ora koutou katoa

Last night I had a poet anxiety dream about launching this book. I am extremely glad I am not standing on this stepladder in a crumpled cotton dress and muddy gumboots. And I have a little speech written on this piece of paper that I haven’t left it at home.

Auckland University Press launched Anna’s terrific Pasture and Flock: New and Selected Poems earlier this year – a book that reveals a poetic curiosity in the world, lilting lines that absorb sumptuous detail, intimate attachments to people, places and ideas, an enviable ability to make words and thus poems move and surprise. I loved it.

What a treat to share Anna’s award-winning novella with you this evening when it delivers such similar joys. This is a book of two sisters, Hillary and Bridgid, two shifting voices that we follow through chronological and geographical jumps. The narrative exposes fragility, envy, attachment, yearnings, detachment along with various internal aches and hungers when life throws you off kilter or keeps you on some kind of vital track of living. As teenagers for example the two sisters get inebriated, drink champagne on swings, thrash the credit card, when the father goes in pursuit of the mother who has walked out. They get to eat pizza without salad.

There is so much to love about this book, this small package that is rich in effect.

I adore the way voice pulls you through Anna’s textured writing: it builds character, scene incident, development, and most importantly sister relations.

The details are both sensual and sumptuous: whether of food clothes people or setting. They establish an architecture of the domestic, of family, that is both intimate and revealing.

Little scenes stand out: such as in the art gallery where the prices and titles of Bridgid’s work get mixed up in her small corner of the gallery. Her partner gets most space.

Larger scenes stand out such as when Hillary goes to stay with Bridgid in London. Or the Goldilocks scene in the flat in Christchurch. But you have to read these for yourself!

I was hungry for this book as I read it. I am reminded of reading the honeyed fluency of Katherine Mansfield or Virginia Woolf. The way the novella resembles stream of consciousness but it is ever so beautifully and distinctively crafted. You get caught up in the writing currents and you don’t want to stop reading. It gives me great pleasure to declare this gorgeous book launched and to invite you to read it yourself. Congratulations on the award Anna and on this immensely satisfying read that startles and surprises as much as it draws you into points of recognition.

Paula Green

 

Some photos from the Unity Book launch

DSC_1168-3.JPG

DSC_1208-9.JPG

DSC_1239-13.JPG

DSC_1198-7.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auckland Writers Festival Launches Literary Foundation

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 9.33.15 PM.png

A new Foundation established by the Auckland Writers Festival aims to strengthen Aotearoa’s literary landscape.

The Mātātuhi Foundation, launched this evening, will provide opportunities for New Zealand writers to develop and promote their works and for readers to increase their engagement with the work of local writers and will fund activities that contribute to literacy in this country.

Auckland Writers Festival Chair, Pip Muir says the launch of the Mātātuhi Foundation is the next step in the realisation of a long-held dream.

“When the Festival began almost 20 years’ ago, meetings were held around a kitchen table. Since then, the appetite to engage with writers from New Zealand and around the world has grown exponentially and with it the opportunity to deepen our commitment to our literary landscape.

“It is absolutely fantastic that the Festival has reached a point where it can further contribute to the national reading and writing community. We are thrilled to be able support the nation’s literature with the launch of this ground-breaking initiative.”

The Foundation will operate independently of the Auckland Writers Festival Trust and initially aims to make up to ten one-off grants of $2000 – $5000 per year whilst building an endowment platform to support its long-term endeavours.

Inaugural Committee members are professional director and senior finance executive Anne Blackburn (Chair), writer and academic Paula Morris, Festival Trust Board Chair and lawyer Pip Muir, Auckland Writers Festival Director Anne O’Brien and country head of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Book Council board member Peter Vial.

Ms Blackburn says she relishes the opportunity to work with an organisation that supports New Zealand literature. “I very much look forward to receiving applications from groups that seek to engage more readers and also from our writers, whose words and ideas enrich our lives.”

Applicants are invited to submit expressions of interest twice a year, with deadlines of 31 October and 31 May.

For further information please contact Penny Hartill, hPR, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz