Ground-breaking playwright and poet Lynda Chanwai-Earle has been appointed as the Victoria University of Wellington International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) and Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence for 2019.
Ms Chanwai-Earle is a well-known public broadcaster, having worked for many years as a documentary producer at Radio New Zealand. She is a researcher for the Asia New Zealand Foundation and has been a guest writer at numerous festivals, including the Hong Kong Literary Festival, the Asia Pacific Poetry Festival, and the Shanghai Literary Festival.
Ms Chanwai-Earle’s first book of poetry— Honeypants—was shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards. She has published four plays and has been shortlisted three times for the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.
During her residency, Ms Chanwai-Earle will work on three scriptwriting projects, including a film adaptation of her play Man in a Suitcase, based on the real-life murder of a Chinese student in Auckland. The other two scripts will complete her Antarctic Trilogy, which began with HEAT—a world first in green-powered theatre performed completely off-grid in theatres across New Zealand.
Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters, Professor Damien Wilkins, says, “Lynda has been a great advocate for the arts, especially across all sorts of cultural and social boundaries. She’s spent the last decade championing others. The writing residency sees her return to her own innovative, creative work. We’re excited to see what she produces.”
Commenting on the appointment, Ms Chanwai-Earle says, “It goes without saying that choosing to be a writer is choosing to sustain a financially challenged vocation. This residency is a rare thing. It creates vital, precious time and space. I’m anticipating an extremely productive year. The residency also gives me a chance to collaborate with acclaimed inter-disciplinary arts and science practitioners, as well as theatre and science communities within Wellington.”
Ms Chanwai-Earle takes up the residency at the IIML on 1 February 2019.