New Zealand’s largest writer-residency organisation has totally revamped its programme for 2018 following calls by writers for greater flexibility.
The Michael King Writers’ Centre provides a year-round programme of residencies at the historic Signalman’s Cottage on Takarunga Mt Victoria in Devonport, Auckland. Residents receive accommodation, the use of a studio and a generous stipend.
Four residencies were awarded in 2017, ranging from eight weeks to six months, but the new 2018 residencies will be available for up 13 writers, and applicants can stay for as little as a fortnight at the centre. A Pasifika residency has been added to support Pasifika writing. “We’d heard anecdotally that some writers were finding it hard to commit to some of the longer residencies, so we did a survey of over 130 writers, and they clearly told us they’d like more flexibility. So we’re opening these wonderful residencies right up,” said Catriona Ferguson, chair of the MKWC’s board of trustees.
“Some people, especially emerging writers, told us they were in the ironic position of not being able to accept free accommodation, a studio, and a healthy stipend, because it meant too long a break from their regular lives.
We hope to attract a more diverse range of writers with this new schedule, including ones who, at this stage in their career, are keen to have a place and dedicated time to write, but can only commit to a relatively short time away.”
“The increased flexibility is great for us too,” said Ferguson, “in that it allows us to broaden the scope of writers we can support”.
HOW ARE THE MICHAEL KING WRITERS’ CENTRE RESIDENCIES DIVVIED UP NOW?
• University of Auckland Residency: 20 weeks
• The Māori Writer’s Residency: Between two and eight weeks
• Pasifika Residency: Between two and four weeks
• Emerging Writer Residency: Between two and four weeks
• Winter Residency: Four weeks
• Spring Residency: Four weeks
• Early Summer Residency: Five weeks