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Creative NZ to continue Berlin Writers' Residency

Creative New Zealand to continue Berlin Writers' Residency

The Arts Board of Creative New Zealand has renewed its commitment to fund a further three Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residencies on a biennial basis. Established in 2000, the residency has provided international professional development opportunities for four New Zealand writers: Sarah Quigley, Tina Shaw, Kapka Kassabova and Philip Temple.

Arts Board Chair Murray Shaw says that the decision to continue the residency biennially until 2009, rather than every year, is the result of a Creative New Zealand evaluation of the four residencies.

"By offering the residency every second year we hope to negotiate a more flexible time frame for the residency, which currently takes place during winter," he says. "In future, at least part of the residency will occur in summer. It will also allow us to give German literary organisations greater advance notice about each resident so they can include them in more of their literary events."

The next Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency will be offered in 2005. The residency is worth approximately $60,000. This covers the rental costs of an apartment in the centre of Berlin, a stipend of NZ$3000 a month and a return airfare from New Zealand to Germany.

Creative New Zealand's evaluation of the residency shows that the recipients have benefited significantly from the residency. As a result of their time in Berlin, they:

* produced new work * benefited from the cultural environment of Berlin * formed effective professional development networks with other writers * engaged with the wider European literary community * gave readings of their work and/or attended literary events in Europe.

Some have also:

* established European agents or publishers for their work * had their work translated into German.

Auckland writer Kapka Kassabova says that her time in Berlin was invaluable. "Berlin is one of the most interesting places in Europe and living there was a truly enriching and inspiring experience," she says. "It also gave me the valuable opportunity to write for nine months in financial stability, have a book published in Britain and participate in several writers' festivals."

Mr Shaw says that a number of New Zealand writers and artists have formed strong connections with Berlin.

"The residency is a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand writers to live in a cultural hub of Europe and devote themselves to writing over a sustained period of time," Mr Shaw says. "The Arts Board is pleased to be able to continue this valuable opportunity, which sits alongside a range of other initiatives we offer the literary sector."

As well as supporting other international residencies for artists, the Arts Board currently co-funds five writer-in-residence programmes at New Zealand universities, plus a children's writer-in-residence programme at the Dunedin College of Education.

Last year, with the Government's additional $1 million funding per year for literature, Creative New Zealand established the annual $100,000 Creative New Zealand Writers' Fellowship and the annual Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement.

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