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Shanghai-New Zealand Writers’ Exchange

Shanghai-New Zealand Writers’ Exchange

The first significant literary exchange between New Zealand and China continues in 2014 with an opportunity for a New Zealand writer to hold a two-month residency in Shanghai.

A writer from Shanghai will hold a similar fellowship at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Auckland in 2015.

The exchange follows the inaugural Rewi Alley Fellowship in May 2013, when Huo Yan, a 25-year-old writer from Beijing, took up a two-month residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre with funding through the NZ China Friendship Society.

The New Zealand writer selected to go to Shanghai will join an established international programme run by the Shanghai Writers’ Association, the city’s most prestigious literary organisation. Writers have free accommodation in their own inner-city apartment, a small stipend towards living costs and air travel to Shanghai paid.

They’re invited to take part in discussions and literary events, but are able to work on a project of their choice. The programme takes place in September and October each year with up to seven writers from all over the world. This is the first time a New Zealand writer will take part.

The Shanghai writer selected for the New Zealand fellowship in September 2015 will have free accommodation at the Michael King Writers’ Centre, air travel and a stipend.

New Zealand writers will be able to apply for the Shanghai residency from later this month and applications are expected to close at the end of February. Details will be available through the Michael King Writers’ Centre.

The chair of the Michael King Writers’ Centre, Catriona Ferguson, said the exchange was a very exciting development.

“There are few opportunities for New Zealand writers to hold residencies in other countries.

The main ones are in France, Berlin and the United States. This will be the first opportunity for a supported fellowship in China.

“International literary exchanges and linkages provide valuable opportunities for writers not only to have time and space to work, but to be exposed to new ideas, experiences and different approaches to writing. They also contribute to New Zealand’s international standing, at a time when the arts and creative industries are becoming a very important part of our economy. The huge local and international sales of Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor

Catton’s novel The Luminaries provide one example of this, and there are flow-on benefits in tourism and other business areas.”

George Andrews, Vice President NZ China Friendship Society, said the fellowship continued the society’s long tradition of fostering cultural links with China.

“Rewi Alley would be tickled pink that the writing fellowship we established in his name has led to this exchange with Shanghai, where he first arrived in China in 1927.”

The project is a partnership between the New Zealand China Friendship Society, the Michael King Writers’ Centre, the Shanghai Writers’ Association and the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The Shanghai Writers’ Association will fund the 2014 residency, while the NZ China Friendship Society will fund 2015 residency via their Simon Deng Li Fund, established in 2012 to encourage cultural links between New Zealand and China.

While she was in New Zealand in 2013, Huo Yan wrote two short works. One, a novella called John Li has been published in a prominent Chinese literary journal, Mountain Flowers.


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