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Four NZ writers selected for 2015 residencies

Four NZ writers selected for 2015 residencies

The Michael King Writers' Centre today announced the four writers who have been awarded residencies at the Devonport writers' retreat in 2015.

The four writers will explore diverse aspects of New Zealand life and culture - from Māori spirituality, a soldier’s “mutiny” in World War One, an act of terrorism by a punk anarchist, to a book on the evolution of the arts in a small country.

Auckland playwright Rochelle Bright, who works in the area of cross-over drama, has been awarded the prestigious six-month University of Auckland residency at the Michael King Writers' Centre from July 2015.

The writers selected for the three eight-week residencies at the centre are playwright Philip Braithwaite from Dunedin, writer and film-maker Roger Horrocks from Auckland, academic and historian Mere Whaanga from Mahia and playwright Rochelle Bright from Auckland.

Rochelle Bright spent six years studying and developing theatre in New York before joining Auckland's Massive Theatre in 2011. She is a screenwriter/composer/librettist who has had readings and cabaret performances staged in the United States, Sweden and New Zealand. She will work on the libretto for an indie opera on the suicide bomber Neil Roberts, with music by Abraham Kunin from The Means.

Dunedin playwright Philip Braithwaite will take up the Summer Residency in January to complete the final rewrite of a play about his great uncle, a soldier who was executed for mutiny at a British military prison camp in France in 1916.

Auckland writer Roger Horrocks has written on many aspects of film, television, literature, the arts and is a published poet. He has been awarded the Autumn Residency to work on a book about the whakapapa of New Zealand culture, from colonial cringe to the growth of local art, including the Māori renaissance, and the impact of digital technology today.

The Māori Writer’s Residency has been awarded to Mere Whaanga (Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu), who has written a wide range of non-fiction work on aspects of the Treaty of Waitangi, treaty claims, Māori cultural practices and books for children. She will hold the eight-week residency to work on an adult novel, Legacy of the Seer, which centres on leader Te Paea and her matakite or psychic abilities.

Eighty-five writers applied for one or more of the opportunities in the programme and there were a total of 182 applications altogether.

All of the residencies are available thanks to the support of Creative New Zealand.


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