Monday, December 22, 2008


The Randell Cottage Trustees are delighted to announce the appointment of UK-based writer Kirsty Gunn as its 2009 NZ Writer in Residence. She will take up the six month position at the Wellington cottage starting May 2009, and will work on a genre-crossing work about the influence Katherine Mansfield and her sense of place has had on Gunn’s writing life.
Kirsty Gunn will follow the French writer Olivier Bleys who leaves in March and will be accompanied by her husband and two daughters. The historic cottage – which is in Thorndon - hosts a French writer funded by the French Embassy for half the year, and a NZ writer funded by Creative NZ for the other half.

Gunn, who is living in England and Scotland, was brought up in Wellington and educated at Victoria University (BA Hons) and Oxford University (M.Phil). She is currently the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Dundee and has taught at Oxford.

She is best known in this country for her novel Rain (Faber 1994) which was made into a film, and for her short stories which have been published internationally and widely anthologised. They are collected in This Place You Return to is Home (Granta,1999)

Gunn’s other novels are The Keepsake (Granta, 1997), Featherstone (Faber, 2001) and The Boy and the Sea (Faber, 2006) which was named Scottish Book of the Year 2007. Her latest book, 44 things (Granta) was published in 2007 and is a collection of writings on Gunn’s domestic and creative life.
Gunn has a wide profile in the UK, has appeared internationally at literary festivals and writes literary articles and reviews for leading UK newspapers including The Observer. She is married to David Graham who is the Managing Director of Granta. She has won the Scottish Arts Council Award and the London Arts Board Award for Writers.
Gunn’s proposed project will combine a number of genres – short story, essay, memoir and history. She is pleased the Randell Cottage is in Thorndon near the birthplace of Katherine Mansfield the subject of her book, and close to the National Library.

Kirsty Gunn says, ‘I am absolutely delighted to be coming back to Wellington to write and take part in the exciting literary and cultural life there. My daughters will be going to my old school, Queen Margaret College, my husband will be joining us for a time as will my sister, and I look forward to catching up with old friends and new. It's going to be lovely, my past coming back into my present, and the book I want to write while I'm in Wellington about Katherine Mansfield is something that I've been wanting to write for a long time.’

For more information contact: Vincent O’Sullivan 04 4766690 or if he is unavailable Mary McCallum 04 5627585 or 0276003313

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