Wednesday, November 16, 2016

News from the Michael King Writers' Centre

Michael King Writers' Centre

Newsletter November 2016

Spring in the centre's garden
Photo: Ben Whimp

Spring at the MKWC

Jan McEwen

Much like the season, we have been going through a period of growth, change and renewal here at the centre. We bid farewell to Ka Meechan and have welcomed Jan McEwen (shown at left) as the new executive director.

Jan has a wealth of experience across event management, education, arts and the not for profit sector.

Catriona Ferguson, Chair of the MKWC Trust says, “We are delighted to welcome Jan to the Trust. Her knowledge of the not for profit sector will be a huge asset to the Trust alongside her enthusiasm for the arts and understanding of the local Devonport scene.”
The garden is lush with spring growth, we have had a gorgeous display of poppies and tulips and we have had several visiting writers to revel in the overall environment.
There is always plenty to be getting on with and plenty on the horizon – read on to see what has been happening.
Tania Stewart
Tulips in the centre's gardenTulips in the centre's garden

Alumni Writers in Residence

Several of our alumni have recently received recognition and released work including the following;

David Eggleton – David is one of our alumni having held a residency in 2009, he has been named winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in poetry and his most recent collection of poetry, The Conch Trumpet won the 2016 Ockham NZ Book Award for Poetry.       Read more
Bill Direen – Bill held the University of Auckland/MKWC residency in 2010 and has recently completed the two projects he was working on whilst here. Bill says ‘the works are one long poem, titled Centre and the second is The Book of Return, an auto-fictional novel of diary entries during many years of returning to and leaving New Zealand.       Read more
Sarah Laing - Sarah completed her debut novel Dead People’s Music at the centre in 2008 when she held a six week residency. Sarah was welcomed back in 2013 as the University of Auckland / Michael King Writers’ Centre Fellow and she worked on her graphic memoir, Mansfield and Me. Grappling with Mansfield’s legacy as New Zealand’s finest short story writer, she examined her own desire to be a ‘real writer’ in lush watercolour illustrations. This book was launched on the 6th of October 2016 by Victoria University Press, in time for Mansfield’s 128th birthday.
Kelly Ana Morey – in 2014, Kelly Ana was awarded the Maori Writer’s Residency. The resulting novel, Daylight Second, she believes is the first New Zealand literary novel about the racehorse Phar Lap. Daylight Second was published on the 1st of October 2016 by HarperCollins.
Eleanor Catton – this year Eleanor’s debut novel The Rehearsal was adapted for feature film, written by Emily Perkins and directed by Alison Maclean.  The world premiere of the film was held at the NZ International Film Festival in July and then it went to general release and is still screening. The cast includes Kerry Fox and James Rolleston and it has received wide-spread critical acclaim.  A television adaptation of The Luminaries is currently in development.
Our hearty congratulations go to all our alumni for their achievements.

Visiting Writers – the front room

Our front room has been fully occupied in the lead up to Spring. We welcomed Michael Woodcock, Tui Allen, Paolo Rotondo (who was here as the recipient of the NZSA/Auckland Museum Research Grant) and Hussein Rawlings. Read more about these writers on our website
Dominique Cooreman who was a visiting writer in 2007 has recently completed and self-published the book she was working on at the time - LA BASSE-VILLE 1917: New Zealand Voices from Flanders Fields. Dominque says,"‘This book is intended as a tribute to New Zealand troops who fought in WW1 as well as their families, particularly those directly affected by operations at La Basse-Ville, Belgium, from 11 June through 28 August 1917. The book offers a mainly New Zealand perspective on those operations. The battle of La Basse-Ville has been considered up until now either as a prelude of Passchendaele or a follow-up of Messines battles in Belgium in 1917, during WWI."                                                   
 Dominique can be contacted at

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