Writer profiles

Stephanie Johnson – 2016

Stephanie Johnson – 2016

Photo of Stephanie JohnsonStephanie Johnson is the author of several collections of poetry and of short stories, of plays and adaptations, but is best known for her novels. These include Crimes of Neglect (1992), The Heart’s Wild Surf (1996), The Shag Incident (2002), Music from a Distant Room (2004), The Open World(2012), and The Writing Class(2013) and its sequel The Writers Festival (2015). She is a past winner of the Deutz Medal for Fiction (2003), has been shortlisted for New Zealand literary awards and longlisted internationally.

Johnson has held the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship (2000) and in 2001 was Literary Fellow at Auckland University. She has taught creative writing and English at the University of Auckland and Unitec. For the past two years, she’s been a teaching fellow in history at the University of Waikato. She was co-founder and creative director (with Peters Wells) of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

Stephanie used her time at the Cottage to produce a non-fiction work, West Island: ‘Five Twenthieth Century New Zealanders in Australia’ to be published by Otago University Press in 2019. She also took some time to work on a novel, ‘Jarulan by the River’, an experiment in writing commercial fiction published pseudonymously in 2017.

David Fauquemberg – 2015

David Fauquemberg – 2015

Born in 1973, David Fauquemberg lives in the Cotentin area of Normandy. A novelist, he has published work in magazines such as XXI, Géo and Long Cours. He is also a translator (of Nadine Gordimer, R. L. Stevenson, James Meek, Willy Vlautin). The travel bug bit while he was studying literature, taking him to Patagonia and Lappland and sailing across the Atlantic. He went on to taught philosophy for a few months, before hitting the road again and spending two years in Australia. This provided the inspiration for his first novel, Nullarbor (Hoëbeke, 2007), winner of the Nicolas Bouvier Prize for travel writing. Mal tiempo (Fayard, 2009), which has a boxing theme and is set in Cuba, was awarded the Millepages Prize, the Prix des Hebdos en Région Prize and the City of Caen Prize. Manuel el Négro, published by Fayard in 2013, is the result of a long stay in the world of Andalucia’s flamenco gypsies.

David’s Randell project, Bluff, was published by Stock in January 2018. Photo by Christine Tamalet.

Owen Marshall – 2015

Owen Marshall – 2015

Photo of Owen MarshallTimaru-based writer Owen Marshall has published or edited almost thirty books, including novels, short stories and poetry including Living as a Moon, Watch of Gryphons, Carnival Sky, The Larnachs and Drybread. His 1999 novel Harlequin Rex won the 2000 Deutz Medal for Fiction at the Montana Book Awards. He has held fellowships at the universities of Canterbury and Otago and in Menton, France. Marshall is an adjunct professor at the University of Canterbury, which awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in 2002. In 2000, he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature and in 2012, a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2013 Marshall was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in fiction.

Marshall used his residency to complete a contemporary novel concerning a love affair between a mature couple, one a widower, the other married, in which he will explore the power of such emotional attachments and their sometimes irrational and damaging consequences.

Marshall shared his time with Witi Ihimaera.

Witi Ihimaera – 2015

Witi Ihimaera – 2015

Photo of Witi IhimaeraWiti Ihimaera is a novelist, short story writer, anthologist and librettist, was born in Gisborne. He is of Te Whanau A Kai and Ngati Porou descent with close affiliations to Te Aitanga A Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Tūhoe, Te Whakatohea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Ngati Kahungunu. His works include Tangi, The Matriarch, The Whale Rider, (which was made in to a film by Niki Caro in 2002), the semi-autobiographical Nights in the Gardens of Spain, and The Parihaka Woman. A memoir, Maori Boy has just been released by Random House. Ihimaera became a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004, for services to literature.
Ihimaera used his time at the Randell Cottage to work on a second volume of his three-volume memoir Native Son, covering the period 1961 to 1990, a trajectory that sets his life against national and international history, delineating the professional dilemmas as well as the personal. The residency enabled him to consult his own archives at the J.B. Beaglehole Room and also the Foreign Affairs archives at the National Library.

Ihimaera shared his time with Owen Marshall.

Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut – 2014

Thanh-Van Tran-Nhut – 2014

Photo of Thanh-Van Tran-NhutThanh-Van Tran-Nhut was born in Hue, Viet-Nam, in 1962. Her family moved to the US in 1968, then three years later moved to France. After finishing high school in France, she went back to the US to attend university. Thanh-Van earned a BA in Math and Physics from Whitman College and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

She worked several years in France before starting to write, with her sister Kim, the story of a detective, Mandarin Tan, set in 17th century Viet-Nam. They wrote two novels together before Tanh-Van kept the series going on her own. It proved successful and several of the books have been translated into Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian and German.

Thanh-Van’s Randell project ‘Kawekaweau’ (Au Vent des Iles, 2017) is the story of a scientist who receives a package and a challenge from a former girlfriend: his task? to unravel the engima of the kawekaweau, the giant gecko of Maori myth.

Tina Makereti – 2014

Tina Makereti – 2014

Photo of Tina MakeretiTina Makereti is the author of two books: a novel, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Vintage 2014), and a short story collection, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa (Huia Publishers 2010), which won the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards Fiction Prize 2011. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (non-fiction), and in the same year received the Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story Written in English. In October 2012 Tina was Writer in Residence at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, and in 2013 she was Curator-at-Large for the New Zealand Film Archive. Tina has a PhD Creative Writing from Victoria University, and teaches creative writing at Massey and Victoria Universities. She is of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Pākehā and, in all probability, Moriori descent. She usually lives on the Kāpiti Coast with her partner, daughters, unruly dog, and three bossy chickens.

Tina’s project is an historical and allegorical novel based on the experiences of the indigenous people, in this case, a Māori child, who were exhibited in Victorian London, and elsewhere in Europe, as cultural artefacts and oddities. She’s planning a first-person narrative which will explore the dehumanisation and loss of dignity involved.

Estelle Nollet – 2013

Estelle Nollet – 2013

Photo of Estelle NolletEstelle Nollet was born in 1978 in the Central African Republic and moved to France a few years later. Following her studies as a graphic artist in Paris, she worked in advertising in France and elsewhere, before taking up a second career as a diver and working as an instructor in a number of countries (Australia, the US, New Zealand, Mexico…). She says diving into the world of silence is like discovering a book in movement where there’s a new story happening mutely every second.

Estelle has published two novels, both with major publishing house Albin Michel. Her first, On ne boit pas les rats kangourous (2009) (You don’t drink kangaroo rats), is set in Australia, where she has travelled. It has been compared to the work of Cormac MacCarthy, and was awarded several prizes for emerging novelists.

The second novel, Le bon, la brute, etc (2011) (The good man, the brute, etc) took ou the Prix Gironde (for ‘new writing’) and is described as an international road-movie novel.

Estelle Nollet plans to write at the cottage for four months, from January to early May 2013.

Denis Welch – 2013

Denis Welch – 2013

Photo of Denis WelchDenis Welch is a poet, novelist, journalist, editor, media commentator, columnist and biographer. The Wellingtonian has also been described as a ‘serial maker of puns’.

His project, while resident at Randell Cottage, is a biography of former New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Denis says he is enjoying the cottage’s proximity to parliament and to the National and Turnbull libraries. Denis has stood twice for Parliament for both the Values and Green Parties, and has published a biography of Helen Clark, Helen Clark – A Political Life (Penguin), and a novel.

Denis says the six-month residency is a huge boost for him and for the book he’s working on, giving him time and space to focus on the writing. A former deputy editor for the New Zealand Listener, he is also a bulletin editor and media commentator for Radio NZ National.

Peter Walker – 2011

Peter Walker – 2011

Photo of Peter WalkerPeter Walker works as a journalist in London, and is the author of the historical memoir The Fox Boy (Bloomsbury 2001) set in Taranaki, and a novel, The Courier’s Tale (Bloomsbury 2010), set in the court of King Henry VIII.

Peter began work on The Dominion newspaper in 1976 before leaving Wellington to work in Australia, then moved to the UK in 1986 to work for newspapers including The Independent and Independent on Sunday, where he was Foreign Editor. He has also written for the Financial Times and Granta.

Peter Walker will use his six months in Randell Cottage to work on completing a novel provisionally entitled The Watcher’s Diving, which is set in New Zealand, the US, India and Lebanon.

Florence Cadier – 2011

Florence Cadier – 2011

Photo of Florence CadierFlorence Cadier was born in 1956 and is a journalist by profession. In 1995, inspired by her two children Bastien and Valentine, she began to write children’s stories and young adult novels. Many of her books have been translated including Qui est Laurette? (Who is Laurette?), Les miens aussi (Mine too), Ils divorcent (They are getting divorced), 24 histories pour attendre Noël (24 stories for the lead-up to Christmas) and Dessine avec Mila (Drawing with Mila). She was awarded a number of prizes, including the town of Poitiers’ historic novel award and the Literary Al Terre Ado prize, for Le rêve de Sam (Sam’s Dream). Her most recent novel is L’été des amours (Summer of loves), published in March 2011 by Oslo.

Florence has already taken part in several writers’ residencies both in France and abroad: In the Val de Nièvre, Tunisia and Bulgaria, and this year she studied screenplay adaptation in Paris. Florence is also an anthologist and a publisher, and holds writing workshops for children: “I find this work very invigorating. The young people really give it their all and their writing is of a high standard.” Apart from writing while she is at Randell Cottage, Florence will also lecture, attend conferences and take writing workshops at Alliances Françaises, universities and schools. Finally, in conjunction with the Tjibaou Centre in Noumea, Florence Cadier will tour New Caledonia.