An evening with Karin Serres

The evening of 27 March may well have been a dark and stormy night but the atmosphere inside the National was warm and welcoming, as current resident Karin Serres gave her audience an insight into her creative process, her information gathering (and magpie tendencies) and her journey from theatre to literature.

Karin’s next event in Wellington will be at the Alliance Française on 9 May. Details to follow.

Photos: Tim Gruar for the Randell Cottage Writers Trust.

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An Evening with Karin Serres

A scenographer by training, the Randell Cottage’s 2019 French resident is Karin Serres whose work traverses many genres – novels, picture books, plays, for stage and radio, and translation.

Join us for an evening of conversation, readings and reflection on the new perspectives that come from writing away from home on Wednesday 27 March at the National Library.

 

 

Wednesday, 27 March
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Programme Rooms, Ground Floor
National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets
Thorndon
RSVP: info@randellcottage.co.nz

 

The evening is a joint project of the Friends of the Randell Cottage, The Randell Cottage Writers Trust and the National Library, with the support of the Embassy of France in New Zealand.

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Peter Wells

Peter Wells
Photo by Liz Marsh

We were deeply saddened this week by the death of Peter Wells, the first writer to live and work in the Randell Cottage as the CNZ fellow. Peter was a filmmaker, a novelist, a biographer, an historian. He was instrumental in the establishment of two literary festivals. He wrote, and lived, with extraordinary elegance, grace, and humanity. His most recent work, “Hello Darkness”, released just last week, is his diary as a Stage IV cancer patient, first published on his Facebook page and then as a series of essays on The Spinoff.

The many moving tributes to Peter as an artist and a friend, such as these from Jeremy Hansen and David Herkt give a sense of his contribution to New Zealand film and letters, and to the lives of LGBTQI New Zealanders.

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“Chevening” apartment block gifted to Heritage New Zealand

In a remarkable yet typical act of generosity, Susan Price, who with her parents Beverley and the late Hugh Price, gifted the Randell Cottage for use as a writer’s residence has now donated “Chevening”, the Kelburn apartment block she recently restored, to Heritage New Zealand.

She discusses her decision to gift the building in this interview with the Dominion Post.

Susan’s history of “Chevening” will be published later this year.

The Price family’s generosity was also acknowledged by Fiona Kidman in the following letter, published in the Dominion Post on 19 February:

Price family’s generosity knows no bounds

I am delighted to see the acknowledgment of Susan Price’s magnificent gift of the Chevening apartment block to Heritage New Zealand (Feb 16).

This is not the only building of historical significance that Susan and her parents, Beverley and the late Hugh Price, have given away.

In 2001, I was one of a group of writing friends looking for a house to create a writers’ residency. Beverley rang me one day and said she had a restored cottage in St Mary St. It had once belonged to her great-grandfather, William Randell. She and her family would love us to have it. If we accepted the gift, she would see their lawyer and pop the keys in my letterbox when she was passing.

That is exactly what happened. The Randell Cottage Writers’ Trust was formed and, for the past 18 years, this charming colonial residence has been home to a New Zealand writer for six months of the year and a French writer for the other six.

Fiona Kidman, Hataitai

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RCWT ‘family’ well represented in Ockham long list

Oh! We don’t envy the judges of this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards – but we are delighted to see three members of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust family included in the longlist for best novels. They are Trustee emerita Fiona Kidman for This Mortal Boy (Penguin Random House), Tina Makereti for The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke(Penguin Random House) and Vincent O’Sullivan for All This by Chance(Victoria University Press).

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Karin Serres welcomed as 2019 French Writer in Residence

© Bertrand Couderc

A scenographer by training, Karin Serres, the Randell Cottage’s 2019 French resident is a novelist, a playwright, for stage and radio, and a translator. She writes for general and YA audiences and will be in Wellington till late June. Her Randell project is a sequel to her 2018 novel, Happa no ko le peuple de feuilles (Happa no ko the leaf people).

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Paddy Richardson Selected as 2019 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Photo of Paddy Richardson

Photo credit: Caroline Davies

Dunedin-based writer Paddy Richardson is to be the 2019 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow. Richardson has published seven novels and two short story collections. Her Randell project, The Green of Spring is the sequel to her 2017 novel Through the Lonesome Dark. Set in WWI New Zealand, it tells the story of young mining activist Otto Bader who is arrested as an ‘enemy alien’ and incarcerated on Somes Island along with others of Austrian and German origins.

Selection panel convener Stephen Stratford says “Many of us wanted to know what happened next for the characters in Through the Lonesome Dark, longlisted for the 2019 Dublin Literary Award, which is right up there with the Booker. For the sequel, Paddy will be able to research the Turnbull Library’s holding of letters and diaries of Somes Island inmates. A perfect synchronicity of project and residency.”

Richardson says she is delighted to be the 2019 resident and is looking forward to her six months in the capital.

The Randell Cottage Writers Trust was established in 2002.  The restored Category II historic building, gifted to the Trust by the Price family, hosts two writers a year; one from New Zealand and the other from France. It is currently home to Christchurch writer James Norcliffe. The 2019 French resident, novelist and dramatist Karin Serres arrives in Wellington in late January 2019.

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James Norcliffe at the National Library, 6 December 2018

We finish the year with a presentation from our current resident, James Norcliffe, at the National Library on Thursday 6 December, from 12:10 to 1:00 pm.

James wears a number of writing hats. He is a children’s writer, poet, editor, teacher of creative writing and promoter of poetry in Christchurch. Apart from a collection of short stories set in China, The Chinese Interpreter, and a few other short stories, he has rarely written fiction for adults. Hie time in the Randell Cottage has given him the opportunity to write a novel for grown ups.

His wide-ranging talk will include readings from recent published work and background on how the pieces came about and then – braving the superstition regarding talk of work in progress – he will discuss The Frog Prince, his current Randell Cottage project.

Time: 12:10 to 1:00pm
Date: 6 December
Venue: Programme Rooms, National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Street.

Admission: free, although koha is appreciated as a contribution to the maintenance of the historic Randell Cottage.

RSVP: info@randellcottage.co.nz

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Notice of Annual General Meeting

You are invited to the Annual General Meeting of Friends of the Randell Cottage Writers’ Trust to be held on:

Tuesday, 20 November 2018, 6.00 pm in the Gallery, Southern Cross, Abel Smith Street, Wellington.

Please RSVP to info@randellcottage.co.nz or call Robyn on 04 4764823 evenings by 15 November.

AGENDA:

  1. Welcome
  2. Apologies
  3. Quorum: 10 people
  4. Receive and approve the Minutes of the 25 October 2017, Annual General Meeting of Friends of the Randell Cottage Writers’ Trust
  5. Matters arising from the Minutes
  6. Receive and consider the Annual Report from the FRC Committee Chair
  7. Receive and consider the Annual Financial Statements from the Treasurer
  8. Receive and consider the following recommendation from the Committee of the annual subscriptions for the year (2018/19): that subscriptions for 2018/19 remain at $15.00 for seniors/students, $30.00 for individuals and families and $60.00 for businesses as set at the 2016 AGM.
  9. The election of the Officers of the Society:
    President: The Chair of the FRC Committee, Sian Robyns, has expressed her willingness to be nominated as President again
    Treasurer: Tracey Schuyt has expressed her willingness to be nominated as Treasurer
    Secretary: Robyn Skrzynska has expressed her willingness to be nominated as Secretary again
  10. The election of the three Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee:
    In accordance with the Rules:
    Tim Gruar and Leslie Brown have expressed willingness to be nominated as ordinary members of the Committee.
    There is room for the nomination of at least one ordinary member to the committee.
    Note: Any other nominations for President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Committee, with details of seconders (if any) and evidence of the willingness of the nominee
    to serve should be emailed to the Secretary at info@randellcottage.co.nz in advance of the meeting.
  11. Any other business.

The business part of the meeting will be followed by a speaker. Details to come.

Light snacks will be served.

 

Please RSVP to info@randellcottage.co.nz or call Robyn on 04 4764823 evenings by 15 November.

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Former residents honoured for lifetime contribution to New Zealand literature

Feminist and working-class stories, poetry as song, and a deeper understanding of New Zealand art – these are just some of the frontiers explored by this year’s winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

They are beloved Māori dramatist and fiction writer Renée, revered critic, curator and poet Wystan Curnow and admired poet, publisher and librettist Michael Harlow.

Wystan Curnow, Michael Harlow, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Renée, Monday 15 October, 2018

Wystan Curnow, Michael Harlow, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Renée,
Monday 15 October, 2018

Each has been awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature. Renée will be honoured for fiction, Wystan Curnow for non-fiction, and Michael Harlow for poetry.

“Our warmest congratulations to Renée, Wystan and Michael,” says Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan.

“Each of these extraordinary storytellers has a unique perspective on New Zealand identity, and has significantly contributed to our country’s literary landscape, creating a strong legacy for New Zealand writers.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington on Monday 15 October.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. New Zealand writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an external expert panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand for approval. This year’s selection panel was Jill Rawnsley, John Huria and Murray Edmond, chaired by Lauren Hughes.

full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

(Image: Creative New Zealand)

 

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Applications for 2019 CNZ RCWT Writers Fellowship now open

Applications are now open for the 2019 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writers Fellowship. The deadline for applications is Friday, 2 November 2018.

More information about the residency can be found here.

The successful applicant will be announced in December.

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