Writer in Residence

Each year the University of Waikato invites applications for the position of Writer in Residence, tenable for twelve months normally from February.  The emolument is jointly funded by the University of Waikato and Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.  The position is open to poets, novelists, short story writers, dramatists, and writers of serious non-fiction. The appointment will be made on the basis of a record of publications of high quality.

The Writer is required to live in Hamilton during the tenure of the award.  There are no teaching or lecturing duties attached to the award, the sole purpose of which is to give the Writer the freedom to write.  It is expected the Writer will participate in the cultural life of the University.  On occasion the writer will be able to take up residence in and make use of the Michael King Writers Retreat in Opoutere.

Applications are not open for the 2020 Writer in Residence

Enquires can be made to Assoc. Prof. Sarah Shieff, telephone 07 838 4466 extension 8425 or email:

2019 Writer In Residence - Rosetta Allan

The University of Waikato’s new Writer in Residence plans to work on a new novel with a whip in its tail.

Rosetta Allan will take up the residency for 2019. Jointly funded by the University of Waikato and Creative New Zealand, the position is open to poets, novelists, short story writers, dramatists and writers of serious non-fiction. There are no teaching or lecturing duties attached to the award, the sole purpose of which is to give the post holder the freedom to write.

Her first poetry collection, Little Rock, was released in 2007, and her second volume, Over lunch, in 2010. Her poetry has appeared in publications and anthologies in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, and in online literary journals. Rosetta's first novel, Purgatory, is based on the Otahuhu murders of 1865. Her second novel The Unreliable People will be published next year. It is set in both Russia and Kazakhstan, about a people called the Koryo-Saram (Soviet Korean) and their three-fold loss of cultural identity.

The Acting Dean of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Allison Kirkman says they are thrilled that Ms Allan has accepted the offer. “The range of her creative work, from poetry collections to novels, will enrich the cultural life for everyone in the School of Arts, as well as the wider University. This year the selection panel was faced with a very challenging task with a very strong field to choose from, and Rosetta should feel very proud that her application shone through.”

Rosetta Allan says becoming 2019’s Writer in Residence is an honor. “I intend to use the year, not only focusing on my current novel, but also giving back to the community what experience and knowledge I have gained as a published author, as well as encouragement for young writers in the early stages of the same journey.”

Ms Allan was drawn to University of Waikato two years ago when she taught the Writing Historical Fiction paper for the School of Social Sciences. The beauty of the Hamilton Campus helped charm her, and the people were an extra bonus. Over the year, her new work will be on a more contemporary novel set in provincial New Zealand. “There are near-historical elements in the novel that are drawn into the period of the Global Financial Crisis and the whip of its tail, like that of a comet that has left traces behind in the sky long after the comet has crashed to earth. This novel I have been thinking about for some years now, and it is already mapped out inside my head, so I have a feeling it won’t take me as long to write as The Unreliable People did.”

Previous Writers in Residence

2018 Therese Lloyd

2017 Bob Orr
2016 Steven Toussaint
2015 Mandy Hager
2014 Dr John Newton
2013 Professor Andrew Sharp
2012 Michael Morrissey
2011 Jeffrey Holman
2010 Albert Belz
2009 Catherine Chidgey
2008 Christopher Bourke
2007 Ken Catran
2006 Peter Wells
2005 Tina Shaw
2004 No appointment
2003 Mitch Thomas
2002 Kate Camp
2001 Anna Jackson
2000 John Dickson
1999 Beryl Fletcher
1998 Elspeth Sandys
1997 John Cranna
1996 John Pule
1995 Renee
1994 Michael King
1993 Mona Williams
1992 Maurice Shadbolt
1991 Tessa Duder