Breadcrumbs

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.

2020 Writer In Residence - Richard von Sturmer

The University of Waikato's new Writer in Residence is set to take inspiration from a range of places in 2020.

Richard von Sturmer will take up the residency at the University of Waikato in January 2020. 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.

Richard von Sturmer is known in New Zealand for his musical performances.  The poet and lyricist, who has to date published seven books featuring a mixture of poetry, prose poems and creative non-fiction, will work on two projects during his residence.

The first, a collection of three hundred very short prose poems with the working title Slender Volumes, will be a mosaic of memories, fables, travel fragments and reflections on the current state of the world – climate change in particular.

His second project will take him to small towns in the Waikato and the neighbouring Waipa and Matamata-Piako regions – to Huntly, Ngaruawahia, Matamata, Kihikihi.  He will write site-specific pieces for each place, finding new ways of talking about their geography, their history, and their people.

Richard says that as a writer he embeds himself in a location and then writes from the present moment, being attentive to not only his surroundings but also to his inner world.  “As a writer you always have your antennae out, picking up images, snatches of conversation, ambiguities, anomalies and in general things that give a certain place its unique quality. I will do research on each town so that I can be aware of echoes from the past, but the real writing will be done very much in the present moment.”

Richard was based in the United States from 1991 to 2003, living and working at the Rochester Zen Centre, a Buddist community in upstate New York.  At the beginning of 2004, he and his wife returned to New Zealand and founded the Auckland Zen Centre in Onehunga.  “There is a Zen thread that runs through my work and I gain inspiration from Japanese literary forms, in particular haiku and tanka.”  He says the residency provides him with a special opportunity to work full time as a writer in an academic setting.

Professor Allison Kirkman, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences says that the Writer in Residence programme brings significant value to the University.  “Our Writers in Residence have a long history of enriching the student and staff experience at the University of Waikato.  We look forward to Richard bringing his writing skills and unique personal vision to the Waikato residency and to the cultural life of the University in 2020.”

Previous Writers in Residence

2019 Rosetta Allan
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