Robert Lord Writers Cottage Trust announces residencies for 2021

Five writers have been awarded residencies for 2021, and applications are now invited for the 2022 Summer Writer in Residence, in association with University Book Shop (Otago).

The Robert Lord Writers Cottage Trust is delighted to announce that its residencies for the remainder of 2021 have been awarded to Angie Farrow, Emma Hislop, Pennie Hunt, Karen McMillan and Sudha Rao. The Trust is looking forward to welcoming all five writers to the cottage over the second half of the year.

Wellington-based playwright Angie Farrow will work on a full-length play with the working title ‘The Refusal’, which tackles climate change and centres on a young woman’s efforts to try and make a difference in fluctuating times. 

Taranaki writer and IIML graduate Emma Hislop (Kāi Tahu) will be working on a collection of short fiction, including two Otago-based stories.

Port Chalmers filmmaker Pennie Hunt will work on two projects: a feature-length film script and a limited television series.

North Shore author Karen McMillan will carry out research for a historical novel set in 1890s Dunedin.

Wellington poet and dancer Sudha Rao will undertake a multidisciplinary project combining choreographed movement with the written word.

Chair of the Board, Nonnita Rees says there was a record number of applications for 2021 residencies. “We are delighted by both the number and the quality of applications received this year, as well as the diversity of the writing projects proposed. Narrowing them down to the final five was a difficult process for the selection panel – we are thrilled that we’ve managed to fit as wide a range of writers and projects as possible into the time available.” 

Applications are open from 1 July to 20 August 2021 for the 2022 Summer Writer in Residence, in association with University Book Shop (Otago). This six-week residency for an emerging writer, supported by the University of Otago Summer School programme, runs from January to February 2022. As well as a stipend, the University Book Shop provides administrative support – and staff discount on books too! See for details.

Playwright Robert Lord bought his cottage in Titan St, Dunedin, after taking up the 1987 Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. Located near the university and the town centre, the worker's cottage has three furnished rooms and a courtyard garden. It has been run as a rent-free residency for writers since 2003. 

Current cottage resident Heather McQuillan is approaching the end of her six-month stay as the University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence for 2021. During her residency she has completed the first draft of a novel and is now working on editing it. "The Robert Lord cottage is conducive to writing,” she says. “I have a tiny window out to the world of student life, which is definitely influencing some of my work.”