Monday, December 24, 2012

Michael King Writers' Centre

Newsletter - Christmas 2012

Signals poetry journalWhat a year 2012 has been. The year has simply raced by, especially the last few months.
The Michael King Writers’ Centre has hosted four wonderful writers in residence  and we have had 24 visiting writers staying in the front room for a total of 35 weeks. We have had two major residential workshops at Vaughan Park each with 25 writers and just about as many presenters. 
We organised events for Matariki, the Auckland Heritage Festival and the Devonport Arts Festival. We held workshops for young writers in many parts of Auckland as part of our Poetry Project workshops and the Young Writers’ Programme which will be repeated next year.  We capped the year off with the launch of Signals, a new literary journal for young writers who took part in the Young Writers’ Programme.

Eleanor Catton recently finished her six-month University Residency and headed back to Wellington. We hope to lure her back for workshops and events in future. We will miss Ellie, who is a fine writer and a delight have around, but we have an exciting line-up of writers coming in 2013Don McGlashan

Renowned musician and song-writer Don McGlashan will take up the eight-week Summer Residency in January to work on a new album of songs, followed by life-writer Deborah Shepard in Autumn.  Judith Bryers Holloway will hold the Maori Writer’s Residency from May, and novelist Sarah Laing will return for the six-month University of Auckland Residency to work on a graphic novel.
We were delighted that Whiti Hereaka, who held this year’s Summer Residency at the centre, was awarded the prestigious 2012 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in November.

We have had three new Trustees  come on board this year – Rose Evans, Iain Sharp and Rosalind Ali – who bring a wealth of expertise and new energy.  Trustee Geoff Chapple, who held the first residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2005 will be the 2013 Ursula Bethel Fellow at the University of Canterbury. He will follow David Eggleton, another former resident at the centre. Lynn Dawson has taken over the role of looking after the Devonport Friends group, bringing many great ideas for events and activities. She has replaced Ian Free who put in a huge amount of work over several years and whose energy will be sorely missed. We will also miss Kitty Wishart, who decided to step down from her role as coordinator of the residential workshop programme at the end of this year. She has done a fine job and will leave big shoes to fill. 
We are also very sad to note the passing of Valerie Grant, who generously made her Devonport waterfront flat available to the centre from time to time. She was a wonderful supporter and she will be sadly missed.
On the domestic front, the garden is looking magnificent thanks to hours of volunteer work and Tania Stewart keeps us all going with beautiful flowers and baking. 

We are pretty proud of what we have achieved this year, but we could not have done it without our hard-working Trustees, our partners, funders, supporters, volunteers and members of the Devonport Friends. Thanks to all of you who help us in so many different ways. We hope you have a safe, restful and happy holiday break and wish you all the best for 2013.

Seasons greetings and warm regards
Karren Beanland,
December 2012

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