The Robert Burns Fellowship is New Zealand's premier literary residency. It was established in 1958 by a group of anonymous Dunedin citizens to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns, and to perpetuate the community's appreciation of the part played by the related Dunedin family of Dr Thomas Burns in the early settlement of Otago. The Fellowship aims to encourage and promote imaginative New Zealand literature and to associate writers with the University.
The annual, 12-month Fellowship provides an office in the English Department and not less than the minimum salary of a full-time university lecturer. It is open to writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biography, autobiography, essays or literary criticism who are normally resident in New Zealand, and who, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, have established by their published work, or otherwise, that their writing would benefit from their holding the Fellowship.
See the list of all previous Robert Burns Fellowship recipients
Robert Burns Fellow 2023: Kathryn van Beek
The Dunedin-based multidisciplinary writer has published a collection of short stories, Pet, authored plays, written and illustrated children’s books, authored television and podcast series, and contributed to news media.
During the Fellowship she will work on a second collection of short stories, Delight.
“I hope to explore dark themes in fresh ways, drawing from the beauty and resilience of the natural world to leave readers with a sense of hope. Flawed human protagonists will share the pages with jewelled geckos, baby hedgehogs and mythical creatures."
“I’m looking forward to meeting the other Fellows, getting to know University staff and students, reading lots, and having ‘no required duties other than to write’. The Fellowship will give me the opportunity to experiment, dream, and play,” she says.