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Otago announces recipients of James Wallace Residency


Thursday 21 December 2017 1:07pm

Writer Majella Cullinane (left) and composer Chris Cree Brown are the 2017-2018 recipients of the James Wallace Residency.

The University of Otago has announced five new recipients of its prestigious three-month James Wallace Residency and Scottish Writers Fellowship, based at the historic Pah Homestead in Auckland.

In association with the University of Otago, the James Wallace Arts Trust annually supports this opportunity for arts practitioners such as writers, curators, film-makers and composers.

Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Ballantyne says the University deeply values it connection to Sir James, a distinguished alumnus, and the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre.

“The collections at The Pah are exceptional, showcasing the range and depth of contemporary New Zealand art,” says Professor Ballantyne.

“It is a tremendous setting for scholars, artists and writers to think and create. We believe this partnership offers great opportunities to support and enable a range of creative work of the highest quality.”

The 2017-2018 recipients of the James Wallace Residency are writer Majella Cullinane (16 October 2017 to 12 January 2018) and composer Chris Cree Brown, who will take up his Residency between 22 August and 22 November 2018 at the TSB Bank Wallace Centre – an Italianate-style historic homestead situated in Auckland’s Monte Cecilia Park.

Scottish Writers Fellowship recipient Lesley Glaister.

The Scottish Writers Fellowship is also based at the Homestead. Its recipients for 2018 are writer Damian Barr (whose Fellowship is from 15 January to 15 April 2018); and husband and wife writers Andrew Greig and Lesley Glaister (1 May 2018 to 10 July 2018).

Current Wallace Residency recipient Majella Cullinane is a former Robert Burns Fellow and winner of the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for Emerging Poetry in 2006 and the Sean Dunne Young Writer’s Award for Poetry, Ireland, in 2005. She has held four other writer’s residencies during her distinguished career to date.

Majella is using the residency to continue her creative and research interests into New Zealand society pre and post-World War 1.

Scottish writers Fellowship recipient Andrew Grieg.

"I was really delighted to receive the Pah residency and to have the opportunity to write in such an inspiring and beautiful place,” says Majella.

When he takes up his Wallace Residency, former University of Otago Mozart Fellow and prolific Canterbury-based composer Chris Cree Brown is planning a range of possible projects to add to his vast list of compositions.

This includes a commissioned concerto for the violin/viola, a piano Trio for the NZTrio and a work to be performed at the inaugural concert of the Christchurch Town Hall.

The multi-award and prize-winning composer since 1975 says he was “elated” at learning he had been awarded the residency.

“It will be a wonderful opportunity to write music uninterrupted for three months and will give me an opportunity to taste a flavour of the Auckland music milieu.”

Scottish Writers Fellowship recipient Damian Barr.

Awarded the Scottish Writers Fellowship, Damian Barr will take up his residency at The Pah from 15 January to 15 April next year.

During the Fellowship Damian plans to focus on editing his forthcoming novel titled You Will Be Safe Here, which will be published in 2018. He is also interested in hosting a Literary Salon while in Auckland as part of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

Scottish-born Damian says he fell in love with New Zealand on a book tour in 2016.

“This residency gives me the chance to discover a whole country full of stories which I hope to share with the world and it’s a thrilling new chapter of my writing adventure.”

Andrew Greig and Lesley Glaister will be resident at The Pah from 1 May 2018 to 10 July 2018.

Andrew is the author if six acclaimed books of poetry and five novels, including the Saltire-Award-winning In Another Light, That Summer, When They Lay Bare and Romanno Bridge.

Andrew and wife Lesley Glaister live in Orkney and Edinburgh. He plans work on his novel titled Padua – a novel based three Scotsmen at the University of Padua.

Andrew hopes his time at the Pah Homestead will help him focus and sharpen his ideas on wirting his latest book.

Lesley Glaister is a fiction writer, poet, playwright and teacher of writing. She teaches creative writing at the University of St Andrews and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She received both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask award for Honour Thy Father (1990), won the Yorkshire Post Author of the Year Award in 1993 for Limestone and Clay; the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered for Little Egypt (2014) and has been short and long-listed for literary prizes for her other work.

They are both looking forward to strengthening the literary ties between Scotland and New Zealand, thanks to the ongoing generous support of the Pah residencies.

“When we learned we had been awarded the Otago University Pah Writing Fellowship, I hollered Whoopee! We are each immersed in current novels, while having long had an ambition to spend time in New Zealand - now we have the opportunity to combine both,” he says.

Lesley says she is honoured and excited to have been given the opportunity to visit New Zealand and engage with its vibrant literary culture.

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