The University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence

The University of Otago is the only tertiary institute in New Zealand which offers a residency for a children's writer. Begun by the Dunedin College of Education in 1992, it allows writers to work full time in a compatible environment among colleagues who are concerned with the teaching of reading and literature to children. Remuneration of $28,000 is jointly funded by the University and Creative New Zealand.

The residency is open to established children's writers who are normally resident in New Zealand. The annual residency is for a six month period between February and August and includes an office within the College.

The residency is offered in association with the Robert Lord Trust which provides rent-free accommodation to writers in the historic Titan Street cottage bequeathed by the late playwright Robert Lord.

Go to more information about the Robert Lord Cottage residency.

Previous Fellowship recipients since 2008

All previous Fellowship recipients

Photo of Fifi Colston

Fifi Colston

University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence 2019

Fifi Colston is an award-winning junior fiction novelist, children’s book illustrator, and non-fiction author.

Many will know her from her time as arts and crafts presenter on TVNZ’s What Now and The Good Morning Show. Her talent has also seen her work with Richard Taylor’s Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson’s Stone Street Studios, Pukeko Pictures and The Production Shed as a costumier, puppet maker, illustrator and crafts expert.

She feels “incredibly honoured” by her appointment and is ready to embrace the opportunity it presents.

The Fellowship will enable her to work on a young-adult book “with an illustrated difference”.

“I have been playing with an idea for some time that encompasses the main strands of my creative career; writing, illustration and wearable art. I find I cannot comfortably forsake one passion for another and neither can my protagonist,” she says.

Along with providing the “absolute luxury” of being able to create a major work without having to worry about how to pay the bills, she is looking forward to getting to know the Otago area, and accessing relevant research which is only available at the University.


Otago Fellows University of Otago