Creative NZ Randell Cottage Writers Trust turns 10 this week

Thursday 4 October 2012, 8:36AM
By Kathryn Carmody


Eight French and New Zealand writers who’ve lived and worked in Thorndon’s historic Randell Cottage are gathering to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the writers’ residency this week in Wellington. They will attend a reception hosted by the Randell Cottage Writers Trust, the French Embassy and Wai-te-ata Press; and will read from their work in French and English on Friday October 5 from 1-2.15 pm at the Wai-te-ata Press Printery (under the Victoria University library). All welcome.

The Thursday evening reception includes the launch of Gnossienne, a collection of poems and prints by Randell writer (2010)  Pat White and artist Catherine Day,  published by Wai-te-ata Press on its 50th birthday. After the public festivities, the writers will gather for an afternoon tea at the cottage to swap notes on their time there.

They range from the first resident writer, Peter Wells of Hawkes Bay, to the current writer Vivienne Plumb of Auckland, and include Michael Harlow (Alexandra), Whiti Hereaka (Wellington), Tim Corballis (Wellington), Nicolas Kurtovich (New Caledonia), Jennifer Compton (Melbourne) and Pat White (Gladstone). Another thirteen writers – mostly those living in France – have been unable to come the distance but many have contributed to a small publication in French and English being launched this week too.

Since 2002, the historic Randell Cottage in Thorndon, Wellington, has been home to twenty-one writers from France and New Zealand. The twenty-second writer (French) is to be announced this week arriving in January, and NZ writers are being called upon to apply for the next NZ residency starting July 2013 with a stipend that has been increased by $2,000 to $22,000.  Go to for details or email The deadline in November 2.

Trustee Fiona Kidman says, ‘This week we want to celebrate what each writer has brought to the cottage and what they’ve taken away, including their books - a number in translation - and their literary successes. And we want to celebrate the residency, and the cottage itself – all those words it’s played host to, all those writers it held in its hands.’

The Randell Cottage Writers Trust is supported by Creative New Zealand, the Embassy of France, Wellington City Council and the New Zealand-France Friendship Fund. For more information on the history of the cottage and the residency go to