Dunedin was the first city in New Zealand to initiate a writer’s fellowship and today considerable support is provided to many writers through the multitude of awards, competitions and residencies on offer. Dunedin is passionate about the arts, serious in investing resources to grow a nation of talented artists, and always interested in collaborating with other creative cities nationally and countries internationally. There are an abundance of opportunities that aim to nurture and promote Dunedin and New Zealand writers and writing, open to those who are published and unpublished.


The Caselberg Trust and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature are pleased to offer the Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency. The aim of the Residency is to provide international and Aotearoa New Zealand writers an opportunity to work on a substantial piece of creative writing and to foster connections among creative writers in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. There are no limits in terms of genre, language, or length of writing, and completion of the project during the Residency is not a requirement. The Residency is offered annually for a period of six weeks to writers from other UNESCO Cities of Literature and to Aotearoa New Zealand writers in alternating years. In 2023 the Residency is offered to a writer from another UNESCO City of Literature.

The Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency is run jointly and collaboratively by the Caselberg Trust and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature. Funding from the Caselberg Trust is provided through a generous bequest by the late Margaret Egan.



The Caselberg Trust purchased the Broad Bay, Dunedin home of the late John and Anna Caselberg in 2006, with the aim of hosting creative residencies in the house. Since inception, the Trust has held a variety of creative projects and events, as well as hosting a number of well-known New Zealand writers and artists at the cottage. The Caselberg Trust’s ‘Creative Connections’ Residency support projects that reach out and make links across a variety of creative media, professional disciplines, and communities relevant to the planned project. Applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to engage in a creative project and processes, to collaborate effectively with creative media, and with communities relevant to their identified project.

Elizabeth Brooke-Carr Emerging Writers Residency

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature is excited to celebrate a new emerging writers’ residency, announced at a ceremony at Dunedin City Library on 10 July 2020. As well as the launch by writer Carolyn McCurdie of the late Elizabeth Brooke-Carr’s book, Wanting to tell you everything, the Caselberg Trust Elizabeth Brooke-Carr Emerging Writers Residency was officially unveiled. The Residency is a recognition of Elizabeth’s work, and the result of a hugely successful crowdsourcing campaign, itself a tribute to how much Elizabeth was valued and admired by Dunedin’s writing community.

Throughout her career Elizabeth mentored young people with emerging creative talents. She taught at many schools in Dunedin and was the inaugural writer-in-residence at Caselberg House. Because of the significance that the residency held for her, it is felicitous that others will experience a similar opportunity in her name. The Trust is expected to announce the first recipient late 2020 and the residency will begin in early 2021.

With the manaakitanga of the Trust, and the breathtaking views and peaceful surroundings at the cottage in Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula, emerging writers will be well positioned to take their writing to the next level. Encouragement and support for new voices precisely aligns with the kaupapa of Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature and we look forward to welcoming the first resident with open arms.


The Hone Tuwhare Trust was established in 2010 to restore Hone's crib at Kaka Point and establish a writers/artists residency there. Following his Burns and Hocken Fellowships, Hone had a strong affinity for Dunedin and strong connections with the creative community there. In 2014, the Trust commissioned a Conservation Report from Burgess & Treep Architects, and the Dark Light Collective undertook the first residency to photographically document Hone's South Island home. Some of the results can be seen on Instagram at dark_light_collective. Visit the Trust's website, Facebook and Pinterest to follow developments with the Trust.


Memorable accommodation for lovers of life and nature – a beautiful restored 1860s early settlers’ cottage. Charming, cosy, unspoiled and with modern facilities, it is the perfect retreat for writers.


Established in 2001, the Printer in Residence Programme was initiated to encourage an awareness of the print facilities in the library and to foster book-making both within the University and to the wider arts community. Each year, a printer spends a month or so working the presses in the Central Library’s Otakou Press room – creating a hand-printed book featuring the work of (mostly) New Zealand authors.

The main aims are to produce a book that would not normally be published by mainstream publishers or seen in bookshops, to keep the press technology alive and to be an outreach to all interested parties within the University and wider community.


The Robert Burns Fellowship is New Zealand's premier literary residency. It was established in 1958 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 and is open to published writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biography, autobiography, essays or literary criticism who are normally resident in New Zealand.


The Robert Lord Cottage in Titan Street, North Dunedin is on the fringe of the student campus, and was once the home of the playwright Robert Lord (1945-1992), who left it in trust as a rent-free writer’s residence. This hundred year old worker’s cottage features three furnished rooms and a courtyard garden and residents have included Gary Henderson, Renee, Jan Bolwell, Vanessa Rhodes, Vincent O'Sullivan, Branwen Millar and Paul Rothwell. Residencies of 3 to 6 months are available to New Zealand citizens.

Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust Residency: Where the unexpected happened by Sudha Rao


Ōtūrēhua in Central Otago has become a magnet for writers. In the Māniatoto, where the sky is big enough to contain all dreams, writers have come from all over the country to attend these retreats, to linger and soak in the magic, in the hope of weaving words into something wonderful.

In 2019, with half a dozen writers already living there, author Mike Riddell came up with the idea of running a writers’ retreat. He suggested that resident writers, among them poets, novelists, a screenwriter and an editor, as well as well-known former Poet Laureate Brian Turner, could teach workshops.  There would also be guest speakers and panel discussions, but mostly the retreat would be an opportunity for other writers to take time out from their normal lives and write.  

The main focus during the retreat is on providing you with time and space to work on a long-form project with the help of wonderful surroundings and a team of published authors who all live in the Ida Valley. There are communal meals, plenty of opportunity for discussion, great visiting speakers, and a marvellous final party to round things off.  

Some people have been attending year after year, so it pays to register early to get a place and arrange accommodation for yourself to avoid missing out.


The University Book Shop Summer Writer in Residence Award, in association with the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust, is open to emerging writers who are normally resident in New Zealand and write for adults, young adults or children. They may write in any genre including poetry, drama, fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels, biography, autobiography, essays or literary criticism. It is based in Dunedin, New Zealand’s UNESCO City of Literature. As an emerging writer’s residency ‘emerging writer’ can loosely be distinguished, particularly from a novice writer, as someone with at least one published significant work or a body of smaller works published in reputable literary journals, collections, anthologies or online equivalents. The residency aims to provide an opportunity for the recipient to work on a subsequent work, finalise writing or to help prepare a submission for further publication.

The recipient will be an applicant who, in the opinion of the University Book Shop Summer Writer in Residence Advisory Group, has established by their published work, or otherwise, that their writing would benefit from the residency. The residency runs annually for six weeks between the beginning of January and the end of February. The exact dates will change each year and will be concurrent with the University of Otago Summer School term. The final decision on the award and who the recipient is lies at the discretion of University Book Shop (Otago) Ltd.


Established in 1992, by the College of Education, the University of Otago is the only tertiary institute in New Zealand which offers a residency for a children's writer. Funded by the University and Creative New Zealand, it allows writers to work in a harmonious environment, surrounded by others who are in the business of reading and literature for  children.

This residency offers rent free accommodation in the historic Robert Lord Cottage on Titan Street, Dunedin and is open to established children’s writers who are normally resident in New Zealand.


The University of Otago Scottish Writers Fellowship at The Pah Homestead is a three-month literary residency in Auckland, New Zealand. It is open to writers of Scottish residency, background or affiliation and aims to encourage literary and cultural exchange between Scotland and New Zealand. Fellows are expected to take part in public programmes, and live in an apartment at the Homestead, above the Wallace Arts Trust and close to research centres.


© Copyright Dunedin City of Literature