By University Bookshop | Posted: Thursday July 21, 2016

New Zealands first writing residency, the Robert Burns Fellowship, was established in 1958 in Dunedin marking the bicentenary of the birth of Robbie Burns. Now, 58 years later and to mark their seventy years of bookselling, Dunedins University Book Shop has created another New Zealand first with a bookshop-based annual residency for emerging writers.

“We often have writers who say light-heartedly ‘I could live here!’, and now with the help of the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust they almost can,” quips University Book Shop Otago manager Phillippa Duffy.

The summer residency, in association with the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust, provides an emerging writer up to six weeks’ accommodation in the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage, a stipend, and an office and administration base at the University Book Shop.

"The Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust was established to bring writers to Dunedin to write and to contribute to the city's literary life,” says Trust Chair, Nonnita Rees. “To date we have welcomed over fifty writers to live and work in the cottage. This exciting partnership with the University Book Shop takes us to a new level." The 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.

Duffy comments: “New Zealand writers and publishers are incredibly supportive of this bookshop, and have been over many years. With the generosity of the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust, this is one small way we can help emerging New Zealand writers to write new work or even develop or consolidate some of their existing writing ready for publication or performance.”

"This residency is a very exciting new initiative which will provide emerging writers with an invaluable opportunity to develop new work,” says Otago’s Kyle Mewburn, President of NZ Society of Authors. “It will further enhance Dunedin's long-standing reputation as a haven for writers, and help grow the city's international literary reputation. The collaboration between two of Dunedin’s iconic literary organisations – The Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust and the University Book Shop - also offers an exciting glimpse into the future possibilities for New Zealand's City of Literature."

Nicky Page, Director City of Literature, commented, “I am delighted about this fantastic ongoing opportunity for emerging writers, and applaud the collaborative vision of the University Book Shop and Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust.”

The residency will be announced at 6pm on Wednesday 20 July 2016 at the bookshop’s annual Midwinter Evening. Applications are accepted until 20 August 2016. The award recipient will be announced on 1 September: another date of New Zealand literary significance, being the birthday of University of Otago educated Rhodes Scholar, soldier, writer, historian and publisher, Dan Davin.


Phillippa Duffy, General Manager, University Book Shop (Otago) Ltd: phone 03 479 6976 or 021 0233 9635,

Nonnita Rees, Chair, Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust: phone 04 976 7233,

Kyle Mewburn, President, New Zealand Society of Authors: phone 027 862 1747,

Nicky Page, Director City of Literature: phone 021 810 057,

© Copyright Dunedin City of Literature