Playwright Robert Lord to be honoured with Dunedin Writers Walk Plaque

By Vanessa Manhire | Posted: Thursday May 11, 2017

Playwright Robert Lord (19451992) is to be honoured with a plaque in the Dunedin Writers Walk in the Octagon.

A pioneer of New Zealand playwriting, Lord was a co-founder of Playmarket, the powerhouse of writing for theatre in this country. He was based in New York throughout the 1980s and was a leading figure in the New Dramatists group. After holding the University of Otago’s Burns Fellowship in 1987, he returned to live in Dunedin in 1990, and died there on 7 January 1992.

Lord’s commitment to New Zealand writing is reflected in his decision to make his Dunedin cottage available to writers after he died of an AIDS-related illness at the age of 46.

The Robert Lord Writers Cottage Trust provides rent-free accommodation in Robert’s refurbished workman's cottage for writers in any genre who come to live and work in Dunedin.

As well as hosting visiting writers for periods of 4 weeks to 6 months, the Trust also partners with other Dunedin organisations to offer two annual residencies: the University of Otago College of Education / Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence (currently Mere Whaanga) and a summer residency for emerging writers in assocation with University Book Shop (Otago).

Trust chair Nonnita Rees says the unveiling of a plaque celebrates both Lord’s standing as a playwright and his generosity to other writers through the establishment of the residency. “Robert wanted to make his home a place of welcome for writers who want to come to Dunedin to write and take part in the city’s literary life.”

Lord will be the 24th author to be honoured with a plaque in the Writers Walk. The most recent addition was Dan Davin in 2015. Other authors include Janet Frame, James K. Baxter, Roger Hall, Lauris Edmond and Witi Ihimaera.

The plaque has been funded by the AAW Jones Trust, supported by the Robert Lord Writers Cottage Trust and the Dunedin Writers Walk Advisory Committee. It will be unveiled at a free public event assisted by Playmarket and the Fortune Theatre as part of the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival on Friday 12 May.



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

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