Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing

Supported by funding from Creative New Zealand

About Ursula Bethell

Ursula Bethell - portrait in garden with cat.
Ursula Mary Bethell (1874–1945) was a Surrey-born, Christchurch-based poet and artist. Ursula spent many of her days travelling between the two locations before settling down in Rise Cottage on the Cashmere Hills. Bethell's early works were published under the pseudonym Evelyn Hayes. The first of Bethell's collections, From a Garden in the Antipodes , is her best-known work, but Time and Place (Caxton, 1936) was her most valued: a compilation of poetry in memory of Bethell's close friend Effie Pollen. Ursula Bethell, recognised as one of the pioneers of modern New Zealand poetry, passed away in Christchurch on the 15th January 1945 at age 71.

History of the Residency

The Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing, jointly funded by the University of Canterbury Faculty of Arts and Creative New Zealand, was established by the University of Canterbury in 1979 to provide support for New Zealand writers and foster New Zealand writing. The Residency allows authors of proven merit in all areas of literary and creative activity an opportunity to work on an approved project within an academic environment. Since its inception the University has been home to 40 fiction-writers, poets and dramatists, a number of whom have made a valuable contribution to the development of young writers studying at the University. We have also had the opportunity to celebrate the successes of our Residents throughout the years, one of the most memorable being Keri Hulme's Booker Prize in 1985.

Current Writers in Residence

David Coventry is the current 2022 Writer in Residence.

David Coventry

Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence
Internal Phone: 91778

David Coventry is a novelist hailing from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington where he resides on a hill with his wife and cat. A former sound engineer and film archivist, David is the author of the The Invisible Mile (2015) and Dance Prone (2020). His novels have been published in over 15 countries and translated into five languages. The Invisible Mile - a re-imagining of the 1928 Tour de France and the construction of post-WWI memory - was awarded the 2016 Hubert Church Award for Best First Book. In 2015 David was the recipient of the Todd New Writer’s Bursary administered by Creative New Zealand. In 2022 he received a PhD from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University for his thesis on the pains of living and writing with ME/CFS. His works tend to deal with the aberrations of cultural, social and personal memory, examining the processes of memorialisation and historical construct. During his residency David intends to work on a novel that will conclude a series of books set in, and themed by dialogue with, places deeply foreign to the self. Set between New Zealand and Goa in the 1990s, the work will be a novel about privilege, about characters of little means living in positions of unconscious power they refuse to recognise.

Postal address for the Ursula Bethell Writers in residence:
English Programme
School of Humanities
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch, New Zealand

Former Writers in Residence:

Tina Makereti (2022)
Vana Manasiadis (2021)
Behrouz Boochani (2021) 
Nathan Joe
 (2020)
Amy Head (2020)
Alison Glenny (2019)
Lawrence Patchett (2019
Albert Belz (2018)
Lynley Edmeades (2018)
Karen Healey (2017)
John Newton (2017)
David Howard (2016)
Philip Braithwaite (2016)
Nick Gibb (2015)
Coral Atkinson (2015)
Vivienne Plumb (2014)
Frankie McMillan (2014)
John Pule (2013)
Geoff Chapple(2013)
Helen Lowe (2012)
David Eggleton (2012)
Eleanor Catton (2011)
Graeme Tetley (2011)
Tusiata Avia (2010)
Victor Rodger (2009)
Rachael King (2008)
Philip Norman (2007)
Carl Nixon (2006)
Charlotte Randall (2005)
Graham Lindsay (2004)
Catherine Chidgey(2003)
Gavin Bishop (2003)
Apirana Taylor (2002)
James Brown (2001)
Stuart Hoar (2000)
Norman Bilbrough (1999)
Alan Brunton (1998)
Brian Turner (1997)
Hone Kouka (1996)
Michelanne Forster (1995)
Kate Flannery (1994)
Sue McCauley (1993)
Fiona Farrell (1992)
Bernadette Hall (1991)
Mervyn Thompson (1990)
Kim Eggleston (1989)
Gary Langford (1989)
Brian McNeill (1988)
Mike Johnson (1987)
Kevin Ireland (1986)
Rachel McAlpine (1986)
Graham Billing (1985)
Keri Hulme (1985)
Margaret Mahy (1984)
Murray Edmond (1983)
Barry Mitcalfe (1982)
Owen Marshall (1981)
Jennifer Compton (1980)
Michael Morrissey (1979)