Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing

Supported by funding from Creative New Zealand

About Ursula Bethell

Ursula Bethell
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 College 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

The 2020 Writers in Residence are Amy Head and Nathan Joe.

Amy Head's collection of short stories Tough (2013) won the Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction. Her first novel, Rotoroa, was published in 2018. She has a degree in English and History from the University of Canterbury and a Masters in Creative Writing from the IIML at Victoria. During the residency she will be writing linked stories about characters who live in present-day Christchurch, negotiating their lives and identities in a disrupted, transforming city. Amy is resident during the first half of 2020. 

Amy Head

Writer in Residence
Karl Popper Rm 601
Internal Phone: 90184

Nathan Joe is a Chinese-Kiwi playwright whose work deals with issues of racial or sexual identity through a postmodern lens. Joe’s plays have been staged and won awards throughout New Zealand. He has twice won Playmarket’s b425 award and has been shortlisted for the Adam NZ Play Award, which celebrates the best in new writing for the theatre. His work has also been selected for the Asian Ink development programme three times. Joe is also a respected theatre critic and dramaturg, and has been writer in residence of the Dunedin Young Writers Festival. His proposed UC residency projects include a radical reworking of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, which will act as a vehicle to explore the state of arts in contemporary New Zealand, and a series of scenes about physical and psychological ruptures, with themes of homecoming and returning, set in Christchurch. Nathan is resident during the second half of 2020.

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:

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)