Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing

Supported by funding from Creative New Zealand

About Ursula Bethell

Ursula Bethell
Ursula Bethell portrait 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

Karen Healey

Writer in Residence
Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence 2017, Semester 2
Internal Phone: 92641

Karen Healey writes books and short stories about smart girls with tough problems and angry boys with secrets. She's the award-winning author of Guardian Of The Dead, The Shattering, When We Wake, and While We Run. When We Wake was recently adapted as a Radio New Zealand dramatic reading. She also appears in the geek podcast The Nerd Degree, teaches high school English, and volunteers for the Green Party. She's heard of weekends.

John Newton

Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence 2017, Semester 2
Room 606, Karl Popper Building
Internal Phone: 92624

John Newton is a poet, literary historian and weekend musician. He is the author of The Double Rainbow: James K. Baxter, Ngāti Hau and the Jerusalem Commune (VUP, 2009) and three books of poetry, most recently Family Songbook (VUP, 2013). Hard Frost: Structures of Feeling in New Zealand Literature 1908-1945, to be published by VUP in October, is the first instalment of a three-volume history of NZ literary nationalism. His main project for the residency is a book-length satirical narrative in verse, provisionally titled Slack Key Guitar. The setting is an imaginary Pacific Paradise, not unlike Waiheke Island. Its themes belong loosely to the unofficial history of Romanticism.

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:

Philip Braithwaite/David Howard (2016)
Coral Atkinson/Nick Gibb (2015)
Frankie McMillan/Vivienne Plumb (2014)
Geoff Chapple/John Pule (2013)
Helen Lowe/David Eggleton (2012)
Graeme Tetley/Eleanor Catton (2011)
Tusiata Avia (2010)
Victor Rodger (2009)
Rachael King (2008)
Philip Norman (2007)
Carl Nixon (2006)
Charlotte Randall (2005)
Graham Linsday (2004)
Catherine Chidgey/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/Gary Langford (1989)
Brian McNeill (1988)
Mike Johnson (1987)
Kevin Ireland/Rachel McAlpine (1986)
Graham Billing/Keri Hulme (1985)
Margaret Mahy (1984)
Murray Edmond (1983)
Barry Mitcalfe (1982)
Owen Marshall (1981)
Jennifer Compton (1980)
Michael Morrissey (1979)