Dan Davin Literary Foundation Writer in Residence 2023 – Expressions of Interest

Tim says: From personal experience, I can say the Dan Davin Literary Foundation does a great job of looking after their writers – if you’re a short story writer, I encourage you to check this out and apply!

Logo of the Dan Davin Literary Foundation, including an image of a bust of Dan Davin

In 2023 the Dan Davin Literary Foundation is calling for expressions of interest from established New Zealand short story writers to undertake a Writer in Residence based in Invercargill for 3-6 weeks.

This is a new residency which we host on a biennial basis and started in 2019. This residency has been made possible through a generous bequest from Laurie King and the support of the Southern Institute of Technology.

In 2019 our inaugural writers in residents were Majella Cullinane and Maxine Alterio of Dunedin. They undertook a joint residency for 6 weeks in Southland. As part of their stay they went above and beyond, hosting a range of workshops and public talks across the region. We appreciate the great start they gave us for this residency programme. In 2021 we hosted Colleen Maria Lenihan, who arrived just in time for the August lock down. Despite this she was still able to experience all Murihiku has to offer.

In 2023 we are looking to host the writers in residence programme again. This residency is for an established short story writer who wishes to spend 3-6 weeks in Southland. The residency includes a trip to Stewart Island and to Milford Sound for the writer as well as accommodation and a stipend. In return we ask that the writer provides writing workshops for Southland residents and if possible and appropriate participates in public engagements. We also ask that they provide some commentary on their experience for our Facebook page and website.

The specific skills we are looking for from the resident are the ability to teach writing workshops.

In 2023 the Dan Davin Award for adults will be short story writing. The writer in resident may wish to be the judge for this competition.

Residency expectations:

  • The Residency length is at the discretion of the resident but is expected to be between 3-6 weeks and should conclude at or around 1st of September (Dan Davin’s birthday)
  • The Resident is expected to deliver the Dan Davin Lecture as part of the Dan Davin Award on or about 1 September
  • Accommodation will be provided for the resident. This possibly at Yule House, a historic home in Invercargill run by SIT. This is a 3 bedroom home which may be used by visiting tutors at SIT while the residency occurs
  • It is expected that the resident will stay in the accommodation provided for the duration of the residency
  • A stipend of $500 per week will be paid to the resident
  • The Foundation will cover costs of one return trip to Invercargill
  • Use of a vehicle can be arranged for the resident as required
  • As part of the residency the resident undertakes no less than 2 workshops for high school students and adults
  • The resident writes several blog or Facebook posts which the Foundation can use to showcase the residency
  • As part of the residency the Foundation will arrange a 2 night trip to Stewart Island and a Milford Sound experience
  • A co-working space will be available for writing if requested
  • This residency will not allow partners and children to stay at Yule House

If you are interested in applying for the Dan Davin Literary Foundation Writer in Resident please write to us care of dandavin@xtra.co.nz

Please provide the following information:

  • A brief outline of your writing experience (note this residency is for established writers)
  • A brief description of the work you would like to do
  • Experience in tutoring both students and adults
  • How many weeks you would be interested in being resident and proposed dates
  • If the above expectations are suitable for you

Expressions of Interest close 31 March 2023. We expect to notify the successful applicant by the end of May 2023 following a shortlisting process.

For any questions, please contact us through our email address above.


Rebecca Amundsen
Chair, Dan Davin Literary Foundation

Judging And Presenting The Dan Davin Literary Awards

In April, I took part in the Readers and Writers Alive! Literary Festival in Invercargill, and had a great time. Hamesh Wyatt, Rebecca Amundsen and the Dan Davin Literary Foundation really know how to look after visiting writers – in a way that makes them feel a part of the community they are visiting – and if you ever get the chance to attend the Festival, my advice is: take it!

But my association with the Dan Davin Foundation didn’t end there. I also took on the job of judging the Open and Student short story competitions, and I returned to Invercargill on 1 September to present the prizes.

I didn’t know it when I chose the winners, place-getters and honourable mentions, but the identity of the winners turned out to be stories in themselves, one sad and one happy.

As the student section winner, I chose “A Day at the Beach” by Pooja Pillay. What I didn’t know was that Pooja was seriously ill by the time I made my choice. She learned of her victory the day before she died, a few days before the presentation ceremony, as reported in the Southland Times.

As the Open section winner, I chose “The Journey of the Magi” by Claire Buckingham. While the Student competition is confined to senior high school students from Southland schools, the Open competition is open to entrants from throughout New Zealand, and this appears to have been the first time that a Southlander has won the Open section. (Not that I knew this when judging – the entries were anonymous.)

There were a number of other very fine stories among the placegetters and Honourable Mentions, and as I said in my Judge’s Reports, both the present and the future of Southland writing appear to be in good hands.

Given the circumstances, the presentation ceremony (at which Bill Manhire also delivered the annual Dan Davin Lecture) was a bittersweet affair. I presented the open competition awards first – there was a lot of applause at the news a local writer had won, but Claire is away on her travels and wasn’t able to receive the prize in person – and the student competition awards second.

This meant that Pooja’s award was the last announced, and having announced her as the winner, I then handed over to representatives from Pooja’s school, Aparima College. One of Pooja’s fellow students gave a moving eulogy that focused on the difference Pooja’s presence had made to the school and to her fellow students, then her English teacher read Pooja’s winning story before we settled back to listen to Bill’s lecture.

Some of us were still chatting away over food and drinks the best part of an hour after the formal parts of the evening finished, and this discussion only reinforced my feeling that the main thing holding writers back in Southland is not any lack of ability, but isolation, both real and perceived. I know the Dan Davin Literary Foundation has some big plans to help ease that isolation, and I am looking forward to seeing those plans come to fruition.