The Christchurch School for Young Writers continues to produce quality collections of writing by some extremely talented young people from all over New Zealand. The Polar Bear Ward is the seventh in the Re-Draft competitions and series of books and it’s heartening to see the “virtuousity and variety” of these poems and stories by pupils from Year 9 to Year 13.
These young writers have produced creative, intelligent and exciting work across a wide range of themes; much of it quite dark but with some lighter moments. Curmudgeons who despair for the future of the English language should be cheered by the skill on display here – creative writing is not only alive, it’s being done well.
Playwright and author David Geary has been announced as the 2008 Writer in Residence with the University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.
A dual citizen of Canada and New Zealand, Mr Geary returns to New Zealand from Vancouver Island to take up the 12-month residency where he will work on a number of projects, including a play for children based on the University’s internationally-acclaimed tuatara breeding programme.
His chief writing project however, is a full-length play based on Mark Twain’s 1895 lecture tour of New Zealand. Mr Geary says he is particularly interested in an incident in Wanganui when a man broke into Twain’s hotel room to warn him of an assassination plot. He is keen to hear from anyone possessing information, especially family stories, about Twain’s nationwide tour.