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NZ/Shanghai Writers Programme


The Shanghai/NZ Writers Exchange programme has been a significant initiative fostering literary and cultural exchange between New Zealand and China. The programme was inaugurated with the Rewi Alley Fellowship in May 2013, when Huo Yan, a young writer from Beijing, became the first recipient of a two-month residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in New Zealand, funded by the NZ China Friendship Society. This fellowship provided an opportunity for Huo Yan to immerse herself in New Zealand’s literary and cultural landscape, and forge meaningful connections with local writers and artists.

The last recipient of the fellowship was writer Frances Edmond in 2019. After a hiatus forced by the Covid pandemic, the NZCFS Writers Exchange programme is set to resume in 2023/24, with a New Zealand writer being chosen to go to Shanghai in September 2023. The selected writer will enjoy two months’ residency in Shanghai, courtesy of the prestigious Shanghai Writers’ Association. This is a unique opportunity for a New Zealand writer to experience the literary and cultural scene of Shanghai, a vibrant and dynamic city with a rich literary tradition.

The programme offers an exceptional opportunity for an experienced New Zealand writer with published works to engage with the Shanghai Writers’ Association, the city’s most elite literary organization. There is no age restriction for applicants, and the selection process involves a committee of five people, including representatives from NZCFS, the Michael King Writers’ Centre, and an independent person. The committee will shortlist three names, which will then be sent to Shanghai for the final selection by the Shanghai Writers’ Association.

The successful applicants will have free accommodation in self-contained inner-city apartments in Shanghai, a small stipend towards living costs and paid air travel to Shanghai. They are invited to take part in discussions and literary events, but are able to work on a project of their own choice.

Applications for the exchange programme close on Monday April 24th and the selection is expected to be announced in late May. You can read more about the programme, download the application criteria, and submit your application at Shanghai Residency 2023 – Michael King Writers Centre.

The NZCFS Writers Exchange programme is a significant platform for promoting cultural exchange and understanding between New Zealand and China through literature. It provides an opportunity for New Zealand writers to explore and engage with the literary scene in China, and vice versa, fostering cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. The programme also serves as a platform for building lasting connections and relationships between writers from both countries, facilitating the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and stories. The resumption of the programme this year promises to be a significant milestone, further strengthening literary ties between New Zealand and China.