Writing In New Zealand


In 2018 Sue was awarded the prestigious Robert Lord Writing Residency in Dunedin, New Zealand, a UNESCO City of Culture, to research and write her project ‘In Search of Richard Seddon.’ The Robert Lord Writers Cottage residency is offered courtesy of the Playmarket, which playwright Robert Lord co-founded and the trust that administers his former home. He lived here for five years before he died in 1992, aged 46. He left the cottage to nurture other writers, offering them a place to work uninterrupted and rent-free. Chat

In 2019 Sue travelled to Dunedin from the United Kingdom to take up the residency to research Richard Seddon, one of New Zealand’s greatest Prime Ministers who was born in her hometown of St. Helens, United Kingdom.  Sue said: ‘Through this visit I have started to build a bridge between the influences of Seddon’s early years in St. Helens and his successful and purposeful life in New Zealand". 

  ‘While in Dunedin I was presented with a series of opportunities to further this aim and other aspects of my writing such as poetry inspired by my stay at the cottage.’


These are some of the outcomes of the residency, so far:

  1. ‘In Search of Richard Seddon’ an audio-visual presentation which Sue presents in person.  This narrates the fascinating life of Richard Seddon which starts in St. Helens and includes the cottage where he was born, the site of Daglish’s Foundry and the Vauxhall Factory, Liverpool where he worked. The presentation then moves to New Zealand and features Hokitika, Wellington and Dunedin. Sue has already presented this in St. Helens where it has been successfully received.
  2. The film ‘In Search of Richard Seddon’ which follows the process of the above but with film of Sue narrating poetry and prose at the places mentioned above.  The New Zealand filming was done during  her residency. This will be sent in hard copy and audio-visual copy to the Hocken Library and National Library of New Zealand for their archives.
  3. While Sue was ‘In search of Richard Seddon’ she wrote a narrative diary of the process of her project and this will be published in 2020/2021.  As well as being a personal account it also functions as a research tool for students/writers. This will also be presented to the New Zealand libraries mentioned above.
  4. While Sue was staying at the cottage, she was inspired to write a series of poems.  Eight of these are to be published in a limited book edition by Tara McLeod of the Pear Tree Press, New Zealand.  He produces letterpress books that are held in major libraries throughout the world including the Special Collections of the University of Otago and the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington.  The book is called ‘Poems from the Cottage’ and three specifically relate to her stay in the cottage.
  5. While in Dunedin Sue met Ruth Arnison. New Zealand organiser of the charity ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’ who is interested in doing a joint project for Dunedin featuring art and poetry bringing together two artists from opposite sides of the world.  Ruth has published one of Sue’s poems for the 2020 autumn edition of the publication ‘Poems in the Waiting Room.’ 
  6. Sue met up with Ian Laughlin of OAR (Otago Access Radio) and did a radio interview with him.  They are now working together on a cross continent poetry initiative whereby poets from New Zealand can have their poems broadcast on English radio and vice versa'

Forthcoming Publications:

'Poems from the Cottage' limited edition published by Pear Tree Press, New Zealand, 2020-21.

'In Search of Richard Seddon' published 2020-21.

'Secret Wigan' published by Amberley Publishing 2021.




Contact us

Sue Gerrard
Phone: +44 798 5556539 +44 798 5556539

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