International guest writers


Each year the International Institute of Modern Letters invites leading international writers across a range of genres to teach masterclasses for current students of the MA in Creative Writing, and appear in public events in Wellington. A sample of previous international guests includes Guillermo Arriaga, Stephen Burt, Santo Cilauro, Teju Cole, Richard Ford, Jonathan Galassi, Janice Galloway,  Vona Groarke, Lee Gutkind, Jen Hadfield, Joy Harjo, Michael Hofmann, Michael Hulse, Michelle de Kretser, Ben Lewin, Kei Miller, Andrew Motion, Andrew O'Hagan, Mal Peet, Ron Rash, Mary Ruefle, Michael Schmidt, Robert Shearman, Karen Solie, and Scarlett Thomas.

2017 has shaped up as the year of the novelist. Our first guest for 2017 was the London-based novelist and playwright Stella Duffy. The Italian novelist Viola di Grado visited in late May (with thanks to Victoria's School of Languages and Cultures), and we look forward to a masterclass from Australian novelist Charlotte Wood in July.

Read about guest writers from previous years at the links below.

Stella Duffy (May 2017)

London-based author Stella Duffy stopped in at the IIML on 8 May for a half-day Masterclass with MA students from the Script, Fiction and Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction workshops.

Stella, an acclaimed playwright and novelist who was raised in Tokoroa and is an alumna of Victoria University, had students up on their feet with improvisation for writers, exercises in 'exploding the moment', finding imagery, and tapping into different stages of the imaginative process using physical postures.

In a trouble-shooting session she invited students to share specific questions about their own projects, and offered advice on point of view, choice of form, character, redrafting and story structure. She gave frank, encouraging and pragmatic insights about the writing life, and left the group with a range of ideas to further explore over the coming months.

Stella Duffy is a writer and theatre-maker. Born in London, she spent her childhood in New Zealand. She has written 14 books: nine literary novels and five crime novels in the Saz Martin series. Her most recent novel is London Lies Beneath (2015). She has worked in theatre for 35 years as an actor, comedian, director, playwright, improvisor, devisor and workshop leader. She has performed in Improbable Theatre's highly acclaimed Lifegame throughout Britain, off-Broadway and in New York and Australia. She has also recorded several players and a sitcome for BBC Radio 4. Stella is co-director, with Sarah-Jane Rawlings, of the Fun Palaces campaign for wider participation in all forms of arts and culture.

Read more:

British Council Literature listing

Fun Palaces: how did it begin? by Stella Duffy

Stella Duffy in her own words, Guardian 17 May 2017