2024 Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature — March 3, 2024
Applications are warmly invited for the Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency for 2024. Applications close at 11.59pm (NZST) on 31 March 2024.

The Caselberg Trust and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature are pleased to offer the Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency. The aim of the Residency is to provide international and Aotearoa New Zealand writers an opportunity to work on a substantial piece of creative writing and to foster connections among creative writers in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. There are no limits in terms of genre, language, or length of writing, and completion of the project during the Residency is not a requirement. The Residency is offered annually for a period of six weeks to writers from other UNESCO Cities of Literature and to Aotearoa New Zealand writers in alternating years. In 2024 the residency is offered from the beginning of November to mid December to a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency is run jointly and collaboratively by the Caselberg Trust and Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature. Funding from the Caselberg Trust is provided through a generous bequest by the late Margaret Egan.

History of the Caselberg Trust

The Caselberg Trust is a Charitable Trust formed in 2006 with the purpose of purchasing the home of the late Anna and John Caselberg, to use it to host creative residencies of national and international standing, and to support and facilitate creative projects within the Otago and Southland region. John Caselberg was Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 1961 and his writing included poetry, criticism, play writing, short stories, and essays. He is best known as a long-time friend of and collaborator with prominent Aotearoa New Zealand artist, Colin McCahon. Anna Caselberg was a significant Aotearoa New Zealand painter, and daughter of Sir Tosswill Woollaston.

The Trust raises funds from a variety of sponsors and fundraising events to maintain the house and to fund the Residency programme it offers.

Margaret Egan (1949-2020)

Margaret Egan was born and grew up in Sheffield in the UK and while in her working life of 35 years as an educator and linguist she lived in Neuss, Germany, she eventually returned to retire in Sheffield in 2014.

Margaret was passionate about all things creative. In her home and garden, she surrounded herself with numerous objects of beauty, ceramic pots, small sculptures, some quirky, some serious. Her walls were cloaked in wonderful artworks. She was an avid reader of literature, poetry and politics, The Guardian newspaper always spread on the kitchen table for most of the morning, with bits seeming to transport themselves into the living room for more reading during the afternoon or evening.

She was a photographer who travelled extensively, soaking up whatever was on offer – whether in the various art museums, on the streets, or in the back-blocks. Her images from around the world spoke of her close relationship with the natural world. They reflected nuances of landscape, patterns in hillsides, the play of light on autumn leaves, the fragile whisper of winter trees against a blank morning sky.

Margaret was a good friend to the Caselberg Trust having been introduced to the Trust by two very close friends who were founding Trustees. On her numerous trips to Aotearoa New Zealand she naturally became involved in the various events happening with the Trust, events that just happened to coincide with her visit, whether it was a working bee, a welcome event for one of the visiting residents, a poetry reading, or an art exhibition. Margaret loved the involvement. She loved the Trust and she really believed in what the Trust was doing.

Margaret invested herself in life.

However, sadly, in 2020, after a long illness, Margaret died.

Then, just over a year later, and most unexpectedly, the Trust received notification from a UK solicitor that Margaret had left a bequest to the Caselberg Trust and after much consideration it was decided to establish, in collaboration with Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, a Residency in her name to honour her life and the creative things she believed in and loved.

It is the Caselberg Trust Margaret Egan Cities of Literature Writers Residency.

An aerial view of the Caselberg House — Image by: Caselberg House

The Caselberg House and Charles Brasch Studio

The Caselberg House is situated in a quiet corner of Whakaohorahi Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula, 15 km from the city of Dunedin and on a city bus route. The house is a small one-bedroom house and overlooks Kamau Taurua Quarantine Island in the Otago Harbour. The house is big enough to accommodate a single person or couple.

In April 2017 the Trust built the well-appointed Charles Brasch Studio on the section. The artist’s studio is well insulated, light, and is the size of an average sized garage. It has power and water.


The Residency is for a period of 6 weeks from arrival on Saturday, 2 November until departure on Friday, 13 December 2024.


In 2024 the Residency is offered to a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand with at least one published work. The applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of Aotearoa New Zealand and currently resident in Aotearoa New Zealand.

What we offer

All residents receive a stipend of NZ$4,000.

NZ$3,500 of the stipend will be paid on arrival with the final payment of $500 held as a bond to be paid to the resident once all final financial transactions and reporting requirements relating to the Residency have been settled and a final inspection of the Caselberg House has been made.

In addition, Aotearoa New Zealand residents are eligible for reasonable travel costs associated with travel to and from their normal place of residence within Aotearoa New Zealand. All residents are responsible for booking their own return travel, health insurance and visas.

Accommodation is provided rent-free at the Caselberg House for the six-week duration of the Residency. Power and heating costs are to be met by the resident. There is an internet broadband connection provided, at no cost to the resident. (There is no telephone landline at the house.)

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