Joanna Cho is this year’s University Book Shop Emerging Writer in Residence, and she will be taking up the Residency, in the Robert Lord Writers Cottage, in early January 2022.
Cho was born in South Korea, her family moved to Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland when she was two, and now she lives in Te Whānganui-a-Tara/Wellington. She currently works at Playmarket, and as a freelance writer. In 2020, she completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters and received the Biggs poetry prize.
Her writing has been published widely in journals across Aotearoa, including A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand (AUP), Somewhere a Cleaner (Landing Press), Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (OUP), The Spinoff, Stasis, Sweet Mammalian, Hainamana, Starling and Landfall.
During the residency she will work on her forthcoming book People Person, which will be published by Victoria University Press. A mix of poems, essays and re-tellings of traditional Korean folk tales, with watercolours by her mother, the book will explore conflicting ideas of goodness, of fulfilling roles, making the right decisions in this one life, and ultimately what it means to be successful, or a people person. With a strong, clear and wry voice, Cho writes about her mum, of bridging cultures, about intimacies, and basketball.
“Each year we receive around 20-30 applications for the next residency with many accomplished writers applying,” says UBS General Manager, Phillippa Duffy. “We’re committed to supporting the next generation of New Zealand writers and, in some small way, help them ready their work for publication.”
Six years ago University Book Shop (Otago) acknowledged and celebrated the awarding of Dunedin’s UNESCO City of Literature status by creating this Emerging Writers Residency. The residency is delivered in partnership with the Robert Lord Writers Cottage Trust, with the recipient spending six weeks in Ōtepoti with accommodation at the cottage and a stipend from the bookshop.