Robert Burns Fellowship

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Robert Burns Fellowship
GenreLiterary awards
CountryNew Zealand

The Robert Burns Fellowship is a New Zealand literary residency. Established in 1958 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations of the birth of Robert Burns, it is often claimed to be New Zealand's premier literary residency. The list of past fellows includes many of New Zealand's most notable 20th and 21st century writers.[1]


The fellowship was established by an anonymous group (thought to have been instigated by Charles Brasch), to be awarded each year to "writers of imaginative literature, including poetry, drama, fiction, autobiography, biography, essays or literary criticism."[2]

The position is based at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. It provides a year's salary along with accommodation and an office for a writer in and around the university. Terms are for one year, although this may be extended to a second year in rare cases. The fellowship is named after Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. Dunedin was established by The Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland in 1848, and one of its founding fathers, Thomas Burns, was a nephew of Burns. The fellows often feature at the Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival.[citation needed]

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the fellowship, a book - Nurse to the imagination: Fifty years of the Robert Burns Fellowship - was launched in October 2008, along with commemorations to coincide with Dunedin's 2008 Arts Festival.[citation needed]

Robert Burns Fellows[edit]

The writers to have held the fellowship are listed below:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robinson, Roger; Wattie, Nelson (1998). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-19-558348-5.
  2. ^ "Fine collection of fellows." Otago Daily Times, September 20, 1998, pp 49 and 53.

External links[edit]