The Michael King Writers’ Centre was set up in 2005 in memory of historian and biographer Michael King.
Michael King led the way in exploring New Zealand’s cultural identity and wrote the top-selling Penguin History of New Zealand. He was at the peak of his career when he died tragically in an accident in 2004.
He lived on the North Shore for a time and was deeply involved in the Frank Sargeson Trust, which maintains the Sargeson house in Takapuna. Knowing from his own experience how difficult it is for New Zealand writers to support themselves while they work, he was keen on the idea of having a writers' centre to support New Zealand authors and promote the country's literature. Following his death, his friends and literary colleagues decided to realise this dream.
The centre aims to support New Zealand writers and to promote all aspects of New Zealand's literature, including fiction and non-fiction.
It is based in the historic Signalman’s House on Mt Victoria/Takarunga in Devonport, which was made available to the trust by the North Shore City Council, now part of the Auckland Council. The house was renovated in 2007.
The house is a quiet retreat, set in a reserve with panoramic views of the Waitemata Habour, yet it is close to the vibrant Devonport village and ferries to Auckland city. The house has two bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and a dedicated writer’s studio in the rear garden for the writer-in-residence.
We offer a programme of supported residencies for New Zealand writers and low-cost accommodation for visiting writers who need a quiet place to work. The centre also organises workshops, literary events and has a collection of resources for writers.
The project’s major partners are the Auckland Council, Creative New Zealand and the Lion Foundation. The ASB Community Trust has provided substantial support for projects and workshops. The University of Auckland is involved in the six-month residency which has been offered each year.
The project is overseen by the Michael King Writers' Studio Trust, which employs a part-time manager and support staff.
The Michael King Writers' Studio Trust received the 'New Zealand Trust of the Year' award for 2007 from the NZ Trustees Association.
The trust is a registered as charitable trust by the New Zealand Charities Commission (registration number CC25972), with tax exemption status for donations.