Visiting Writers 2013
Christine Hayvice was born in Hawera in 1949. She began writing as a child with stories and poems published in the Pixie Pages of the New Zealand Women’s Weekly. She has lived in Canada for forty years, where she has been a social activist, editor and journalist. Her day job for 32 years was with an international airline where she was also a trade union representative and used her travel benefits to return to New Zealand each year. She was a member of the performance group the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union and the feminist writers and artist group Sex, Death and Madness. Since 2008 she has been researching and writing a history of her family, Russian Jewish immigrants ,who arrived in Wellington in 1910 and set up secondhand shops and tailoring businesses. She is now retired and lives several months of each year in New Zealand. In 2012 she completed a Diploma in Creative Writing at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where she began work on a collection of short stories based on family tales. These stories include dead bodies, a love affair, racetrack shenanigans and a suicide, set in and around Wellington.
“My five week term as a visiting writer at the Michael King Writers’ Center in Jan/Feb 2013, was rewarding and inspirational. The accommodation is luxurious and the harbour outlook is glorious. A place where a writer has everything one could desire. All I had to provide was food.
“During my stay I worked on revising a set of short stories based on the antics of my very entertaining relatives. I also wrote a few new pieces. I held a literary reading at the house to test out my writings on family members and to see if the content was sufficient to appeal to a broad range of readers who knew little or nothing about my family.
“The house was ideal for such an experiment. I was thrilled that 30 people showed up on the appointed day, bearing food and liquids. I had the very good fortune to share the house with singer/composer Don McGlashan who was the Writer-in-Residence. Don agreed to provide music in between the sets of readings. Long time friends, singing duo, Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiard also sang for the audience.
“My friends and relatives loved the opportunity to see inside the house and marvel at the panoramic views over the harbour. Some hadn’t even known of its existence, and were comfortably seated for two hours of entertainment. The house was a perfect venue.
“I was thrilled with the outcome of the day. The audience appreciated my stories. I felt validated by the responses from both family and friends and it has encouraged me to continue with my work, to finish what I have begun and to write new stories.
“I’ve fallen in love with the Michael King Writers’ Centre. It’s a serene and peaceful place. I know that I will return. It is a wonderful environment to live and work in, away from all the stresses and routines of daily life.
“My thanks to the staff, Karren and Tania and the volunteers, including the fine gardeners Carol and Caroline, for making my stay so pleasurable.”
- Christine Hayvice, February 2013.