Artist, potter, conservationist and railway enthusiast Barry Brickell has been a visiting writer at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The centre is privileged to have been able to host Barry and provide a place where he can work on his latest creative endeavour – writing. While he has stayed at the centre he has worked on a history of Driving Creek, his memoir and poetry.
Barry lived in Devonport as a child and returned to his old haunt to work on a range of writing projects. He stayed at the centre each winter for several years, when it is too cold to work on his pottery.
Barry has devoted more than 30 years to establishing the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries in Coromandel Town. There he has built New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain raily with magnificent engineering, unique art features and replanted native kauri forest. Barry writes:
“My introduction to contemporary art came through near neighbour Keith Patterson followed by my contemporary Hamish Keith and his associates at the Auckland Art Gallery in the mid to late 1950s. I attended Colin McCahon’s evening classes in 1959……Writing has become an essential dimension and I now need to pursue it with as much energy as I had earlier put into more physical pursuits. I am very grateful to the Michael King Writers’ Centre for giving me a special opportunity to pursue my work which otherwise could have resulted in yet more put-offs. Any result of my residency needs to acknowledge the great range of acquaintances and friends who have contributed to a very rich life in every sense of this word. I yearn to pass on my inner joie de vivre, warts and all.” — Barry Brickell, Coromandel, April 2009.