Briar Grace-Smith descends from Ngā Puhi and is an award-winning writer of plays, screenplays and short stories.
Her first play Ngā Pou Wāhine won the 1995 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award and Purapurawhetū won Best New Zealand Play at the 1997 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Her other plays include When Sun and Moon Collide, Haruru Mai and Paniora! which premiered at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, 2014. She has adapted her plays and written children’s stories for National Radio. Her plays have also been produced by Eyeworks as part of Atamira, Māori Televisions theatre series (2012).
Her writing for television includes Fishskin Suit, Being Eve and Kaitangata Twitch. She was a co-writer on the tele-feature Billy, which premiered in 2011.
Her first screenplay, The Strength of Water was selected for the Sundance screenwriters and directors labs and premiered at Rotterdam and Berlin Film Festivals in February 2009. In 2010 she received the New Zealand Writers Guild award for Best Screenplay. Fresh Meat, a comedy horror, screened at Tribeca Film Festival in 2013. She has also written Lilly and Ra – a short film for the United Nations in 2009. Nine of Hearts was her debut as a Director, premiering at the New Zealand International Film Festival, 2012.
She finished working as a Development Executive for the New Zealand Film Commission in 2014 and in 2015 taught ‘writing for theatre’ at IIML, Victoria University.
In 2000, Briar received the Arts Foundation Laureate award. Her short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, and in 2003 she was the Writer in Residence at Victoria University. She completed her MA in ‘writing for page’ in 2008. She worked as exhibition writer for Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museum in 2010.
Briar will be working on a short fiction project during her residency.
(Photo by Mike White)