Happy New Year! We are very happy to have welcomed Claire as our first writer-in-residence for 2022.
Claire is a fiction writer and legal researcher based in Rotorua. Her fiction has been published in Sport, Landfall, Kapohau/Turbine and Takahē, and read on Radio New Zealand’s National Programme. In 2021 Claire was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing from the IIML and her doctorate was included in Victoria University’s Dean’s List for its ‘exceptional quality’. The novel, Dice, from her PhD, will be published by Allen & Unwin in New Zealand and Australia in 2023. Dice tells the story of a fictional sexual violence trial through the perspective of the jurors. The case raises issues of consent, date-rape, the use of social media and the justice system’s response to sexual assaults. By writing from the perspective of each juror, the novel also examines concepts of truth, bias and subjectivity. Claire’s residency will be spent partly editing Dice and partly working on a new novel, which also involves a trial, and explores our responsibility for our failures to act.
Claire was a senior law academic in Victoria University of Wellington’s Law Faculty for twelve years. Her legal writing has appeared in NZ and overseas. She has been involved in the Trans-Tasman Jury Study as an interviewer and researcher since 2013. Her novel, Dice, was informed by the critical component of her PhD which analyses the influence of rape myths and misconceptions on real juror narratives in actual sexual violence cases. It is based on a qualitative analysis of juror responses from the Trans-Tasman Jury Study – data which is very rarely available. She has jointly published an article based on this research in the VUW Law Review in 2021.