Imagine having a room in which to write, with a heavy old door that keeps the noise out, in a building that has stood strong for more than a century.
I had a room like that. In the Arts Centre in Christchurch, the old University of Canterbury.
Then, at lunchtime on 22 February 2011, a violent shallow shaking sent hunks of stone hurtling down like meteors. All tenants had to vacate. We returned, over weeks and months, with vans and trailers to clear out our studios and shops.
Thankfully, for the people of Canterbury, who have lost so many old buildings, the Arts Centre is being repaired.
The visitors’ room in the Michael King Writers’ Centre is another lovely quiet place for writers to work. In 2011 they kindly offered free accommodation to Christchurch writers affected by the earthquakes.
Maria has an English degree from Massey University and is a graduate of the Hagley Writers’ Institute. She writes stories for children, short stories (several of them published) and biographies of interesting people (for the subject to use as they wish), who have more life behind them than ahead of them. She has been a visiting writer at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2011 and 2012.