Michelanne Forster is a playwright, scriptwriter, fiction writer and editor who moved to New Zealand in 1972 from her native California. She is a graduate of Auckland University and the Auckland Secondary Teachers College.
She was the Michael King/University of Auckland Writing Fellow in 2011. During her residency she lectured at the University of Auckland in the English Department, and she wrote a new one-act play, Always My Sister. Her children’s play The Butcher and the Bear was also produced by Time Out Theatre in October 2011. Don’t Mention Casablanca, was performed at the Court Theatre in Christchurch in 2012, Tic Tic (with Paul Barrett) in the 2010 Auckland International Comedy Festival and The Secret of Dong Ting Lake, performed at The Edge in 2010. Don’t Mention Casablanca was selected to be read at the Women Playwrights International Conference in Stockholm Sweden.
All but two of her historical plays have premiered at Christchurch’s Court Theatre and all have been produced throughout New Zealand, as well as professional stagings in the United States and Australia. They are: A Dream Romance (1986); Daughters of Heaven (1991); Songs My Mother Taught Me (1993); Lanarch – Castle of Lies (1993); and This Other Eden (1996). Both Larnach – Castle of Lies and Daughters of Heaven have been adapted successfully for radio: Daughters of Heaven was a finalist in the (1993) Mobil Radio Awards, and Lanarch – Castle of Lies won the Best Radio NZ Drama award in 1993.
Forster has worked on numerous television programmes and has written six plays for children: The Bungling Burglars; Mean Jean The Pirate Queen; Arabella and the Amazing Wardrobe; Musical Beasts; and The Secret of Tung Ting Lake. Her books for children are Rodney Rat and the Sunken Treasure (1983); Rodney Rat and the Sneaky Weasel Gang (1985); The Four-legged Prince (1985); Rodney Rat and the Space Creatures and The Butcher and the Bear.
Her non-fiction writing has appeared in A Passion for Travel (1998) and When It’s Over: New Zealanders Talk about Their Experiences of Separation and Divorce (1998). Her work also appears in Play Lunch (1996), an anthology of New Zealand writing. As a fiction writer, her stories have appeared in journals including Metro, Sport, Landfall, and Takahe. In 1996 she won the Takahe short story competition.
Michelanne Forster was Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury in 1995. She taught at the New Zealand School of Broadcasting in Christchurch for over a decade, and moved to Auckland in 2008. She was organiser of the Auckland Writers’ Studio programme for Playmarket.