Dr. Josef Schovanec named 2017 Randell Cottage Residency laureate
The Embassy of France in New Zealand and the Randell Cottage Writers Trust are pleased to announce the 2017 laureate of the Randell Cottage Residency, Josef Schovanec.
Josef Schovanec is a French writer, polyglot and activist for autistic people who has published four books including Voyages en Autistan (Plon, Paris) and Je Suis à l’Est !, the first memoir by an autistic person to be released by a major French publisher. His Randell Cottage book project focusses on developing a fictional narrative based on the story of an autistic friend’s journeys and research in the Pacific.
Josef was born in 1981 in the greater Paris region to Czech immigrant parents. After completing a degree at L’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies, he studied Hebrew, Sanskrit, Persian, Amharic, Azeri, Azerbaijani and Ethiopian at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations), on top of the Czech, German, Finnish and English, which he speaks fluently. His doctoral research, at the École des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), investigated the success Martin Heidegger’s philosophy enjoyed in France.
Josef Schovanec is also a weekly guest on radio stations Europe 1 (France) and la Première (RTBF, Belgium). In 2016, he was appointed as an advisor to the French Secretary of State for Disabled People and the Fight Against Exclusion.
Josef Shovanec will arrive in Wellington in mid-January 2017 for the five month residency. While in New Zealand, he will work on his next book and will travel on a speaking tour throughout the country.
About the Randell Cottage Residency
The Randell Cottage Writers Trust was established in 2001. The restored 1867 Thorndon cottage, one of Wellington’s ten oldest buildings, was gifted to the trust by the Price family and hosts two writers a year; one from New Zealand and the other from France. New Zealand novelist, poet and playwright Stephanie Johnston is the current resident writer.