Victor Rodger

Victor's personal journey, as a gay Samoan man raised by Born-Again Christians in Christchurch has inspired his life-long love of writing.

A profile image of Victor Rodger.

Ethnicity: Samoan, Scottish

Writer in Residence, International Institute of Modern Letters

Victor Rodger has thrived professionally in a number of creative pursuits; first as a journalist and then a playwright. But it is his life-long love of writing that has stayed with him and led him to his current position as Victoria’s Writer in Residence for 2017.

“I’ve always had an interest in writing and initially became a news reporter after finishing high school. From there it’s been a fairly natural progression into theatre, then television, followed by film and now finally fiction."

“With fiction, I enjoy creating stories that I feel haven’t been told before with characters that I feel haven’t been seen before.”

Victor’s talent for writing has secured him a number of prestigious writing positions including the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency at the University of Hawai’i, University of Canterbury’s Ursula Bethell Residency and the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago.

His book Black Faggot and Other Plays was published in April 2017 and contains three plays. Black Faggot explores what it means to be gay; At the Wake is a family dramaand Club Paradiso is a brutal thriller.

He says it is his personal story that inspires his writing.

“I think being the gay son of an absent Samoan father and a very present palagi mother, and being raised as a born again Christian in Christchurch, has given me enough writing inspiration to last my entire lifetime.”

Victor says he is proud to be the first writer of Samoan descent to be awarded Victoria’s Writer in Residence.

“It feels right and I’m especially glad that the Pasifika students at the International Institute of Modern Letters where I’m based, can knock on my door at any time they feel like it.”

When offering advice to aspiring writers, Victor tells them to trust their instincts.

“Listen to your gut and tell your head to shut the hell up.”