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BNZ Katherine Mansfield Awards

Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Awards Hold Key to Writers’ Futures

If it weren’t for winning a prestigious writing award, Tracey Slaughter’s manuscript would still be gathering dust on a publisher’s pending pile.

Instead, the winner of last year’s Premier Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award will have her first book, Her Body Rises, published shortly.

“Getting confirmation with the award gave my work the added recognition it needed. I’m so thrilled, it’s everything I’ve been working toward for so long,” says Tracey Slaughter.

Tracey Slaughter, a relative newcomer to the literary world, says her writing career has taken off since winning the award. In addition to responding to story requests from print media, the Thames mother of two pre-schoolers juggles writing poetry and short stories with lecturing part time at Massey University.

Tracey Slaughter says the response from her students has been tremendous.

”The award has given my students faith that writing has a recognised place in New Zealand. It shows them that if you commit to your creative process, you can succeed,” she says.

Bank of New Zealand is calling for submissions for this year’s Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Awards – awards which have acted as career springboards for writers including Vincent O’Sullivan, Frank Sargeson, and Keri Hulme. Bank of New Zealand has sponsored the awards for more than 40 years.

The judges for the three awards categories in 2005 are announced today as:

Marilyn Duckworth, Premier Award judge Joy Cowley, Young Writer’s Award judge Norman Bilbrough, Novice Award judge.

“Bank of New Zealand is very pleased to be principal sponsor once again for the Katherine Mansfield Awards and we are proud to be fostering new writing in New Zealand. I sincerely hope talent will emerge from these awards that will add to the literary fabric of our country,” says the Bank’s National Sponsorship Manager, Richard Allen.

Marilyn Duckworth, OBE, says she will be looking for stories that first of all make her feel something: sympathy, recognition, surprise and which in particular display a balance of literary skill and compassion. The Premier Award carries a prize of $10,000.

Bank of New Zealand is particularly keen to ensure secondary schools throughout New Zealand hear the call for submissions, given one of New Zealand’s most respected and cherished authors, Joy Cowley, will be this year’s Young Writer’s Award judge. The Young Writer’s Award is open to all secondary school students from 13 to 18 years of age and carries a prize of $1,500 for the winner and $1,500 for the school.

The judge of the novice category, Norman Bilbrough, says he’ll be looking for stories with a beginning that propels him through the work, and which have characters with whom he can empathise. The Novice Award carries a prize of $1,500 and is open to entrants who have not previously had creative writing published or broadcast for payment.

“This is a competition of the first rank, and an excellent launching pad for New Zealand writers – I’m thoroughly looking forward to reading the stories,” says Norman Bilbrough.

Previous Novice Award winners include Tracey Slaughter in 2001. She went on to win the Premier award in 2003.

Bank of New Zealand has been the sole sponsor of the Katherine Mansfield Awards since they began in 1959. The awards and the Bank’s relationship with the Beauchamp family have historical significance: Katherine Mansfield’s father, Sir Harold Beauchamp, was the first Chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, a role he held for 17 years.

Entries close on June 30 and the three winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Entries must be submitted under a pen-name, the only name that may appear on the manuscript. Entries can be submitted on-line through www.bnz.co.nz or via entry forms available from any Bank of New Zealand branch.

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