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Arts Board announces Berlin residency for writers

A new writers’ residency in Berlin, Germany has been announced by the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

The one-year residency at the prestigious Künstlerhaus Bethanien will be advertised later in the year as a part of the Arts Board’s international residencies programme. Last year, Christchurch visual artist Peter Robinson was awarded the residency at the Berlin museum and this year, the Arts Board decided to offer the residency to a writer.

Art Board Chair Christopher Finlayson said the residency acknowledged the wonderful contribution that New Zealand writers made to the culture of New Zealand.

“It will provide a writer with a sustained period of time to devote to writing in a stimulating environment,” he said. “Other artists’ experiences show that international residencies also help build valuable networks and open doors to new markets.”

The Arts Board was in the middle of its two-day meeting to decide on project funding when Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the Government’s $86 million funding package to the cultural sector. Creative New Zealand received a one-off sum of $20 million and in mid-June, it will be announcing details of its Future Strengths and Seriously Maori strategies, plus new initiatives supporting individual artists.

In the second funding round for 1999/2000, the Arts Board received a total of 639 applications for grants requesting more than $9.5 million. In the end, the Board offered 213 grants totalling $2.45 million.

At its meeting, the Arts Board also discussed opportunities for artist residencies within New Zealand and agreed to extend the types of residencies that could be available across a range of artforms.

“We’ll be looking to form new partnerships so that artists will be able to work in a variety of exciting environments,” Mr Finlayson said.

Currently, the Arts Board co-funds five writers-in-residence programmes at universities in New Zealand, plus a residency for a children’s writer at the Dunedin College of Education.

Mr Finlayson said that international opportunities for writers are also supported through the project funding rounds. For instance, last year Yvonne du Fresne received a $5000 grant to spend three-months as a writer-in-residence at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Three grants supported projects fostering literary trans-Tasman ties. The New Zealand Book Council was offered $10,000 to support three New Zealand writers participating in Australian festivals and to host two Australian writers within New Zealand.

Auckland writer Tessa Duder, whose novel The Tiggie Tompson Show, won the senior fiction category of the 2000 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, was offered a grant of $1000 supporting her participation in seminars and a four-day tour in Victoria, to be organised by the Australia Centre for Youth Literature.

The New Zealand Poetry Society was offered $3000 towards the cost of bringing an Australian woman poet to tour New Zealand, conducting workshops and taking part in poetry seminars. The Society was also offered a grant of $6000 for a five-day tour of South Island poets to the lower North Island in late 2000.

Among the support to writers for new work was a grant of $18,000 to established Wellington writer Joy Tonks to research and write an authorised biography of opera singer Dame Malvina Major.

Also supported to write novels were Patricia Grace of Porirua ($20,000); Tessa Duder of Herne Bay, Auckland ($9000); Tina Shaw of Waiheke Island ($9000); Christine Johnston of Dunedin ($9000); and Laurence Fearnley of Christchurch ($9000).

Writers offered grants to complete young adult novels include Vivienne Joseph of Raumati, Kapiti Coast ($9000); Jack Lasenby of Te Aro, Wellington ($9000); and Mandy Hager of Melrose, Wellington ($5000).

Other grants supporting the creation of new work include:

 $9000 to David Geary of Auckland to write a collection of short stories

 $12,000 to Alistair Te Ariki Campbell of Pukerua Bay, Porirua to write a poetic sequence about his brother, killed as a member of the Maori Battalion in Italy in 1945

 $9000 to Stuart McKenzie of Newtown, Wellington to write a collection of short stories

 $9000 to John O’Connor of Christchurch to write a collection of prose/poetry

 $12,000 to Cilla McQueen of Bluff, Southland to write a collection of poetry.

Under the Creative and Professional Development funding programme, grants supported a national science fiction conference and a summer writing school for young writers.

The Cond’Or Committee was offered a $1000 grant to hold the 21st national science fiction convention in Wellington in June 2000. The grant will be used to help with accommodation and workshop expense of literary guests Tad Williams (San Francisco) and Sean McMullen (Melbourne).

Respected Wellington writer and tutor Fiona Kidman was offered $5000 to conduct a one-week summer school for writers aged between 16 and 19 years. Kidman trialled the course in January 2000, which catered for 14 teenagers and featured guest lectures.

“Few, if any, courses exist for people in this age bracket,” Kidman said. “Exam pressures and unit standard requirements mean that most students effectively forego creative writing for its own sake from about the age of 15.”

A range of projects were supported under the Presentation, Promotion and Development funding programme. These include:

 $6000 to New Zealand Publishers Export JAG of Auckland for a book stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world attended by 800 publishing companies, to be held in October 2000

 $2000 to Auckland University Press to publish a new collection of poetry by Lauris Edmond, accepted for publication before Edmond died in 1999

 $3000 to David Ling Publishing of Auckland to publish a novel by Joan Rosier-Jones

 $5000 to the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival to promote and organise the biennial Festival, to be held in Masterton, October 2000

 $5000 to Longacre Press of Dunedin to publish young adult novels by Bernard Beckett and William Taylor

 $2500 to Random House New Zealand of Auckland to publish a memoir by Margaret Scott

 $4000 to the Vancouver Writers Festival for Witi Ihimaera to participate in the festival

 $3000 to Victoria University Press of Wellington to publish a novel by Damien Wilkins.


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