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Philip Temple: CreativeNZ Berlin Writers Residency


Philip Temple awarded Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency

Philip Temple, recipient of the 2003 Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency, will return to a city that has fascinated him since his first visit to West Berlin in 1987.

The Dunedin writer, who was selected from a strong field of applicants, will take up the nine-month residency at the beginning of September. He plans to work on two writing projects - an illustrated novel set in the Czech Republic and a novel based on the life of a Berlin sculptor.

"Berlin's modern history, and the arts, music and architecture that grew out of it, is fascinating," Philip Temple says. "I witnessed the changing character of the city from the end of the Cold War period through the fall of the Wall and reunification.

"But it's five years since I was in Berlin, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to return and experience further changes to a city that I consider the cultural capital of Europe."

The 2003 Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency was announced by Creative New Zealand Arts Services Manager Rob Garrett on Saturday, 24 May at Wordstruck! 2003, Dunedin's biennial literary festival. Temple, whose biography on the Wakefield family, A Sort of Conscience, was published last year, appeared in a panel entitled Historical Latitudes.

The following week (Thursday, 29 May), he will appear in Christchurch's Books and Beyond Festival in An hour with Philip Temple. A fulltime writer for more than 30 years, he will discuss the different strands of his writing life. These include fiction, biography, travel, writing for children, nature and adventure writing, television documentaries and photography.

The residency is funded by Creative New Zealand through the Arts Board. Worth approximately $60,000, it covers the rental costs of the apartment, which is situated in the centre of Berlin, and provides a $3000 a month stipend and travel allowance to the recipient.

Arts Board Chair Murray Shaw says the residency offers Philip Temple a wonderful opportunity to reforge his links with Berlin and immerse himself in its stimulating cultural life.

"Philip is a senior writer whose writing is wide-ranging," Mr Shaw says. "The residency will help him strengthen the networks he already has in Germany. He will also be an admirable representative of New Zealand writers and writing at the various literary events he'll inevitably become involved in."

Philip Temple's 2002 travel memoir, The Last True Explorer, was published in Germany earlier this year as Schnee über dem Regenwald. He has also written six novels, including Beak of the Moon and To Each His Own, and says he will be seeking a German publisher for both of these novels.

Temple's partner, poet and novelist Diane Brown, will travel with him to Berlin for at least five months.

This is the fourth year that Creative New Zealand has offered the residency. Last year's recipient was Auckland writer Kapka Kassabova whose new poetry collection, Someone Else's Life, was published in Britain this month and will be published by Auckland University Press in July.

The Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency is the organisation's largest writers' residency. As well as supporting other international residencies for artists, Creative New Zealand's Arts Board currently co-funds five writer-in-residence programmes at New Zealand universities, plus a children's writer-in-residence programme at the Dunedin College of Education.

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