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Tim Corballis awarded Berlin Writers’ Residency


Tim Corballis awarded Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency

Tim Corballis, described as “one of the bright young hopes of local literature” and voted on to a top ten list of New Zealand writers under 40, has been awarded the 2005 Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency.

The Wellington writer will take up the eleven-month residency in August this year and is looking forward to working on his fourth novel, as well as honing his German language skills so that he can read work by German writers in the original language.

The biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency is funded through the organisation’s Arts Board. Worth approximately $65,000, it covers the rental cost of an apartment situated in the heart of Berlin, and provides a $3000 a month stipend and travel allowance to the recipient.

The selection panel, made up of literary practitioners and chaired by Arts Board member Lydia Wevers, was impressed by the proposal’s high literary merit and the writer’s “willingness to engage in a challenging project that will stretch his writing technique and take him in new directions”.

Corballis completed his Masters in Creative Writing with distinction at Victoria University in 2000 and won the Adam Foundation Prize for his first novel, Below, which was published by Victoria University Press in 2001.

His second novel, Measurement, was published a year later. In a review of Measurement, Iain Sharp wrote that Corballis was “one of the bright young hopes of local literature ... for readers of a philosophical bent, it’s among the most stimulating books of the past 12 months”.

In 2003, Corballis was the recipient of the six-month Randell Cottage Writers’ Residency in Wellington where he worked on his third novel, The Fossil Pits, to be published by Victoria University Press later this year.

He has also written numerous short stories and essays, including A Calculus of Experience, which was shortlisted in the 2004 Landfall Essay Competition. In May 2003, he was voted fifth in the New Zealand Listener’s top ten New Zealand writers under 40.

In Berlin, Corballis will undertake research and work on his fourth novel, comprising three thematically linked novellas. At least one of the novellas is set in Europe and partly in Berlin.

“For years, I’ve been influenced by the translated works of German writers and I’d like to develop my German to the point where I can appreciate the original texts,” he says. “The residency is also a great opportunity to continue researching and developing my current project, at the same time forming closer connections with German writers and writing.”

Arts Board Chair Alastair Carruthers says the residency has inspired new and exciting work from its previous recipients: Sarah Quigley, Tina Shaw, Kapka Kassabova and Philip Temple.

“This residency is highly regarded by the literary sector,” he says. “It’s a chance for writers to immerse themselves in the cultural life of Berlin, build important networks and work on their projects for a sustained period of time. Tim is a talented young writer who will benefit hugely from this professional development opportunity.”

The Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency is the organisation’s largest residency for writers. It alternates with the biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists’ Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

As well as supporting other international residencies for artists, the Arts Board 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. It also supports the Randell Cottage Writers’ Residency.

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