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Going Under comes out on top to win Adam Prize


12 December 2006

Going Under comes out on top to win Adam Prize

This year’s prestigious Adam Prize in Creative Writing has been awarded to Anna Horsley for her collection of stories, Going Under.

The $3,000 prize, which is supported by Wellingtonians Denis and Verna Adam through the Victoria University Foundation, is awarded annually to the writer of the best folio of writing in Victoria University’s renowned Master of Arts in Creative Writing programme. The prize has been doubled in value this year.

Ms Horsley said she loved the short story as a genre.

“I believe it’s a tragedy that short stories are a dying breed and I don’t know why in this day and age when people don’t have enough time that more short stories aren’t being read. I particularly admire short story writers Alice Munro and Richard Ford, and I hope that one day I will be able to write stories that are half as good as theirs.”

Ms Horsley said the year in the MA in Creative Writing programme had been wonderful.

“It has been such a blessing of a year and working with the other nine students has been fantastic. Bill Manhire was my supervisor and I found him to be such an incredibly supportive and engaging teacher.”

Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria, said there had been some formidably gifted writers in the 2006 MA in Creative Writing programme.

“But there was general agreement that Anna Horsley was an exceptional new talent. As one of her examiners wrote, ‘She’s the real deal’. It’s sometimes said that the short story is a dying form, but younger writers like Anna seem set to prove them wrong.”

This is the ninth award of the prize. Earlier fiction writers to win the Adam Prize are now well established names on the New Zealand literary landscape such as Catherine Chidgey, Tim Corballis, William Brandt, and Paula Morris.

The prize has only once before been won by a collection of short stories—William Brandt’s Alpha Male, which went on to win the best first book award for fiction at the Montana Book Awards in 1999.

Emily Perkins, who was the external examiner for Anna’s folio, said the 24-year-old had written wonderful stories.

“[They’re] exquisitely observed and recorded with delicacy and wit. They display a real gift for language and for the peeling back of surfaces to reveal sensation. It’s important to reiterate what a talent leaps out of this collection. Anna Horsley’s voice is distinctive, precise, and generous and it has been a true pleasure reading her stories.”


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