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Elizabeth Knox to receive Michael King Writer’s Fellowship

Elizabeth Knox to receive Michael King Writer’s Fellowship

Creative New Zealand says this year’s $100,000 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship will go to author Elizabeth Knox to write a memoir based on her experiences of illness and violent death in her family.

One of New Zealand’s best-loved writers, Knox says she wants to write about “the four years during which, among other things, my mother was diagnosed as suffering from Progressive Bulsar Palsy (a form of Motor Neurone Disease) and I was her principle caregiver and my brother-in-law died as a result of an act of intentional violence.”

“I want to write a very personal story that intersects with lots of people’s experience – their experience if not now, then one day.”

The selection panel for the award (Kate Camp, David Hill and Iain Sharp) were unanimous in their enthusiasm for the project:

“The project excites and engages me, and I'd love to see her complete it.”

“She's at the top of her game and already has a big following and the subject matter for her memoir -- how to cope with ageing, mental illness and violent death in the family -- will interest almost everyone. I expect the finished book (or books) to be an international bestseller, much as Joan Didion's grief memoirs The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights were.”

“I feel that Knox has the chops to carry it off and write a compelling and profound book. I finished the application thinking – I want to read this book (and also, I’m scared to read this book).”

Elizabeth Knox will be the twelfth recipient of the Michael King Fellowship since its establishment in 2003. The award was renamed in recognition of the late Michael King for his contribution to literature and his role in advocating for a major fellowship for New Zealand writers.

The fellowship is available to established New Zealand authors of any literary genre with a significant publication record. It is offered annually for writers working on a major project which will take two years or more to complete.

Previous recipients of the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship are Fiona Farrell, Owen Marshall, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead, Rachel Barrowman, Neville Peat, Dame Fiona Kidman, Philip Simpson, Kate De Goldi, Peter Wells and Dr Peter Simpson.


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