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Otago Announces 2005 Arts Fellows

12 October 2004

Otago Announces 2005 Arts Fellows

An internationally acclaimed novelist, an Auckland painter, and a Christchurch composer are the recipients of the University of Otago's 2005 Arts Fellowships.

The Robert Burns Fellowship has been awarded to novelist Catherine Chidgey, who will spend the year completing her fourth novel, presently titled Melusine.

"I'm just delighted," says Chidgey. "It means I have the space to write, and it's really good for my writing routine."

Chidgey's novels have received international recognition. Her second novel Golden Deeds was chosen as a notable book of 2002 by The New York Times Review of Books and the LA Times, and as a book of the year by Time Out magazine.

Her first novel, In a Fishbone Church, won the Betty Trask Award in the UK and was nominated for the Orange Prize. It was also awarded best first book at the 1999 Commonwealth Writers Prize, South-East Asia/South Pacific region, and was best first book at the 1998 Montana Book Awards.

Chidgey holds an MA in Creative Writing, a BSc in Psychology, and a BA (First Class Hons) in German Language and Literature, all from Victoria University. Her current novel is set partly in Berlin.

She has held a number of Fellowships, including the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in Menton (2001), and the Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing (jointly held) in 2003.

Auckland painter Rohan Wealleans will take up the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 2005. He won the Waikato Contemporary Art Award in 2003, and has had a number of solo and group exhibitions in the North Island.

Wealleans is known for working with multiple levels of paint, and while in Dunedin he will be concentrating on making "more ambitious, larger scale work." He is currently working on a "huge sculpture" for the Christchurch Art and Industry Biennial, and showing with Ivan Anthony Gallery (Auckland) and Hamish McKay Gallery (Wellington).

Christchurch composer, lecturer and teacher Rachel Clement has been awarded the Mozart Fellowship for 2005. She plans to focus on chamber music, work with a local orchestra or choir, and develop "one or more existing ideas into a substantial work."

Clement has a MMus (Composition) with Distinction, and a BMus (First Class Hons) from Auckland University, and lectures part-time at the University of Canterbury. She is also the National Secondary Schools Arts Coordinator for Music, and librarian for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

"I'm really excited by the opportunity - it's great to have the freedom to just compose," says Clement.

The Robert Burns Fellowship was established in 1958 to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns. The Fellowship aims to encourage imaginative literature and to associate writers with the University. Past Robert Burns Fellows have included Janet Frame, James K Baxter, Michael King, and Maurice Shadbolt.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship was established in 1962. Some of New Zealand's most renowned artists have been appointed as Fellows, including Grahame Sydney, Ralph Hotere and Shane Cotton.

Established in 1969, the Mozart Fellowship has benefited most of New Zealand's significant composers, including John Rimmer, Anthony Ritchie and Gillian Whitehead.


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