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Sargeson Lecture to Feature Award-Winning Novelist

01 October 2014

Sargeson Lecture to Feature Award-Winning Novelist

Taking an imaginary place and making it seem real is something which novelist and short-story writer Catherine Chidgey is extremely good at. It’s this idea of place in her writing that she will address at the 12th annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture this month.

“Growing up, I was always looking for a place that belonged only to me – a place where I could indulge my imagination and be anyone I wanted to be,” says Chidgey.

Chidgey, who teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, will reflect on the ways in which the real world impinges on the imaginary in her lecture on October 16th, and explore some of the strategies a writer can use to breathe life into a fictional setting.

“I’m currently completing my fourth novel – a World War Two story – so I’ll be talking about the ways I have approached the content from what I hope is a fresh angle,” she says.

A former recipient of the Sargeson Fellowship and now a literary adviser to the Sargeson Trust, Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. They have been selected as books of the year by Time Out magazine (London), the New York Times Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times.

Her first novel, In a Fishbone Church, won Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific region) and the New Zealand Book Awards. Her awards also include the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award and the Prize in Modern Letters.

Elizabeth Aitken Rose, Chairperson of the Sargeson Trust, is looking forward to Chidgey delivering this year’s talk.

“The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture series commemorates Sargeson’s place in New Zealand letters in general and the generosity, advice and encouragement he gave to a generation of our writers to find their own unique voice. Frank’s legacy lives on through the literary fellowship set up in his name and it is absolutely fitting that this year’s lecture be delivered by a former Fellow, as we call for applications for the 2015 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship,” she says.

The 12th annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture ‘Knowing Your Place’ by Catherine Chidgey takes place on Thursday, October 16 at 5.30pm in S.G.03 (S Block, University of Waikato). There will be light refreshments after the lecture from 6.30pm. Co-hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Friends of Hamilton Public Library Association, the lecture is free and open to the public.

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