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Deep-Pocketed American Delivers Windfall to NZ


The New Zealand literary community and Victoria University have again benefited from the philanthropy of Victoria University friend and American businessman, Glenn Schaeffer.

Bill Manhire, Poet and Co-Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) based at Victoria University today announced the launch and inaugural recipients of two new Modern Letters Fellowships. The Fellowships will be awarded annually to graduates of Victoria’s Creative Writing Programme and are each worth US$10,000. In the future recipients of the Fellowship awards may also be offered the opportunity to join the world-famous Writers' Workshop in Iowa.

The inaugural Modern Letters Fellowship award winners are Kate Duignan and Tim Corballis who both graduated with Distinction from the Victoria University MA in Creative Writing, part of the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Victoria University Press has published first novels from both of the recipients this year, Kate Duignan with "Breakwater" being launched today (September 6th) and "Below" by Tim Corballis which was launched in July.

According to Bill Manhire the value of the Fellowships is substantial in New Zealand terms. "The Fellowships offer significant support and come with no tags or conditions. They simply represent a gift of time and opportunity”, he said.

Unlike many other literary awards, the two Fellowships will be awarded to individual writers and not as prizes for particular works.

Fergus Barrowman, Victoria University Press Publisher “can't remember the last time two such good first novels came out in the same year. What's really exciting, though, is that both novels give you the sense of a young writer who will go on to write even better books.” Mr Barrowman believes the gifting of the Fellowships is “an inspired investment in the future of New Zealand fiction.”

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In March this year Mr Schaeffer initiated and provided funding for the $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters, a biennial award which aims to acknowledge and advance the work of emerging New Zealand writers. At the same time the International Institute of Modern Letters was formed. Based at Victoria University’s Kelburn campus the IIML incorporates New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious Creative Writing Programme.

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