Four cash Research Grants awarded to support local writers

Four cash Research Grants awarded to support local writers

The 2023 Copyright Licensing New Zealand and New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) Research Grants have been awarded to four writers in Aotearoa.

2023 CLNZ/NZSA $5,000 Research Grants awarded to four New Zealand writers

The 2023 Copyright Licensing New Zealand and New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa Research Grants have been awarded to four writers in Aotearoa.

The $5,000 grants support local writers who wish to undertake research for a fiction or non-fiction writing project.

The selection panel, Siobhan Harvey, Vaughan Rapatahana and Vasanti Unka, received 89 applications and reported: "As Judges, we’re aware of the significant contribution the research grants make to the selected writers’ project and publishing success. It’s extremely heartening to see 89 applicants submit proposals for this year’s grants. We encourage New Zealand writers to continue to apply in such healthy numbers for these grants in future.

We approached the applications for the 2023 CLNZ/ NZSA Research Grants with the following criteria: the quality of the concept; the quality of the writing sample; the potential for publication (particularly so if publisher interest already exists) and the applicant’s reliance upon the grant as their exclusive funding source of their project. In terms of the latter, we felt this was important in ensuring the funding offered by the research grants was being distributed in an equitable manner, rather than as an addition to a project which had already received funding support whether through a previous grant, award or residency."

Join us in congratulating the following CLNZ NZSA Research Grants 2023 recipients!

Trevor Bentley - for book project Te Kaewa - The Wanderers: Māori Sailors on EuroAmerican Ships, 1790s-1890s

Trevor Bentley is a full-time historian based in sunny Tauranga. His research and writing projects focus on hitherto unexplored aspects of early Māori and Pakeha interaction, particularly on those who crossed cultures temporarily or permanently. An estimated 1,000 Māori sailors served aboard the 2,000 Euromerican ships that visited New Zealand between the 1790s and the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. This grant will assist his investigations at major New Zealand research institutions into the ship-board lives and travels of these culture crossing adventurers, both before and following the Treaty.

The 2023 selection panel said: "We found the focus of this book upon the lives and adventures of Māori sailors who worked and travelled abroad on foreign vessels in both pre- and post-Treaty eras intriguing and worthy of exploration. The sample writing drew us in. This is a project we felt is worthy of funding support."

Saige England - for novel project No Graves for Ghosts.

Saige England is the author of the recently-released historical novel, The Seasonwife. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University of Wellington. In her previous career as a journalist Saige won a number of Qantas Media Awards and the New Zealand Media Peace Award. Her journalism and feature articles have been published in the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and the NZ Listener. Her poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Saige’s short fiction has been anthologised by Penguin New Zealand.

No Graves For Ghosts is a story about the consequence on women and men of the New Zealand Company’s scheme - a Company founded by a convicted kidnapper who constructed, with his brothers, an empire dependent on the people power of the lower class. It is a story about Māori seeing men trampling over their sacred places and dividing up their land. It is a story about how relationships are tested and changed in the struggle against tyranny. It is a story that is too often told in a very different way.

The selection panel said this about Saige's project: "This proposed novel about Nelson’s first Pākehā settlers by a writer with a proven record of authoring compelling historical fiction was supported by wonderful sample writing. England’s project grant funding outline was detailed and well-focused."

Hana Tapiata - for book project Atua Rei: the wisdom of Māori goddesses and ancestral knowledge.

He uri tēnei nō Tūhourangi, nō Te Arawa whānui, he herenga waka hoki ki Tainui, Mataatua, Horouta me Ironside waka. He raukura nō Te Kohanga Reo me Te Aho Matua e mihi nei. Hana is driven by a deep sense of commitment to give back to the sources that have nourished her sense of self and identity throughout her life by facilitating spaces for wānanga, sharing story and self-determination, based on tupuna mātauranga, Māori ancestral knowledge.

This project is an exploration of the rich stories, ceremonies and practices surrounding atua rei; Māori goddesses, an offering of their wisdom that has been missing from discourse on mātauranga Māori and from te ao Māori for too long. The goal with this project is to research and retell stories about Atua Rei, and to normalise their names, how we can interact with them, to be able to easily recognise Atua Rei in the natural environment, and thus, within ourselves.

Also selected under the ‘grant for a writer whose project is on diverse and new topics, and on issues or subjects that are topical in present day Aotearoa New Zealand,’ the 2022 selection panel said Hana's work stood out because "This project felt like it’s breaking fresh ground. The proposed book is an exploration of the rich stories, ceremonies and practices surrounding atua rei; Māori goddesses. The expression of publisher interest in the project strengthened our belief this is a project deserving of funding support."

Michael O'Leary author photo.jpg

Michael O'Leary - with project History of Paekākāriki.

Michael O'Leary is a novelist, poet, artist, and publisher. He is also part-owner of Kākāriki Books, situated at the Paekākāriki Railway Station. He lives in Paekākāriki. The CLNZ NZSA grant will be used to research and write the history of Paekākāriki, a small but significant township on the Kāpiti Coast, north of Wellington. Paekākāriki is a town that has a rich and varied history, both in early Māori times and later as an important railway town. In more recent years it has become a magnet for practitioners of various art forms: poets, novelists, artists, potters, and other crafts people. The local Iwi, Ngāti Haumia, also play a strong part in local affairs.

The selection panel said, “Here was a writer perfectly matched to their intended project. O’Leary’s personal and artistic connection to Paekākāriki has become the stuff of literary iconography. The outline of the project and the scope of its research is vast yet particular. Reading the sample writing, we felt convinced O’Leary is the writer to complete the task."

CLNZ and the NZSA are delighted to assist New Zealand authors in their research efforts towards their writing projects. Research Grants are funded through the CLNZ Cultural Fund, which derives its revenue from a 2% share of domestic licensing income and from overseas revenue that is non-title specific.

CLNZ and NZSA would like to thank the 2023 Selection Panel - Siobhan Harvey, Vaughan Rapatahana and Vasanti Unka.

NZSA was proud to administer the CLNZ/NZSA Research Grants this year. CLNZ and NZSA would like to thank all the writers who took the time to apply.

You can read more about previous Research Grant recipients here.

Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

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