Cultural Fund Selection Panel

Contestable Fund Grants - selection panel

We are very grateful to have the continued support of Vanda Symon, Robert Sullivan, Tony Fisk and Abby Aitcheson who are our Selection Panel members for the 2022 Contestable Fund Grants. We greatly appreciate the important work they undertake to ensure the grants process is successful, and quite simply couldn’t do it without them! Read more about them below.

Tony Fisk

2022 Selection Panel member

Tony has had a career in publishing spanning over 40 years. Following various roles in the UK working in UK and international markets, Tony moved to New Zealand where he finally became Managing Director of HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd.

As well as leading the growth of New Zealand publishing within HarperCollins, Tony led the development of a number of ground breaking digital publishing initiatives. These were produced together with high profile external content developers and international partners

Beyond his role with HarperCollins, Tony was involved with a number of publishing and book trade organisations. He served on the Council of the Publishers Association of New Zealand from 2002 – 2009 and was President from 2009 – 2011.

In 2012 Tony was awarded Life Membership of the Publishers Association of New Zealand in recognition of his contribution to the industry. 2021 was the first year that Tony has been a selection panel member.

Abby Aitcheson

2022 Selection Panel Member

Abby Aitcheson grew up in Tairāwhiti Gisborne and now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She has been working in publishing since 2013, holding editorial roles at Blackwell & Ruth and Penguin Random House New Zealand before moving to London, where she worked for DK and Ebury. She recently returned home to take up a new role at Upstart Press. 2021 was the first year that Abby has been a selection panel member.

Robert Sullivan

2022 Selection Panel member

Robert Sullivan's iwi affiliations are to Ngāpuhi, and Kāi Tahu. His PhD from the University of Auckland examines the work of five other indigenous Pacific poets. His seven collections of poetry include Captain Cook in the Underworld, Shout Ha! to the Sky and the bestselling Star Waka.

He has co-edited three major anthologies of Pacific and Māori poetry. He has served on writing committees and judging panels in New Zealand and overseas including the Board of the Auckland Writers’ Festival, the Māori Writers' Committee, Te Hā, and the 2018 poetry panel for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Robert for a time led the Creative Writing programmes at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa, and Manukau Institute of Technology where until recently he was Deputy Chief Executive Māori.

Robert has been a selection panel member in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Vanda Symon

2022 Selection Panel member

Vanda Symon lives in Dunedin and is a New Zealander of Fijian descent. She is the number one best selling author of the Detective Sam Shephard series, and the stand alone thriller The Faceless.

Vanda is a three-time Ngaio Marsh Award finalist and was short listed for the 2019 British CWA New Blood Dagger. She is a judge for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, and has been a judge for the NZ Post Book Awards.

Vanda has been a selection panel member in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Partnership Fund - External Advisor

In 2022, a portion of revenue allocated to the Cultural Fund has been made available in a partnership fund. We consult with an external advisor to assess the merits of each expression of interest. In 2022, previous Contestable Fund Grant selection panel member, Anne de Lautour is working with us on this process.

Anne de Lautour

2022 External Advisor

Anne has been an active participant in the literature and publishing sector for more than thirty years. She has worked for major publishing houses in New Zealand and has also represented independent publishers with experience both in sales and in the role of Publisher.

Anne was Association Director of the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) from 2007 -2017.

The Director’s role focussed on supporting more than 85 book publisher members with advocacy, training initiatives, export opportunities and overall responsibility for the management of the Creative New Zealand International Programme for Literature, and Education NZ funding programmes.

Anne is now a consultant to the publishing industry and is based in Thames.

Anne was a selection panel member in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for the Contestable Fund Grants and is now an External Advisor for our Partnership Fund.

The Selection Panel members are selected based on their knowledge and expertise in writing and publishing. We follow Creative New Zealand guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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