New Zealand poets Dr Anna Jackson and Nathan Joe have been awarded the prestigious 2022 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship.
Now in its 35th year, the fellowship is a national literary award offering published New Zealand writers the opportunity to focus on their craft full-time. It provides an annual stipend of $20,000 and a eight-month tenure at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland.
Joe, a Chinese-New Zealand performance poet, theatre-maker, and current New Zealand Slam Champion, will use his fellowship to work on his upcoming play, Personal Essays. It’s a character study of a writer who mines his personal life for his art without considering the consequences on others.
“Being a healthy theatre-maker requires being surrounded by a vibrant theatre community, and there is personally no better place to do so than in Auckland. Living at the Sargeson Centre will place me in one of the biggest hubs of independent and professional theatre in the country, and enable me to stay involved in the growing queer and Asian theatre scene,” says Joe.
Jackson is an internationally acclaimed writer, poet and academic, who teaches English literature at Victoria University of Wellington. She has recently begun exploring the world of fiction writing, having published The Bedmaking Competition in 2018, which chronicles the coming of age of two sisters.
“I’m going to spend my fellowship finalising a sequel to The Bedmaking Competition. It will be set 20-years-on, and follow the journey of a new, idealist and creative generation of young people. Because I’ve been committed to academic work for so long, I haven’t had the time and space to concentrate on this yet,” she says.
Jackson takes up her residency at the Sargeson Centre in the first half of the year, before returning to her academic work in the second semester.
Frank Sargeson Trust Chair Elizabeth Aitken-Rose says she is impressed with the calibre of this year’s fellows and is excited to see them take their work to the next level.
“Anna and Nathan were selected from an especially strong field of applicants and now join a large group of distinguished fellows, many of whom are regarded as New Zealand’s most eminent writers. Both are leaders in the field and will be further developing their skillset.”
The fellowship has been recognising and supporting some of our greatest talents for more than 30 years, says Grimshaw & Co Partner Paul Grimshaw.
“It offers vital support to New Zealand writers to focus, uninterrupted, on their work. They are contributing to New Zealand’s literary landscape and we are very proud to support them.”
About Grimshaw & Co
Grimshaw & Co are leaders in dispute resolution, with experience across all areas of civil and commercial litigation. Established in 2005, Grimshaw & Co are based in Auckland, representing clients across the country.
About Frank Sargeson Trust
The Frank Sargeson Trust was formed in 1983 by Christine Cole Catley, Frank Sargeson’s heir and executor. The Trust aims to continue Sargeson’s lifelong generosity to writers through providing residential fellowships while preserving his house in Takapuna, Auckland, as New Zealand’s first literary museum. The first fellowship was awarded to Janet Frame in 1987. Learn more about Frank Sargeson and the Fellowship here.