Four compelling NZ writing projects awarded grants
Strong research is crucial to convincing writing and the recipients of this year’s Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ)/New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Research Grants are four diverse and compelling writing projects.
Open Research Grants of $5000 each were awarded to Heather McQuillan, Paul Moon and Philippa Werry. The Stout Research Grant, which includes $5,000 and a six week residential fellowship at the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, was awarded to Paul Bensemann.
Paul Bensemann’s project “Saved! Battling for Paradise – the untold tale” is a history of New Zealand’s conservation movement from the Save Manapouri campaign of the fifties, sixties and seventies to today. Paul is the author of Tragedy at Aramoana and Lost Gold. He says his book will detail “the bitter backblocks and backroom conflict behind the country’s big campaigns to save key eco-systems”.
Open Research Grant recipient Heather McQuillan is a tutor with the School for Young Writers in Christchurch and author of Mind Over Matter and Nest of Lies. Her project “Between Two Places – voices of migrant teenagers in New Zealand” aims to give teenagers who have come to New Zealand from other parts of the world stories that resonate with their experience – and New Zealand born readers a window into these.
Paul Moon received an Open Research Grant for his project “Lost Landscapes: A History of the Waikato River”. Professor of History at the Faculty of Maori Development – Te Ara Poutama – at Auckland University of Technology, Paul has written extensively on New Zealand history. He says he aims to “offer a rich impression of the diverse stretches of the river… parts of the Waikato are among the very few places left in New Zealand where glimpses can be had of past ways of living.”
Wellington-based children’s writer Philippa Werry’s “Armistice Day” also received an Open Research Grant. This will be a non-fiction book for children. Philippa is the author of Enemy at the Gate and Waitangi Day: the New Zealand story. She is drawn to Armistice Day as a topic: “it’s important to balance writing about war with writing about peace, and to show young readers that the effects of war don’t magically vanish once the fighting is over.”
2015 Research Grant judging panellists Rae McGregor, Paddy Richardson and Graeme Lay, said they were excited to see “such a broad range of topics tackled in such confident writing.”