CLNZ/NZSA Research Grants 2019 Awarded


The 2019 Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) and New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Research Grants have been awarded. The $5,000 grants support New Zealand writers who wish to undertake research for a fiction or non-fiction writing project.

Giovanna Fenster: Be Reasonable

Gigi Fenster has a Masters and PhD in Creative Writing, and various law degrees. Her first book, The Intentions Book, was a finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards and was longlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Her second book, Feverish was born out of a PhD in which she explored the implications of inducing a fever in oneself. Gigi teaches creative writing and law.

This entry impressed the judges with its originality. “We felt that as research continues the subject may broaden to investigate areas as yet unexplored. A clever concept with contemporary applications.”


Philip Simpson: Remarkable Plants of Aotearoa New Zealand

Philip Simpson is a botanical writer with several successful books on New Zealand plants. His last book was Down the Bay, a natural and cultural history of Abel Tasman National Park. He likes to write about the ecology of plants and places and describe how people have responded to this setting. Philip lives in the valley of his birth, Takaka, and has a rural property with his wife Wendy Parr, overlooking Golden Bay.

The judges said that Philip’s projectwill be another volume in this author’s fascinating exploration of our country’s flora. Philip is described by one of the panel as ‘a botanist story teller’ and another as ‘like being taught by a favourite teacher.’



Ghazaleh Golbakhsh: The Shah of Grey Lynn and Other Stories

Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is an Iranian-New Zealand filmmaker and Fulbright scholar who studied post-graduate screenwriting and directing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She has an MA in Documentary from the University of Auckland and has written various short films that have screened internationally. She is currently developing her first feature screenplay which focuses on two young Iranian women who grew up in the suburbs of Auckland. Her writing has appeared in publications including OnFilm, The Spinoff and Villainesse.

The judges felt Ghazaleh’s entry was outstanding. It was “a piece of writing that kept enticing you back for yet one more read.”

Joanne Drayton: A Good Listener
Winner of the Stout Fellowship

Joanne Drayton is an acclaimed New York Times bestselling author who has published six books and numerous chapters and articles. She has curated exhibitions and publishes in art history, theory and biography. In 2007, she was awarded a National Library Fellowship; the prestigious Logan Fellowship at the Carey Institute in upstate New York in 2017; and the Michael King Writers Centre/University of Auckland Writer in Residence, 2019.

The judges said Joanne has a deserved reputation and her writing has a wide popular appeal. “A well thought out and engaging proposal for a project of national significance and interest.”

The Stout Fellowship is a six-week fellowship at the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University Wellington.



CLNZ and NZSA would also like to congratulate the following authors who were shortlisted for the grants: Paulette Wallace, Diana Clarke, Bonnie Etherington, Rebecca Macfie and Mark Derby.

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. The 2019 judging panellists were David Veart, Sarah Shieff and Laurence Fearnley.

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.

Visit the award page for a list of previous winners.