11 Oct 2010
New Zealand Post and the Katherine Mansfield Menton Trust today announced Wellington poet and creative non-fiction writer, Chris Price, as winner of the 2011 New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize.
This residency programme enables a New Zealand writer to work at the Villa Isola Bella in Menton, France, where famed writer Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote in 1919 and 1920. The $80,000 Prize covers return travel to France and living and accommodation expenses.
Ms Price is the fourth winner since New Zealand Post became the principal partner with the Trust in 2007. Her works include poetry collections Husk,for which she received a best first book award, and The Blind Singer. She also produced Brief Lives, a hybrid work that was shortlisted for the then Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2007. Ms Price teaches at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters and currently co-convenes the Institute’s Master of Arts in Creative Writing.
Ms Price says it’s not every day one gets a phone call that will change your life.
“This is the best kind of challenge for a writer. Katherine Mansfield once wrote ‘Oh, to be a writer. A real writer given up to it and to it alone’.
“This Prize permits me to do the very thing that Mansfield most wanted to do – I feel I owe it to her to succeed,” Ms Price said.
While in Menton she intends to research and complete a creative non-fiction manuscript that will use elements of biography, essay and travel writing to explore the life and early death of the eccentric English poet and anatomist Thomas Lovell Beddoes. Ms Price will also work on a poetry collection.
New Zealand Post Chairman Rt Hon Jim Bolger said Ms Price was a worthy recipient of the Prize.
“We are very pleased that Chris Price is the latest in a long and distinguished line of New Zealand writers to be awarded the New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize. We keenly anticipate the work that will flow from her time in Menton,” Mr Bolger said.
Gordon Stewart, Chair of the selection panel, said Ms Price was chosen from a high quality field of candidates.
“There were a number of strong competitors from different genres. We were particularly excited by her proposed project for her time in Menton and we’re sure she’ll be a worthy 42nd recipient of the fellowship,” Mr Stewart said.
The New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize has supported many authors over the years, including Janet Frame, Witi Ihimaera, Vincent O’Sullivan and Dame Fiona Kidman. Last year’s Prize winner, Ken Duncum, is about to finish his time in Menton.
The Prize celebrates New Zealand heritage and writing and complements New Zealand Post’s literary and literacy based programmes, including Books in Homes, Children’s Book Awards, Literacy Aotearoa and, for the first time this year, the prestigious New Zealand Post Book Awards.
The New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize is offered in conjunction with the Winn-Manson Menton Trust and administered by Creative New Zealand.