11 Jun 2013
New Zealand’s Poet Laureate, Ian Wedde, will spend almost a year in Germany from October as this year’s recipient of the Creative New Zealand $40,000 Berlin Writer’s Residency.
Wedde plans to write both a book of linked stories and a sequence of poems. The poems are inspired by his German great-grandfather, Heinrich Augustus Wedde, who jumped ship in Wellington in the 1870s to marry a Danish woman he met on the voyage.
Ian Wedde has produced a substantial body of work over more than three decades, including novels, poetry, art writing, criticism and essays. He launched his 15th collection of poetry, The Lifeguard: New Poems 2008–2013 at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in May. His latest novel, The Catastrophe, was published in 2012.
“It’s a great privilege to have been awarded the residency, and to have the chance to focus on some new work with German connections,” the author says. “I’m looking forward to encountering the ghosts of German ancestors and taking dictation from them. Schönen Dank!’’
Wedde has won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for fiction for his first novel, Dick Seddon’s Great Dive (1976), and a New Zealand Book Award for his poetry collection Spells for Coming Out by Day (1978). He was the Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton in 2005, and in 2009, was awarded the University of Auckland Michael King Writer’s Centre Residency. He was made an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2006 and, in 2010, was awarded an ONZM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. He teaches in the department of Art History at Auckland University.
Established in 2000, the biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency enables an established New Zealand writer to focus on a writing project over a sustained period and respond to the life, people and culture of Berlin.
“The Berlin Residency, supported by the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, is highly regarded by the literary sector and enriches the development and profile of New Zealand writing,” says Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright.
The Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency alternates with the biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists’ Residency. The 11-month residency offers a stipend of $40,000 and the use of the Creative New Zealand apartment in the heart of Berlin. Previous recipients are Sarah Quigley, Tina Shaw, Kapka Kassabova, Philip Temple, Tim Corballis, Lloyd Jones, Sir James McNeish and Kate Camp.
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