09 Jun 2013
Fiona Farrell is the recipient of this years Michael King Fellowship
CREATIVE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA RELEASE
10 June 2013
Creative New Zealand $100,000 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship announced
Leading New Zealand author Fiona Farrell has been awarded the $100,000 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship to research and write twin books, one fiction and one non-fiction, inspired by her experiences of the Christchurch earthquakes.
Since the quakes struck, Farrell has felt “like a photographer who, after living quietly in Armentieres taking portraits of local dignitaries or photographing wild flowers, suddenly finds that they are caught up in the midst of the action. It’s frequently deeply disturbing, but there is a compulsion to record”.
Farrell’s twin books, both titled The Villa at the Edge of the Empire, will begin with the reconstruction of a city after a disaster, the author says. “The non-fiction book will place the reconstruction in a broad historical and geographic framework, while the fiction book will offer an intimate, emotional perspective.”
The Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship is one of New Zealand’s largest writing fellowships and supports established writers to work on a major project over two or more years.
There were many applications of a very high calibre for this year’s fellowship, says Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright. “This is a fantastic opportunity to support one of New Zealand’s leading writers to record an in-depth intellectual and emotional response to the rebuild of Christchurch."
Fiona Farrell has published work in a variety of genres over 20 years. Her first novel, The Skinny Louie Book, won the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for fiction. Other novels, poetry and non-fiction books have been shortlisted for the Montana and New Zealand Post Book Awards with four novels also nominated for the International Dublin IMPAC Award.
Farrell's short fiction has appeared in the company of Alice Munro and Hanif Kureishi in two volumes of Heinemann’s Best Short Stories (ed. Gordon and Hughes), while her poems feature in major anthologies including The Oxford Book of New Zealand Poetry and Bloodaxe’s best-selling Being Alive. Her most recent publications are two non-fiction titles: The Broken Book and The Quake Year.
She has held residencies in France (the 1995 Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton) and Ireland (the 2006 Rathcoola Residency). Fiona was the 2011 Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago.
In 2007 Farrell received the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction. In 2012 she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature in the Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2012.
Fiona Farrell will be the 11th recipient of the Michael King Fellowship since its establishment in 2003. The award was renamed in recognition of the late Michael King for his contribution to literature and his role in advocating for a major fellowship for New Zealand writers.
Previous recipients of the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship are Owen Marshall, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead, Rachel Barrowman, Neville Peat, Dame Fiona Kidman, Philip Simpson, Kate De Goldi, Peter Wells and Dr Peter Simpson.
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Rebecca Lancashire | Senior Communications Adviser |Creative New Zealand
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