06 Nov 2011
One of New Zealand’s best writers for young adults will be the 2012 Writer in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington.
Bernard Beckett is a children's writer and secondary school teacher, whose knowledge of teenage culture is reflected in his believable adolescent characters.
He has published 10 books, and won several awards for his fiction, including the Young Adult Fiction category of the 2005 New Zealand Post Book Awards and the 2005 Esther Glen Award at the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. His novel Genesis, which won the Young Adult category in the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards, made publishing history when UK publisher Quercus Books offered the largest advance ever for a young adult novel in New Zealand.
During 2012, Beckett willwork at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria where he plans to concentrate on his latest novel Lullaby.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me. Often, with the constraints of work and other bits and pieces, I find I’m unable to give my writing the focus it probably needs,” says Beckett.
Following the success of Genesis Beckett’s career is taking off in Australia and internationally, and he believes the residency will give him the opportunity to produce his best work yet.
“Lullaby has the potential to be that, so I’m very excited to have the space to be able to write.”
Institute Director, Professor Bill Manhire, says Beckett’s appointment is an exciting prospect.
“Young adult fiction is something that New Zealand writers have become especially good at, and Bernard Beckett is one of our leading lights. He’s a writer on the cusp of a brilliant international career, and we’re delighted that he’ll be spending the year with us.”
The Writer in Residence position is jointly funded by Victoria University and Creative New Zealand.
More about Bernard Beckett
Bernard Beckett is a teacher at Hutt Valley High School and lives in Wellington with his wife, Clare Knighton (co-author of his seventh novel Deep Fried). In 2006 he was awarded a New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowship where he worked on a project examining DNA mutations. This new direction led to the publication of Genesis in 2006, which won the Young Adult Category in the 2007 NZ Post Book Awards. His fascination with science also led to Falling for Science: Asking the Big Questions (2007), his non-fiction exploration of the relationship between story-telling and science.