16 Nov 2009
Royal Society of New Zealand media release
The two winning entries in the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Writing were announced on Wednesday night with Tina Makereti from the Kapiti Coast being awarded the non-fiction prize and Katie Henderson from Auckland winning the fiction category.
They were each presented with cash awards of $2500 by the editor of the New Zealand Listener, Pamela Stirling, at the Science Honours Dinner hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand in Auckland.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘the place of human beings in the universe’ and was chosen to coincide with the 2009 International Year of Astronomy.
The winning non-fiction category writer Tina Makereti, from the Kapiti Coast, is a Massey University life writing lecturer. The judge for the awards, Rebecca Priestley, said Makereti’s winning piece entitled Twitch “skilfully wove Maori beliefs about the universe and its creation with current scientific interpretations”.
Writer Katie Henderson from Auckland wrote the winning fiction piece called Strandings which was described by the judge as “a poignant, fresh, evocative and original story involving a whale, a karesansui garden and a suburban Auckland family”.
The New Zealand Listener and the International Institute of Modern Letters, headed by Professor Bill Manhire, are partners with the Royal Society in this award.
The judge, Rebecca Priestley, is a writer and editor, and won the inaugural Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize earlier this year.
Here are Rebecca’s comments on the two winning entries, which will shortly be published in the New Zealand Listener and are currently on the Royal Society of New Zealand’s website together with all 20 shortlisted entries: at www.royalsociety.org.nz
Non Fiction Category winner: “Twitch” by Tina Makereti
This piece stood out not only for the quality of writing, but for its originality of material and the amount of new information it conveyed to the general reader. The author skilfully wove together Maori beliefs about the universe and its creation with current scientific interpretations, creating an interesting and engrossing story which fully explored the theme of "place in the universe".
Fiction Category winner: “Strandings” by Katie Henderson
One of the fiction entries shone amongst all the others and offered new gems and nuances of story every time it was read. Strandings is a poignant, fresh, evocative and original story involving a whale, a karesansui garden and a suburban Auckland family. This well-crafted story sparkled with originality and was remarkable in its depth and the way so much character and story was conveyed in its 3000 words.