18 Jun 2015
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This year’s $100,000 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship has been awarded to non-fiction master, Dr Martin Edmond, winner of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Non-Fiction and author of some 30 publications and screenplays.
Edmond, who holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts, plans to use the fellowship to research and write a biographical study of four expatriate New Zealanders who played notable roles in world affairs between 1876 and 2005 and yet are little-known in their home country.
He says, “This will be a book about the outstanding contributions four unique individuals – a journalist, a scholar, a lawyer and a librarian – made to the culture and politics of the twentieth century. It will also constitute a reflection upon New Zealand’s place in the world, then and now.”
“Harold Williams (1876 -1928), journalist, linguist and foreign editor; Ronald Syme (1903 -1989), Roman historian, libertine, spy; John Platts-Mills (1906-2001) radical lawyer, QC, political activist; and Joseph Trapp (1925 – 2005), librarian, scholar and sportsman, all acknowledged, respected, indeed loved their place of birth and upbringing. They remained, in other words, New Zealanders.”
Edmond says, “I am interested in the connection between a colony and its founder; and, more precisely, in the particular qualities of New Zealanders of several generations which allowed them to become, in their different ways, significant figures on the world stage.”
Martin Edmond’s previous works of biography include Battarbee and Namatjira (2014), Dark Night: Walking with McCahon (2011, shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart prize for non-fiction, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2013), The Supply Party (2009), Chronicle of the Unsung (2004, winner of the Biography category in the 2005 Montana Book Awards), and The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont (1999).
A memoir, thus far untitled, will be published in October 2015.
Established in 2003, the Michael King Fellowship 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.
The fellowship is available to established New Zealand authors of any literary genre with a significant publication record. It is offered annually for writers working on a major project which will take two years or more to complete.
Previous recipients of the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship are Fiona Farrell, Owen Marshall, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead, Rachel Barrowman, Neville Peat, Dame Fiona Kidman, Philip Simpson, Kate De Goldi, Peter Wells, Dr Peter Simpson and Elizabeth Knox.
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