6 May 2011
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Respected freelance writer and biographer Dr Lynley Hood has been awarded a three-month residency to participate in the 2011 International Writers Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa in the United States.
The residency is the result of a partnership between the university and Creative New Zealand. Dr Hood will research and write a selection of interwoven essays, memoirs and journal entries on one of mankind’s most puzzling preoccupations – the quest for eternal life.
Her inspiration for applying is the work of Iowa lecturer in non-fiction writing Professor Steve Kuuisisto, who has been blind since birth. Dr Hood is facing the difficulties created by loss of vision since losing the central vision of her left eye due to the rare retinal disorder azoor.
“The Iowa Writer’s Residency is wonderful opportunity for any writer, but it is even more fantastic for me because azoor is making reading and writing a struggle. At Iowa, in addition to participating in the program and pursuing my own project, I will be learning how writers and readers cope with vision loss at the Iowa Vision Research Centre. "
Lynley Hood’s first book, Sylvia! The Biography of Sylvia Ashton-Warner, won first prize at the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Award in 1989, the PEN Best First Book of Prose Award and the Talking Book of the Year. In 1991 Hood was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. In 2001 she published A City Possessed: the Christchurch Civic Crèche Case, which won the 2002 Montana Medal for Non-fiction at the New Zealand Book Awards and the Skeptic New Zealand Bravo Award. Dr Hood’s articles are also widely published.
Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright said the Iowa residency is a unique professional development opportunity for established New Zealand authors.
“As well as gaining personally from the residency, Lynley will be a wonderful ambassador for New Zealand. Common to all previous recipients is the forging of friendships, the continuing of collaborations and the validation of their writing,” he said.
About the IWP
Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers’ residency at a university and remains unique in world literature. More than 1000 writers from 100 countries have completed residencies with New Zealand joining in partnership in 1992.
The residency includes travel costs, accommodation, a stipend and is supported by Creative New Zealand with a $21,000 grant. Previous recipients have included Gordon McLauchlan, Vivienne Plumb, James Norcliffe, Penelope Todd, Brian Falkner, Kathy White and David Hill.