Two top New Zealand writers share this year's Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship
2 Feb 2010
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Two award-winning writers are joint winners of this year's Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship.
Both Sonja Yelich and Sarah Laing will enjoy a five-month residency at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland, with Sonja Yelich taking up tenure in early February, and Sarah Laing in August.
In addition to the residency both will receive a $20,000 grant, allowing them to focus full time on their current writing projects.
Buddle Findlay National Chairman, Peter Chemis, says the two published writers will be following a distinguished tradition, as the apartment has been a working refuge for many of the best-known names in New Zealand literature.
"The list of writers who have been given the opportunity to to work free of distractions for the 12 years we have been the sponsor reflects the Fellowship's role in fostering New Zealand's literary tradition. We are proud of our involvement in that."
Sonja Yelich is an award-winning poet. Her Get Some collection was a finalist in the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book awards and Clung won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry in the 2005 Montana New Zealand awards.
During her Sargeson Fellowship she will be working on a novel and a new poetry collection.
Sarah Laing will be using her time in the centre to work on her upcoming novel White Light and other projects.
Her novel Dead People's Music was published last April and she has also published a collection of short stories, Coming Up Roses, in 2007. In 2006 she won the Sunday Star-Times short story competition, and in 2008 she was a writer in residence at the Michael King Writers Centre in Devonport.
The Sargeson Fellowship was established in 1987 to commemorate Frank Sargeson and provide assistance for New Zealand writers. It aims to offer outstanding writers the opportunity to write full time, free from financial pressure. Buddle Findlay has sponsored the fellowship since 1997.
Last year's Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellows were writers Steve Braunias and Julian Novitz. Other past fellows (from 1997 onwards) include: Fiona Samuel, Peter Cox, Karyn Hay, Craig Marriner, Toa Fraser, Debra Daley, Denis Baker, Riemke Ensing, Vivienne Plumb, Chad Taylor, Shonagh Koea, Diane Brown, Catherine Chidgey, Sarah Quigley, Tina Shaw, Kapka Kassabova, Sue Reidy, James Brown, Charlotte Grimshaw, Emily Perkins, James George, Brigid Lowry and Paula Morris.