The $5,000 grants support New Zealand writers who wish to undertake research for a fiction or non-fiction writing project. The selection panel received 96 applications and reported the applications "were energetic, passionate pitches which were well focused and persuasive. It was a delight to read through these carefully prepared proposals and a testament to the creative health of our sector."
"The applications covered a huge range of topics, from local history through to lifestyle, from literary novels to genre fiction. Many proposals addressed topics of special importance to Aotearoa whilst others addressed issues of international scale and perspective. Perhaps reflecting our times, there were many proposals with a science lens, especially on ecology and the environment. We wanted to support so many more than we could have."
Introducing the successful recipients
Lauren Keenan (Te Ātiawa ki Taranaki)
For her project Rākau: The Lost Tree
Lauren's project, a middle-grade novel about the New Zealand wars titled Rakau: The Lost Tree, will be the sequel to her forthcoming novel Amorangi and Millie's Trip Through Time. Lauren is the author of the 52 Week Project: How I Fixed My Life By Trying a New Thing Every Week For a Year. She has also had short stories published in Huia 11, Huia 12, Huia 13 and Takahe Magazine. Lauren calls Wellington home.
The 2021 selection panel said Lauren's project is "an immediately engaging work which will draw children and their families into an understanding of our history. Keenan embeds a Māori world view effortlessly into her writing and her middle grade audience, both Māori and non Māori, will be enraptured and entertained."
For his project Hurt, Hope, and Healing
Anthony Green has been a member of the Christchurch Muslim community for over twenty years and was the media spokesperson for the Deans Avenue mosque in the time after the attacks. Originally from the UK his background is in teaching - first in Britain and then in Singapore. His book “Kapal Haji: Singapore and the Hajj Journey by Sea” traces a human story of that Southeast Asian journey between the 1830s and the 1970s.
He is one of the co-founders of “Mahia Te Aroha / The Christchurch Invitation”, which was launched in Christchurch on 23 July this year. This is an initiative to work for compassion, the harnessing of difference, and for inclusive conversations.
The selection panel said Anthony's project "seeks to examine how compassion and hope can arise from such a horrific national tragedy, and will highlight the strengths of New Zealand’s unique multi-cultural society, and ultimately of the Muslim community itself."
For her project Six-legged Ghosts: Stories of the Insects of Aotearoa
Lily Duval is a writer, researcher, artist and craftsperson based in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton. She is inspired by the natural world and loves to garden, tramp, and carve spoons.
Her current book project examines attitudes to insects here in Aotearoa. Globally, lists of threatened species are dominated by invertebrates and the situation is no different here in Aotearoa - we likely lost two species of beetle to extinction in 2019. Illustrated by her own watercolour paintings, Lily hopes text and images will work together to offer different ways of seeing the six-legged.
The 2021 selection panel said Lillian's project "synthesise anecdotes, insights and information, along with the perspectives of Te Ao Māori, about our insects, which, as she puts it, are probably the least loved and noticed and understood creatures in this country."
For her project The Brilliance of Resilience - Hope for a generation
Bonnie Maihi is a current doctoral candidate at the University of Waikato and team leader for women integration work in Hamilton. She has a passion to assist and provide platforms for various expressions of what it means to be Māori in the 21st century.
Bonnie's project is an extension of that passion and is inspired off the back of her Doctoral thesis which focused on education and occupation pathways for rangatahi growing up within gang spaces in Aotearoa, which was Bonnie's own experience.
The 2021 selection panel said Bonnie's project will provide an additional platform for the voices of wāhine/females living within gang spaces in Aotearoa. With her insider’s lived experience and coupled with her academic training, they believe Bonnie has the unique skillset to bring these stories to the fore."
The grant money will go towards a collaborative and inclusive approach so that the women can share safely.
The selection panel also commend a further six projects and their writers. "All of these works are of high quality, on topics which we feel are of urgent and timely interest," they said. These writers and projects are:
Jade Kake - Rewi Thompson
Linda Keegan - Firmly Planted: The life and work of New Zealand's early women botanists
Makereta Brown - Ko Rokotavao Taku Ingoa
Sarah Ell - An Uncommon Woman
Jeff Evans - A History of Ngā Tokimatawhaorua
Jared Kane - Tuhinga Kurutai
CLNZ and the NZSA are delighted to assist New Zealand authors in their research efforts towards their writing projects. Research Grants are funded through the CLNZ Cultural Fund, which derives its revenue from a 2% share of domestic licensing income and from overseas revenue that is non-title specific. The 2021 selection panel members were Deborah Challinor, David Eggleton, and Renee Liang.
NZSA was proud to administer the CLNZ/NZSA Research Grants this year. CLNZ and NZSA would like to thank all the writers who took the time to apply.