2018 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellows to explore séances and a hostage drama
The 2018 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship will help talented New Zealand playwright Carl Bland craft a hostage drama set in a pie shop, and writer David Howard summon Katherine Mansfield’s ghost to a séance.
Carl and David have both been selected for New Zealand’s pre-eminent literary fellowship. The pair will share an annual stipend of $20,000 and will each be given a four-month tenure at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland, to help them focus on their craft full time.
David will use the opportunity to write a play centred around the concept of a séance. 'It will be set in contemporary Auckland, but the spirits will come from all over the world and from different times,' says David. 'Katherine Mansfield will be there, she will be the central figure and the work will be named after a quote from her writing.'
David has been committed to writing since he was a teenager, but was forced to put his literary future on hold to support a young family – which he did through a successful pyrotechnic career. In his forties he moved fireworks to the side to again pursue writing. He is thrilled to be given the opportunity to give writing his complete attention. 'I am looking forward to immersing myself in this work and having a completely sustained space to work, away from the distractions of daily life,' he says.
Carl, an actor, painter and playwright, will use the opportunity of the fellowship to work on a play. 'The play is set in a pie shop, and is about a man who takes the people in the shop hostage. It looks at what happens when different people spend a lot of time together in a small space. My work can sometimes look like comedy farces, but there is a deeper theme, in this case social isolation and identity, which I approach through humour.
'The fellowship will help me put some time aside to concentrate on the play without worrying about other things.'
Sargeson Trust Chair Dr Elizabeth Aitken-Rose says the aim of the Fellowship is to enrich New Zealand’s literary landscape. 'The Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship supports New Zealand writers by allowing them to focus on their writing full time. Carl and David were selected from a strong list of potential candidates and I hope this opportunity helps them both to reach the next level of their work.'
The fellowship has been supporting some of New Zealand’s greatest literary talent for more than 30 years. Previous winners include Alan Duff, Michael King, Marilyn Duckworth, and Janet Frame. In 2017 the fellowship was awarded to Steven Toussaint and Gregory Kan.
The Fellowship will run from 1 April 2018 to 30 November 2018. Carl will have the first stint at the residence with David finishing out the tenure.
About Grimshaw& Co
Grimshaw & Co are leaders in dispute resolution, with experience across all areas of civil and commercial litigation. Established in 2005, Grimshaw & Co act for clients all over New Zealand.
About Frank Sargeson Trust
The Frank Sargeson Trust was formed in 1983 by Christine Cole Catley, Frank Sargeson’s heir and executor. The Trust aims to continue Sargeson’s lifelong generosity to writers through providing residential fellowships while preserving his house in Takapuna, Auckland, as New Zealand’s first literary museum. The first fellowship was awarded to Janet Frame in 1987. Learn more about Frank Sargeson and the Fellowship here.
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