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Source: New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) 

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) congratulates Laurence Fearnley on winning the NZSA Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship 2023 to work on her novel with the working title ‘The Palette Club (A tender violence)’.
This annual award is made possible with thanks to the generosity of the Beatson’s. In establishing this fellowship, they have given NZ authors a valuable opportunity to be economically secure while they bring a project to completion.  It’s a commitment and affirmation for New Zealand writers. The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) is most grateful.

The judging panel of Philippa Werry and Paddy Richardson commented: “The NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship is a prestigious award aimed at mid-career or senior writers with a substantial literary track record of publications. This year’s entries ranged across fiction, essay collections, memoir, biography, poetry and non-fiction, and covered topics such as social history, true crime, the effects of childhood trauma, place and belonging, cross-cultural encounters and hidden aspects of New Zealand history.

Laurence Fearnley will use the Fellowship to continue work on the fourth of a series of novels based around the five senses. The judges were drawn to the beautiful prose of this sample text and felt it was a strong project from a fine writer whose books are notable for their strong sense of place and landscape.

We would like to express our grateful thanks to the Beatson whānau for continuing to support and value New Zealand authors through the Fellowship, and especially to Peter Beatson for his ongoing interest and input into the judging process.”

Dunedin writer Laurence Fearnley says: ‘I plan to use the Beatson Fellowship to write a novel based on the sense of sight. The novel will be a challenge for me as it is split into two historical periods. One is centred around 1893-1930, based on the artistic career of Margaret Stoddart, a professional watercolourist who was a contemporary of Kate Sheppard and Frances Hodgkins. The second timeline centres on the 1993 suffrage centennial period and follows an artist who is commissioned by a feature film company to replicate Stoddart’s paintings for a full-length movie about the artist. The chapters will be structured around fifteen paintings, all plein-air, alternating in voice between Stoddart and the modern painter. The Beatson Award will enable me to undertake archival research and access Stoddart’s paintings in public and private collections. I also intend to visit the locations of the fifteen paintings, and write the scenes outdoors as the painters would have approached them. I hope to complete the project by the end of 2024.’

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc)  congratulates winner Laurence Fearnley, along with the shortlisted applicants:- Maxine Alterio, Majella Cullinane, Johanna Emeney and Adrienne Jansen.

In 2022 the fellowship was awarded to Tim Jones to work on his novel Emergency Weather (The Cuba Press 2023) which is about to be published. In previous years, recipients have included: Whiti Hereaka, Siobhan Harvey, Frankie McMillan, Sue Wooton, Jillian Sullivan, Tina Makereti, Michael Harlow, Emma Neale, Mandy Hager, Carl Nixon, Glenn Colquhoun, Sue McCauley and Marilyn Duckworth.

The NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship is an annual award open to any NZSA members working on a new fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama project. Find out more about the fellowship.

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa PEN NZ Inc is the principal organisation representing writers in Aotearoa. Founded in 1934, it advocates for the right to fair reward and creative rights, administers prizes and awards, works across the literary sector to make Aotearoa New Zealand writers and books more visible, and runs professional development programmes for writers.