A room of my own (for three weeks) – inaugural RAK Mason Writers Fellowship

A week or so before Christmas, I was delighted to find out that I’ve been awarded the inaugural R.A.K. Mason Writer’s Fellowship. This’ll give me a room to live and write in for three weeks in April 2014.

The new fellowship is offered by New Zealand Pacific Studio, Mt Bruce, Wairarapa. The call-out stated “the purpose of this Fellowship is to explore different literary forms or genres and their potential”, and invited applications from “writers working in, or across, literary genres in interesting ways”.

New Zealand Pacific Studio is a nonprofit organisation that offers residencies to creative practitioners and researchers at its residency centre at Mount Bruce. One of the things that appeals to me is that, for NZPS, “creative practitioners and researchers” include:

artists (all artforms), writers of all kinds, natural and cultural historians and storytellers, producers and film-makers, curators, musicians, science communicators, environmentalists, post-graduate students, and scholars

I can put hand on heart and say that I’ve fallen into almost all of those categories at one time or another, in an amateur if not a professional capacity. I think I’m going to feel right at home at New Zealand Pacific Studio.

The R.A.K. Mason Writer’s Fellowship is sponsored by Chris and Derek Daniell, local supporters of New Zealand Pacific Studio. I owe them — and NZPS — huge thanks in anticipation of the great boost this fellowship will give to the new novel, the relatively early stages of which I’m still wandering through, seeking focus (“ooh, look at all the shiny possibilities…”). In my application for the fellowship I said that in this new novel:

I’ll overlay the contemporary literary novel form with a scientist’s eye and viewpoint, and integrate with this the rhythm and attention to word placement of a poetic sensibility: in short, I’ll weave story and science and art together.

All wrapped up in a stonking good read, obviously (no pressure then). I’m working towards having a decent foundation for the novel — working title The Hope Fault — in place by April, so that I can really make the most of the three weeks of the fellowship.

Follow the New Zealand Pacific Studio Mt Bruce Facebook page for news, or visit the NZPS website. Or follow me here, where I’ll be posting from NPS during April 2014.

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