Sunday, May 5, 2013

Big bucks for writers

How does $35,000 sound?  Could be yours. All you have to do is present a serious proposal for a serious non-fiction book to Copyright Licensing New Zealand, which hands out the dosh, and you’re away.

If you win, you will be in good company. Previous published winners include Paul Millar (No Fretful Sleeper: a life of Bill Pearson), Lloyd Spencer Davis (Looking for Darwin), Jill Trevelyan (Rita Angus: an artist’s life), Judith Dell Panny (A Plume of Bees: a literary biography of CK Stead), Martin Edmond (The Zone of the Marvellous), Hazel Riseborough (Shear Hard Work) and Peter Wells (The Hungry Heart).

There are two awards available. CLNZ encourages all writers of non-fiction to apply, whether their subject is science, business, Maori and Pacific studies, the arts or, like, whateverYou do have to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and a writer of proven merit.

You also have to deliver: not every winner has done so. I am involved with various trusts, boards and other funding organisations – including CLNZ – and they are losing their patience and beginning to share information. We all understand that projects can fall over despite the best of intentions – but some writers are developing a record of non-delivery. To misquote Lady Bracknell: failing to deliver one project may be regarded as a misfortune; failing to deliver two looks like carelessness.   

But if you are serious, go for it. I would if I could. Applications close on Wednesday 26 June and full details are here.

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