The Fellowship is one of New Zealand's oldest and most esteemed literary awards. It provides a residency of at least six months in Menton, France and NZ$75,000. The support of the city of Menton enables a New Zealand author to work at the Villa Isola Bella, where Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote during the latter part of her life.
“This generous residency is every New Zealand writer’s dream, not only for the opportunity to travel to Menton and walk in the footsteps of many of our greatest writers, but also because it provides the gift of time and freedom from usual work commitments,’’ Hager says.
She plans to research a novel about the life of nun, scholar and writer Héloïse d’Argenteuil, known for her doomed love affair with 12th Century religious philosopher Pierre Abélard.
“To be able to walk through the actual medieval locations, and steep myself in the culture and history surrounding Héloïse’s story, is a priceless gift: one I am sure I will treasure forever. I am thrilled, honoured and also extremely grateful to the Winn-Manson Menton Trust for acknowledging the importance of young adult fiction.’’
Established in 1970, the Menton Fellowship is open to established and mid-career New Zealand writers. There have been 42 recipients, including Janet Frame, Michael King, Lloyd Jones, Witi Ihimaera, Bill Manhire, Dame Fiona Kidman, Justin Paton, and in 2013, Greg McGee.