Monday, April 11, 2016

Victoria scholar receives prestigious Cambridge scholarship

A Victoria University of Wellington researcher is off to Cambridge University after winning a scholarship following her work on New Zealand literary giant Katherine Mansfield.

Anna Plumridge graduated from Victoria as a Master of Arts in English with distinction after completing her thesis on Mansfield’s The Urewera Notebook, which was subsequently published as a book.

She has now been selected as a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to complete a PhD in English Literature at Cambridge University starting this October.

Victoria is ranked number one in New Zealand for research quality and Miss Plumridge says her time at Victoria was pivotal to her academic success.

“Victoria put my work on a global platform, starting with the Victoria University Katherine Mansfield Conference in 2013 when I read my first piece of work on Katherine Mansfield, which was an adapted version of my Honours paper. The international status of Victoria pulled some great Mansfield critics to the event, including Jackie Jones, the literary editor at Edinburgh University Press, which eventually published my thesis.”

Miss Plumridge says The Urewera Notebook sheds a new light on New Zealand’s history, the nature of Mansfield, and the relationship that New Zealand settlers had with Māori. Her studies at Cambridge will continue to enrich New Zealand’s national culture as she focuses on the novel Erewhon by Samuel Butler, which was inspired by time he spent in New Zealand.

Victoria University Emeritus Professor Vincent O’Sullivan and Professor Peter Whiteford supported the research.

Professor Whiteford says Miss Plumridge’s success is evidence that Victoria can foot it with the best.

“There are close to 4,000 applications worldwide for the Gates scholarship annually. From that, only around 50 are awarded. This shows Anna’s talent, and the success that Victoria can provide.”

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