A rising star of New Zealand fiction whose first novel had a big international impact has been awarded the 2012 University of Auckland residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre.
Eleanor Catton’s first novel The Rehearsal was released in New Zealand and the United Kingdom in 2008-09, and translation rights have been sold in 12 languages. It won multiple New Zealand and international awards, including the Amazon.ca Best First Book Award (2011). It was on the longlist for the Orange Prize and for the International Dublin Writer’s Award, and was on the shortlist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Award.
Eleanor won the 2007 Sunday Star-Times short story competition and then two fellowships at the prestigious University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2008 to 2010). She has appeared at numerous writers’ festivals around the world. She currently holds the Ursula Bethell Residency at the University of Canterbury.
Eleanor has been awarded the six-month residency which runs from July 2012. The residency is a partnership between The University of Auckland, Creative New Zealand and the Michael King Writers’ Centre. It aims to foster New Zealand writing by providing an opportunity for an author to work full-time on a major project in an academic environment. The residency comes with a $30,000 stipend, together with free accommodation and a studio working space at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport, Auckland.
Eleanor plans to work on a quartet of novels for young adults, which will read as “fantastical thrillers”. They will be based on the seventeenth century Enlightenment, conceiving that period in Western history as the death of magic and the beginning of a new world order, a transition from a feudal worldview into a more democratic one.