Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Sue Wootton announced as 2020 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow





Dunedin author Sue Wootton has been selected as the next Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow and plans to use her time in Menton to write new poetry.

“I still remember reading Katherine Mansfield’s Bliss when I was a teenager, and being knocked sideways by what she could do with a sentence. Forty years on, and I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to live and write for three months in Menton, France, as the 2020 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow. My main project while I’m there will be writing poetry towards a new collection whose working title is Systems of Light. I have the wonderful feeling that the chance to immerse myself in a completely different place and language will generate, to use Katherine Mansfield’s phrase, a whole new “shower of sparks”, says Sue Wootton.

Sue Wootton’s most recent publications are her novel, Strip, which was longlisted in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and her fifth poetry collection, The Yield, which was a finalist in these awards in 2018. Sue grew up in Whanganui and Wellington and now lives in Dunedin. A physiotherapist-turned-writer, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Otago, researching the importance of imagination and language in recovery and wellbeing. She co-edits Corpus: Conversations about Medicine and Life, found at https://corpus.nz/ and teaches creative writing in schools, universities and community settings. She is currently writing a novel about a group of friends caught up in the 1948 polio epidemic.

Sue was the successful recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in a very strong field of New Zealand writers spanning all genres of literary endeavour. The selection panel was impressed by the breadth of her work to date and the well-developed project put forward for her time in Menton, when she will be working on her sixth poetry collection. This body of work will continue her substantial and acclaimed body of work which includes 5 poetry collections, a children’s book and a novel. In recent years she has shown her eminence in her chosen literary fields thorough winning several international and national poetry competitions, as well as receiving awards for her short stories.


Previous recipients include Paula Morris (2019 fellow), Carl Nixon, Kate Camp, Anna Jackson, Mandy Hager, Greg McGee, Justin Paton, Chris Price, Ken Duncum, Damien Wilkins, Jenny Pattrick, Stuart Hoar, Dame Fiona Kidman, Ian Wedde and other prestigious writers such as Bill Manhire, Janet Frame, Witi Ihimaera, Elizabeth Knox, Lloyd Jones, Roger Hall, Marilyn Duckworth, Michael King and Allen Curnow.


Warm congratulations from Poetry Shelf!

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