Sue Wootton announced as 2020 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow

By Rachel Dewhurst - Brown Bread Ltd | Posted: Thursday October 3, 2019

  • The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship established in 1970 and is the only privately funded fellowship in New Zealand.
  • The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship is for an established creative writer to spend three months or more in Menton, in southern France, to work on a project or projects.
  • The residency is open to creative writers across all genres including fiction, children's fiction,poetry, creative non-fiction and playwriting.
  • Sue Wootton will be using her time in Menton to work on new poetry.
  • The residency provides a grant of $35,000 to cover travel to and accommodation in Menton.
  • A room beneath the terrace of Villa Isola Bella is available for use to the fellow as a study.Katherine Mansfield spent long periods at Villa Isola Bella in 1919 and 1920 after she contracted tuberculosis. The climate in southern France was thought to be beneficial to her health.

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 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.


About the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship

For fifty years, since 1970, the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship has allowed a New Zealand writer to live and write for three months or more in Menton in southern France. There, they have access to the writing room in Villa Isola Bella where Katherine Mansfield once lived and worked.

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.

The Fellowship is now managed by the Arts Foundation with the support of an Advisory Committee that includes members of the Winn-Manson Menton Trust. It is the only privately funded literary fellowship in New Zealand.

The recipient can undertake the residency any time in the calendar year following the announcement of the award provided the Fellow is present in Menton during the 20-27 September 2020. The reason for this is that the 2020 Fellow will be the 50th Fellow to go to Menton and celebrations are planned. The celebrations next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the appointment of the first Fellow Owen Leeming.

Sue Wootton is available for interview

Contact Rachel Dewhurst for more information:
Rachel Dewhurst, Marketing & Communications Manager
Brown Bread Ltd.
021 771 009

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