Monday, December 10, 2012

Enthralling and absorbing novel wins Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing for 2012

A novel which imagines in luminous detail a coastal South Island settlement ruled by myth and ritual has won the prestigious Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing for 2012.

This year's winner is Kerry Donovan-Brown for Lamplighter.

Supported by Wellingtonians Denis and Verna Adam through the Victoria University Foundation, the $3,000 prize is awarded annually to an outstanding student in the Master of Creative Writing programme at Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML).

Damien Wilkins, co-convenor of this year’s Master’s programme, said he was struck by the originality and freshness of the work. “Kerry’s writing has elements of folklore and fairy tale, but the real amazement here is how vividly rendered the imagined world is. All this invention is also tied to a compelling story about a young man asserting his independence. I think it’s a book that will enthral readers.”

Last year Kerry completed the Short Fiction Workshop at the IIML. He has a BA in English Literature from Victoria and Massey, and he also studied at Toi Whakaari. In 2010, he was published in Turbine.

Kerry has recorded an extract from his winning work for this year’s Turbine (

Acclaimed writer Lawrence Patchett, one of the examiners for Kerry’s thesis, said that he found the novel absorbing and poignant. He commented that “Over the course of reading and thinking about this story, I have been haunted by its characters… I salute your ability to imagine an unusual world so richly and coherently.”

Damien Wilkins, Senior Lecturer at the IIML, said Lamplighter stood out in another strong year. "Kerry’s novel will attract lots of publisher interest—and there are quite a few other writing projects from this year’s class which will also be wanted books in the very near future."

Previous Adam Foundation Prize recipients include acclaimed authors Catherine Chidgey, Paula Morris, William Brandt and Eleanor Catton.

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