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Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Fund for New Zealand Writers

Sir James McNeish, with his wife, Lady Helen, has established the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust/McNeish Fellowship, a travel fellowship for young New Zealand writers and journalists.

As the press release circulated by the New Zealand Society of Authors reads: “Sir James says the Fellowship has been established to give an established writer exposure to a culture and environment quite different to the one he or she knows. The scheme recognises the need for writers from a remote country like New Zealand to get away so their horizons can shift and expand and they, on returning, can look at their homeland with fresh eyes.
“James McNeish, a former Winston Churchill Fellow, was knighted for services to literature in 2011 and says he would never have become the writer he is without the injection of experience gained from working and living in foreign cultures.
“An initial donation of $50,000 will be made to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust by Sir James and Lady Helen McNeish, with provision for a further donation of $50,000 in their joint wills. The donations will follow the same investment strategy as the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fund, with grants initially of $5000 to $7000 and up to a maximum of $10,000 being made off the interest.

Guidelines indicate a preference for applicants who choose to travel to an under-developed or Third World region or a society whose culture is not fundamentally Anglo-Saxon.
“Rachael Selby, Chair of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Board, says: ‘We are thrilled to be able to sponsor this joint Fellowship. We hope the innovation will lead to further interest in the Trust and the Fellowships that are offered. It opens the door to other individuals and organisations that may consider joining with the Trust to provide opportunities for New Zealanders to travel and learn from the experience.’
“The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, established in 1965, assists 15 to 20 New Zealanders each year to travel overseas to learn more about other people and cultures and to investigate topics that will help them to increase their contribution to the community and their trade, industry, profession, business or calling. Each Fellow produces a report to support wide public dissemination of their learning. It is expected that the first successful applicant will travel abroad in 2013.
“The New Zealand Winston Churchill Memorial Trust is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs. More information about the Trust is available at
James’s memoir, Touchstones, is to be published by Random House in July.

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