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Recipient of our $25,000 CLNZ Writers’ Award

21 September 2017

Adrian Keane

Ben Schrader, freelance historian who specialises in urban history and the history of the built environment, was presented with the CLNZ Writers’ Award in Wellington on Thursday evening (21 September 2017).

Ben receives $25,000, one of the highest non-fiction prizes in New Zealand literature, towards his project Won and Lost: Saving New Zealand’s Built Heritage 1885-2016. The book will feature case studies of mainly urban buildings and places throughout New Zealand history, and will ask what led communities to come together to save them and whether motivations have changed over time.

Ben’s first book, We Call it Home: A History of State Housing of New Zealand (2005) was a finalist in the 2006 Montana book awards. His second book, The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920 (2016) was shortlisted for the 2017 Ockham book awards.

On winning the CLNZ Writers’ Award, Ben comments, “Receiving this award is tremendous. It’s hard for scholars who work outside institutions to progress research projects in a timely manner when there is also the necessity to earn a living. This award will enable me to devote several months to full-time research and writing and significantly advance the project. It’s a real boon and I’m very grateful.”

Paula Browning, CEO of Copyright Licensing said, “Our report into New Zealand writers’ earnings that was released earlier this year proved that it’s more important than ever that writers are supported to have time to write. This is especially true for heavily researched non-fiction subjects like the one that this years’ award winner will be undertaking.”

39 applications were received for the award this year, with a strong theme in conservation. Overall comments from the judges were that although applications numbers were lower from last year, the standard of the applications was very high with some fascinating projects.

Funding for the CLNZ Writers’ Award comes from CLNZ’s Cultural Fund which derives revenue from CLNZ’s licensing activity in New Zealand. The licensed copying of copyright material is helping to fund the creation of new work.

For more information about the CLNZ Writers' Award, click here.