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Central Otago writer Jillian Sullivan says a writing fellowship will allow her "precious time'' to research her next work.
The Oturehua resident was last week announced as the recipient of the New Zealand Society of Authors Peter and Diane Beatson Fellowship.
She plans to use the $7000 fellowship to work on a collection of creative non-fiction essays, including poetry, set in Central Otago, with a strong conservation base.
"I'm thankful to Peter and Diane Beatson for this opportunity,'' Sullivan said.
"A fellowship such as this provides precious time to go deeply into a project. And it's encouraging and sustaining to have support for my work by writers I respect. I'm looking forward to a lot of hiking in our dryland environment, investigating our district historically, sociologically and ecologically.
"I start from the premise: how do we appreciate and respect - protect - the place we live, our home in this country, if we don't know it?''
A NZSA statement said the fellowship was awarded each year to a mid-career or senior writer to work on a project that showed a high level of literary merit and national significance.
Selection panel convener David Hill said Sullivan's "meticulous, respectful and evocative essays'' would "provide a fascinating insight into an iconic part of New Zealand at a time when land and our stewardship of it are increasingly relevant and urgent topics''.
Sullivan teaches creative writing each year for the Highlights Foundation in the United States and works part-time as a nurse aide at Maniototo Hospital in Ranfurly.
She is the author of 12 books, including the memoir A Way Home, about building a straw-bale house and forging "a new life'', in Oturehua.
Her previous awards include the United States' Highlights Fiction Award, the Kathleen Grattan Prize and the Takahe Prize for poetry.