Eleanor Catton Sets Up Grant for Writers to Read and Learn, and It's Fantastic on So Many Levels
I already adore the 2013 Man Booker prize-winning author of The Luminaries, who, besides being the youngest-ever writer to snag the honor at 28, has also stood up to sexism in the publishing industry. Now, there's even more reason to celebrate her: Eleanor Catton has set up a grant to give writers time to read and learn.
This is so cool — stuff.co.nz reports that while accepting her latest awards ('cause, yes, she keeps accruing them) from the New Zealand Post for best fiction and people's choice, the author announced that she'd be using the NZ $15,000 (that's about $12,500) to set up a grant that would allow writers to expand their knowledge-base and creativity by reading as well as writing. She told the attendees, "Writers are readers first; indeed our love of reading is what unites us above all else. If our reading culture in New Zealand is dynamic, diverse, and informed, our writing culture will be too."
The author told The Guardian that the writers who score the grant will each get a no strings attached NZ $3,000 for "time to read," except that "after three months they will be expected to write a short piece of non-fiction about their reading." The coolest part is that the paper will be posted online so everyone can benefit from the endeavor. Imagine how good these essays could be with such substantial time to digest the pieces that inspire them. (Maybe we'll find our next Leslie Jamison, Eula Biss, or Roxane Gay!)
Catton hasn't yet named the grant... you know, in case some philanthropist happens to want to slap her own title on it, as well as contribute some more bucks to the fund. (Go! Go!)
Being a good reader and writer go hand-in-hand: it's something we've talked about before here at Bustle, and, of course, that writers as a community at large talk about, too. How could would it be if Catton's idea spirals out to become something huge?