Nominations sought for $60,000 prize
Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington - Wednesday, 21 May 2003

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Nominations are now being called for Australasia’s largest single literary award – the $60,000 Prize in Modern Letters.

Nominations must be received by 31 July 2003.

Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, says nominations are sought from New Zealand’s talented emerging writers for the biennial award.

“The Prize in Modern letters is designed to celebrate and advance the work of our best new writers,” he says.

The International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), based at Victoria University, administers the Prize in Modern Letters.

Professor Manhire will convene a panel of three judges who will announce a short list by 15 October 2003. Judges will pay particular attention to literary achievement and potential, and to the overall quality of authorship.

A USA-based judging panel will then determine the overall winner for the second time in the short history of the prestigious award.

The winner will be announced in March 2004 during the New Zealand Festival.

Conditions of entry, eligibility and nomination forms are available online at

In 2002, Catherine Chidgey was the inaugural winner of the Prize in Modern Letters after 30 entrants were short listed to four.

This week, Chidgey was named in The Listener as New Zealand's top novelist under 40 – as judged by a panel of reviewers and academics.

Chidgey is a graduate of Bill Manhire’s creative writing programme at Victoria University.

In March 2001, Glenn Schaeffer launched the International Institute of Modern Letters based at Victoria University’s Kelburn campus and, at the same time, initiated and provided funding for the Prize in Modern Letters.

Glen Schaeffer maintains close links with the University and received an honorary doctor of literature degree at a Victoria University graduation ceremony on 14 May, 2003.

Contact Bill Manhire, Director, International Institute of Modern Letters, phone (04) 463 6808.

Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact or phone 04 463 5163 or 025 675 5399