Without question the greatest literary prize in New Zealand is a NZ Post Katherine Mansfield Fellowship. A long litany of literary luminaries have had the honour of being based at Katherine Mansfield's Mentonhome from the 1920s, Villa Isola Bella. Janet Frame, Witi Ihimaera, Dame Fiona Kidman, Maurice Gee … and now, Damien Wilkins.
I met with Damien at the Villa Isola Bella last week, an interview for my PhD. He made some great comments about how his time with family in Menton is going so far, what he hopes to get from his time in France, and what on earth it all means to be a Katherine Mansfield Fellow. I have a recording of that which'll get posted up here real soon.
For anyone who's been to Menton, there's a great irony for NZilders in the location of our great literary spot coinciding with the place where the guy who invented rugby died and is buried. Rue Webb Ellis and Rue Katherine Mansfield meet at an intersection under the railway station Menton Garavan. Who would have thought? All our stars are coming into line......
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