October 21, 2009


New Zealand Post and the Katherine Mansfield Menton Trust today announced Wellington playwright Ken Duncum as winner of the 2010 New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize.

The $100,000 Prize is the most valuable international residency programme for New Zealand writers and enables them to work at the Villa Isola Bella in Menton, France, where famed writer Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote in 1919 and 1920. The Prize covers return travel to France and living and accommodation expenses.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize, formerly known as the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship.

Ken Duncum is the third winner since New Zealand Post became the principal partner with the Trust in 2007 and significantly increased the prize value. He has been writing for theatre and television for more than 20 years and is the Director of Scriptwriting at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. 

Mr Duncum says he is looking forward to going to a different place, doing different things.

"Most writers spend a lot of their life doing other things to support themselves so they are able to write. In a funny way, the prize writers want most, is time. I have more projects and ideas in my head than I have time to write. That’s why this Prize means a huge amount to me. I get an extended period to just write, and to catch up with myself." 

New Zealand Post Group Acting Chief Executive Sam Knowles said: "We are delighted that Ken Duncum is the latest in a long and distinguished line of New Zealand writers to be awarded the Katherine Mansfield Prize. We keenly anticipate the work that will flow from his time in Menton." 

The Prize has supported many authors over the years, including Janet Frame, Witi Ihimaera, Vincent O’Sullivan and Dame Fiona Kidman. Last year’s Prize winner, Jenny Pattrick, is about to finish her time in Menton. 

Chair of the Katherine Mansfield Menton Trust Richard Cathie said, "It is special that the 2010 prizewinner is a playwright as there have been few playwrights who have won the prize over the years. Ken Duncum plans to work on two major theatre projects during his time in Menton. We can look forward to continuing output from this distinguished writer." 

The New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize is offered in conjunction with the Winn-Manson Menton Trust and administered by Creative New Zealand. 

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