The Horoeka/Lancewood Reading Grant

  • I established the Horoeka / Lancewood Reading Grant to give New Zealand writers the means and opportunity not to write, but to read, and to share what they have read with their colleagues in the arts.

    I hope that this endeavour will challenge our tendency to measure the value of art in the proof of artistic production and productivity, and that it will restore value to the crucial but in many ways unquantifiable activity of reading. Most of all, I hope that the grant will encourage free and curious discussion about books.

    Each grant is worth NZD$2000, with half awarded at the beginning of the reading period, and half at the end, whereupon the recipient submits a short essay that discusses what they have read and what they thought about it. These essays are then published on this site along with a bibliography.

    The Horoeka / Lancewood Reading Grant does not yet have charitable status; anyone wishing to make a taxable donation, however, is of course most welcome to do so. I have supplied the funding for each grant so far.

    The horoeka, or lancewood, is a New Zealand native tree that begins its life defensively, with sharp rigid leaves and a narrow bearing, and in maturity transforms into a shape that is confident, open and entirely new—so different, in fact, that the young and old versions of the tree look absolutely unalike. That is what I believe reading can do.


    Eleanor Catton

    Auckland, 2015


    Latest Essay

    ‘A sort of prologue to the life I intend to pursue’, by Sylvan Thomson

    In the summer of 1818, when he was 22 years old, the poet John Keats walked northward from Lancaster in England to Inverness in Scotland. He went with his dear friend Charles Brown, who I like to think of as a sort of stolid Samwise to Keats’ wide-eyed Frodo. It took them five weeks and […]

    Posted in Essays | Tagged | 2 Comments