Funding cut for literary journal

Last updated 16:19 05/12/2013
Eleanor Catton
John Selkirk

RISING STAR: Eleanor Catton’s novel The Luminaries won the Man Booker Prize.

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The journal which published some of Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton's earliest work may be forced to close after it was denied arts funding.

Sport magazine, which has published new Kiwi writing for 25 years, had asked Creative New Zealand for $5000 for its 42nd edition.

Fergus Barrowman, publisher at Victoria University Press, edits the magazine in his own time. He co-founded it with writers Elizabeth Knox, Nigel Cox and Damien Wilkins in 1988.

He heard the funding had been refused on Wednesday.

"It's the first time in 25 years," he said.

"I went back to them to ask what the explanation [was] and it was about the budget - 'detail was missing or confusing about sales figures and distribution'."

However, Barrowman said it was the same budget format he had used before with no difficulty.

The information it needed could have been given easily if he was told about it, and some of what Creative NewZealand asked for showed a misunderstanding of how Sport worked.

"The reasons they have given seem to be entirely procedural - just details of the filling in of forms," Barrowman said.

"But the result is a pretty significant artistic decision."

Looking for another funder was not an option, besides which he believed Creative New Zealand should be funding the journal.

Catton's work first appeared in Sport in 2008, shortly before publication of her first novel, The Rehearsal.

She tweeted yesterday: "I'm really disappointed to hear that Creative NZ has withdrawn its support of SPORT. The wrong decision, whatever the rationale."

Other writers also went to twitter to express their disapproval.

Emily Perkins, author of The Forrests and The New Girl, said Sport was a huge loss to New Zealand.

"So sad for all the readers and writers of the future," she said.

"I find it hard to believe. Such a part of our landscape."

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