A huge congratulations to MA Creative Writing (Paris) graduate, Tom Baragwanath, who has been shortlisted for the 2021 Michael Gifkins Prize for an unpublished manuscript. The shortlist was recently announced by Text Publishing and the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc). Tom is one of three finalists for his manuscript, Paper Cage, a literary thriller about abducted children, a community in crisis—and a woman who may have to balance one against the other.
Tom shares, “Paper Cage is a literary thriller manuscript I completed while undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at Kent University. It concerns a series of child abductions in small-town New Zealand, and one woman’s efforts to balance her loyalties to her family and community against her obligations to the state.
Living in Paris, I find myself thinking often of the Wairarapa region in New Zealand, which is my home, and where the novel is set. There is a certain gorgeous emptiness there, and working on this story was a chance to experience that environment every day. The guidance and feedback from my teachers and fellow students during my year at Kent helped me to test and refine new ideas and approaches to my characters, and to find the confidence I needed to tell this story.”