Vivid, absorbing story cycle wins 2021 Adam Foundation Prize

Sharron Came is the winner of this years' Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing, awarded for the best Master of Arts manuscript.

Four people looking happy
Left – right: Damien Wilkins, Sharron Came, Verna Adam, Kate Duignan
A novel-in-stories set in contemporary rural Northland, which examiners describe as “shades of Elizabeth Strout in the effortless interplay of stories” has been awarded the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) 2021 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing.

Sharron Came works as a regulatory strategist for renewable energy company, Mercury.

She wrote the winning manuscript, Peninsula, as part of her 2021 Master of Arts (MA) at the IIML, at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Sharron says, “I'm stoked. This year has been a precious opportunity and a team effort. I’m super grateful for the camaraderie and regular booster shots of encouragement, inspiration and insight delivered by my talented and wise classmates. To our coaches, thank you for furnishing us with guidance uncluttered by prescriptions.”

Supported by Wellingtonians Verna Adam and the late Denis Adam through the Victoria University Foundation, the $3,000 Adam Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding student in the MA in Creative Writing programme.

The examiners, which included novelist Chloe Lane, praised Peninsula for its “restrained lyricism; exciting and unflinching voice; vivid and unexpected characters; a whole world seen in stories.”

“Sharron tells expansive histories within small stories, says lecturer Kate Duignan, co-convenor of the MA programme, “Peninsula is a compassionate exploration of the inner and outer lives of people in a rural farming community over decades of change. It’s full of stoic, fierce people who brim with feeling, in rich and complex relationships with the land, and with one another.”

Sharron’s supervisor and Director of the IIML, Damien Wilkins says, “Sharron’s remarkable stories are full of energy and warmth. They can take in lives in just a few sentences. They’re also funny and surprising. Look out world!”

Previous Adam Foundation Prize recipients include authors Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall, Rebecca K Reilly, Eleanor Catton, Ashleigh Young, Hera Lindsay Bird and Tayi Tibble.