Dear Eleanor Catton

Last year, Eleanor Catton announced that she would set up a grant that would pay to let writers read.  Unfortunately, you’re only eligible for this grant if you live in New Zealand.  Not to lean on a colonialist crutch, but I live in Great Britain now, and we have the same queen, so am I eligible?  I actually am going to go so far as to say nobody in the entire world would make better use of this time and money than I would.  According to the website, applicants don’t need to fill out a form, but rather just “contact the grant administrators via email and explain who they are, what they would like to read, and why.”  So here’s my application: I’m working on a book about religious conversion, right?  So I started to read some Tolstoy.  I thought, “I should read A Confession, and then move on my merry little way.”  Three months later, and I’ve set up shop at the British Library with a stack of Tolstoy-related tomes next to me, including but not limited to J. C. Kenworthy’s A Pilgrimage to Tolstoy and a history of the Tolstoyan movement in Britain by Charlotte Allston.  And this is only for one chapter of the project––imagine all the books I’ll need to write about, among other things, Karaite Judaism, Mirabehn, Jerusalem Syndrome, the digital caliphate, “inter-generational religious perpetuity,” the philo-Semitic yearnings of confessional poets, hipsid-ism, scientific studies based on the theories of William James, and so on.  I JUST DON’T HAVE THESE KINDS OF FUNDS, ELEANOR!

2 Responses to “Dear Eleanor Catton”

  1. Matthew Levy Says:

    Ok fine we’ll move to Wellington. At least they have good wine.

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