New Zealand-based writer says artists need universal basic income

Basic income for writers
Basic income for writers

By: Federico Magrin

See original post here.

A writer who has launched an online campaign to raise funds for her first novel, says artists are in a “constant hustle for funding”.

Emma Hislop (Kāi Tahu) published a collection of short stories in March and is now working on a novel but says the writing was threatened by the underfunding authors had to face.

Hislop said all the writers she knew in Aotearoa had other paid jobs – and managing a young family on top of that was a challenge.

“I tend to write for an hour as soon as I wake up before I do the school run and start my paid work, which I do mostly from home. And I write at night if I can stay awake,” she said.

“A universal basic income for artists is badly needed, in my opinion. The arts are seriously underfunded,” she said.

The universal basic income, or UBI, is a welfare measure that sees a payment made by the government to every individual, or with Hislop’s proposal to artists.

Later this year, the New Plymouth-based writer will travel to Dunedin as she was granted a writer’s residency at the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage.

“Being paid to write is the dream. But that doesn’t happen very often.

“I dream about having a month of solitude to write, uninterrupted, without numerous other jobs and responsibilities. But that’s just a dream. It’s a constant hustle for funding,” Hislop said.

Last year she received some Creative New Zealand funding, which has helped her to work on her first novel.

“It’s a book with a Kāi Tahu artist at its centre, and involves a major show in a newly built art gallery. I’m interested in place and office politics and power and how art galleries have historically been colonial spaces.

“I whakapapa Kāi Tahu, and am setting the novel near Dunedin. It seemed like an opportunity to make connections and learn more about where my whānau come from,” Hislop said.

With 23 days left on Boosted campaign, Hislop has already raised 62% of her $5000 goal.

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