An experienced panel of 12 judges – including prize-winning writers and poets, as well as historians, academics, curators and one of the country’s most respected booksellers – will select the best books published this year for the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
The Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, which will bestow $53,000 on its 2019 winner, will be judged by programme director of WORD Christchurch Rachael King, whose novel The Sound of Butterflies won the Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction in 2007; novelist, short story writer and lecturer James George (Ngāpuhi); and journalist, reviewer and editor Sally Blundell. They will be joined by a well-known international judge, whose identity will be revealed in March 2019, to decide the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four.
Finalists and the ultimate winner in the Poetry category will be selected by three acclaimed poets: creative writing teacher Airini Beautrais; Massey University Associate Professor Bryan Walpert; and Karlo Mila, who runs an indigenous leadership programme and whose collection Dream Fish Floating won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry in 2015.
The Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction will be judged by science writer Rebecca Priestley, Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington and recipient of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize; award-winning historian and University of Otago academic Angela Wanhalla; and curator, educator and writer Karl Chitham (Ngāpuhi), director of Tauranga Art Gallery, Toi Tauranga.
Well-known writer, curator and commentator on all aspects of architecture, design and art Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, whose book At Home: A Century of New Zealand Design won the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction in 2005, is joined in judging the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award by writer and curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery Lucy Hammonds; and experienced bookseller Bruce Caddy, recently retired from a retail career spanning more than 40 years in several of the country’s best bookshops.
Paula Morris, chair of the Ockhams sub-committee of governing body the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, highlights that many of the 2019 judges are writers – and previous award-winners – themselves. “All are part of our vibrant literary culture here in New Zealand, and bring expertise and insights, as well as a passion for reading, to the demands of judging a major prize.”
She also points to the fact that the number of books entered in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards increases every year, requiring more time for reading and deliberation by the judges. “As a result, after consultation within the industry, we have moved the announcement of the 2019 longlist to late January,” says Morris.
The judges will make their longlist of up to 10 books per category known on 31 January 2019 and the 2019 shortlist of 16 books will be announced on 6 March.
The winners will be announced at an awards evening held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival on Tuesday 14 May 2019.
The first round of submissions to the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards closes on 10 September 2018. Titles published between 1 January 2018 and 31 August 2018 must be submitted no later than 5pm, on this date. Entries for titles published between 1 September 2018 and 31 December 2018 open on 11 September and close at 5pm on Wednesday 24 October 2018. Entries can be made via http://www.nzbookawards.nz/new-zealand-book-awards/form/
The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, the Acorn Foundation, Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and Auckland Writers Festival, and are administered by the Festival on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.
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Announced today, the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalists join a literary hall of fame that dates back to 1968 and features New Zealand’s most famous and distinguished writers.
The finalist books were selected by four panels of three specialist judges and were drawn from 40 longlisted titles selected out of more than 150 entries.
New Zealand Book Awards Trust chair Nicola Legat says this year’s shortlist demonstrates the diversity, depth and skill of New Zealand writers.
“These books reflect who we are as people and how we are developing as a nation, demonstrating that the writer’s role is as important now as it was half a century ago. Like many of the books nominated in previous years’ awards, the cream of this year’s crop are destined to become classics.”
In the contest for the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, University of Canterbury Professor of English Patrick Evans’ novel Salt Picnic vies with debut writer Annaleese Jochems’ Baby, Wellington lawyer Brannavan Gnanalingam’s Sodden Downstream, and novelist and creative writing teacher Pip Adam’s The New Animals. “We have selected four novels that directly confront and ask questions of both the world and the reader,” says the category judging convenor Jenna Todd. “These authors are pushing at the edges of what is possible in fiction in a style that’s both engaging and brave.”
The finalists in the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction category are renowned historian and anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond for Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds; journalist Diana Wichtel for her debut book Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father; Massey University Professor of History Michael Belgrave for Dancing with the King: The Rise and Fall of the King Country 1864-1885, and cartoonist Tom Scott for his memoir Drawn Out.
General Non-Fiction category convenor Ella Henry says there was a high degree of unanimity among the judges about these four books. “One book made me laugh, one made me cry, one reminded me of New Zealand’s complex history, and the other gave me great hope about the future of our nation.”
Matariki Williams, convenor of the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award category judging panel, says that evocative language interwoven with a remarkable range of imagery gave the category’s finalists a lasting impact. They are: Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins; Tōtara: A Natural and Cultural History by Philip Simpson; Gordon Walters: New Vision by Zara Stanhope (commissioning editor), Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite, and The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula by Jonathan West.
“These books, each of which was multi-layered in approach and execution, showcased the rich social, cultural, material and environmental history that has shaped Aotearoa. They were not just beautiful to look at but they were also all a joy to read,” says Ms Williams.
Collections by four acclaimed established poets comprise this year’s Poetry Award shortlist. They are Anchor Stone by Tony Beyer, Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither, Rāwāhi by Briar Wood, and The Yield by Sue Wootton.
Poetry category convenor Robert Sullivan says it was an excellent year for poetry. “These shortlisted books are thoughtful, luminous, both precisely and generously descriptive of emotion and intellect, delighting in the dance of language. These lyrical poets channel fine depths to lift up poems as lights,” says Mr Sullivan.
The 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist titles are:
Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize:
- The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press)
- Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press)
- Sodden Downstream by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)
- Baby by Annaleese Jochems (Victoria University Press)
- Anchor Stone by Tony Beyer (Cold Hub Press)
- Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither (Auckland University Press)
- Rāwāhi by Briar Wood (Anahera Press)
- The Yield by Sue Wootton (Otago University Press)
Illustrated Non-Fiction Award:
- Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds by Alison Jones and Kuni Kaa Jenkins (Bridget Williams Books)
- Tōtara: A Natural and Cultural History by Philip Simpson (Auckland University Press)
- Gordon Walters: New Vision by Zara Stanhope (commissioning editor), Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons, Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Dunedin Public Art Gallery)
- The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula by Jonathan West (Otago University Press)
Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non Fiction:
- Dancing with the King: The Rise and Fall of the King Country, 1864-1885 by Michael Belgrave (Auckland University Press)
- Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds by Anne Salmond (Auckland University Press)
- Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin NZ)
- Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press)
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 15 2018, held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival.
Find out more about the shortlisted titles here.
We are thrilled that Station R in Mt Eden has made the shortlist for 2018 Home of the Year - a huge achievement for our in-house architect, Martin King. We can't wait to hear the results. Click here to view all the exquisite entries.