One of New Zealand’s oldest birds wins prize for newest talent
A book about a Moa – described by judges as illuminating, entertaining and utterly original – has won the New Zealand Society of Authors’ Best First Book non-fiction prize in the New Zealand Post Book Awards.
Quinn Berentson’s book Moa: The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird published by Craig Potton was singled out by the judges as one of the “best surprises of all the books we read.”
The other winners were the poetry book Graft by Helen Heath and the fiction title, I Got His Blood on Me by Lawrence Patchett.
What the judges said about the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book award winners
Graft by Helen Heath (winner of the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry award) published by Victoria University Press: “Helen Heath is a candid poet, unflinching, both with what she sees close to her and in the mirror, but capable of great generosity too. Her mother is so beautifully evoked that we feel we know her. Some of the poems are so sad they ache. This is a brave, moving, revealing and assured collection.”
I Got His Blood on Me by Lawrence Patchett (winner of the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book for Fiction award) is also from Victoria University Press. “We congratulate Lawrence on his originality, his skills as a story teller, and the welcome audacity of a short story collection which ranges from playing with history, to magic realism, to a tougher kind of realism entirely: all of it somehow plausible.”
Moa: The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird by Quinn Berentson (winner of the NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book for Non-Fiction award): “Moa tells the extinct bird’s story in an exhaustive, scholarly and utterly engaging way. Think of Moa as a really great historical biography, in which almost everyone (including the bird itself) is varying degrees of mad.”
The category finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards will be announced next week, and the winners will be revealed during a star-studded literary awards ceremony in Auckland on 28 August.
For more information on the New Zealand Post Book Awards contact:
The New Zealand Post Book Awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and sponsored by New Zealand Post. The awards are also supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens New Zealand.