Media Releases

Virtual Storytimes Aotearoa: A new programme announcement from The Coalition for Books

By Media Releases

New Zealand schools, libraries and early childhood education centres are keen to ensure that children are still able to enjoy all that a good book has to offer during these unsettling times. Providing storytimes for children through online platforms is something that New Zealand authors and publishers and the cross-sector organisation, The Coalition for Books, are committed to supporting. We aim to make the process as easy as possible for publishers, authors, teachers, early childhood educators and librarians.

Virtual Storytimes Aotearoa will permit, on a temporary basis, the recording of readings of books from participating publishers and posting of the video recording online. Educators and librarians will be able to confidently bring New Zealand stories and literature to students during this challenging time.

“We are pleased to partner with the Publishers Association of New Zealand and The Coalition for Books to facilitate online storytimes while schools and libraries are temporarily closed,” says Paula Browning, CEO of Copyright Licensing New Zealand. “Virtual Storytimes Aotearoa empowers educators and librarians to share stories from New Zealand publishers with their students during a time when they are needed more than ever.”

Librarians and educators are encouraged to take advantage of the programme to spread the word on social media using the hashtag #VirtualStorytimesAotearoa and tag @CLLNZ and @Publishers_NZ and @coalition4books along with individual creators and publishers.

New Zealand publishers who have signed up to Virtual Storytimes Aotearoa so far include David Bateman Ltd, Gecko Press, Milly Molly Children’s Publishing, Scholastic New Zealand, Te Papa Press, Te Reo Singalong Books and Walker Books Australia and New Zealand.

For more information about the terms and conditions, guidelines for use, and an updated list of participating publishers, please visit


PANZ actively represents New Zealand publishers’ interests to industry and government. The PANZ advocacy team works to inform the relevant government departments and industry bodies of key issues facing book publishers and how we can work effectively together. Strong support from the publishing industry is vital to this work. Association members are a diverse mix of general, literary and educational publishers, ranging from small independent niche publishers to large multinationals.

CLNZ provides licences to help make copying, scanning and sharing printed works easy and legal. A not-for-profit organisation, the net revenue generated from CLNZ licences is distributed to the creators of the work being copied. This helps licence-holders maximise resources, educates future creatives and provides an income to the clever people who created the work that is being copied. CLNZ contributes to the growth of our creative economy by enabling access to a world of content.

Contacts: Publishers Association of New Zealand: Catriona Ferguson, Association Director,

Copyright Licensing New Zealand: Paula Browning, Chief Executive,

The Coalition for Books, Jill Rawnsley, Manager,


Ockham Book Awards logo

Excellence Drives Fierce Competition in Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ Shortlist

By Media Releases

Ockham Book Awards logoDebut writers and literary luminaries vie for the country’s premier book honours in today’s finalist announcement of 16 compelling works that explore and re-imagine the natural, cultural and creative landscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ 2020 finalists were selected by four panels of three specialist judges (for fiction, poetry, illustrated non-fiction and general non-fiction) and were drawn from 40 longlisted titles that had been narrowed down from more than 170 entries – a 12 percent increase in submissions on the last three years.

The 2020 finalists for the $55,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction are: Auē by Becky Manawatu; Pearly Gates by Owen Marshall; A Mistake by Carl Shuker and Halibut on the Moon by David Vann.

Mark Broatch, spokesperson for the fiction judges, applauds the “cheeringly excellent year for New Zealand fiction,” with novels and short story collections of great range, depth and surprise.

“Forced to winnow a great longlist to four, the judges found that these books stood above the others – for their storytelling brio, their exploration of salient ideas, and their dedication to language as a salve and seasoning for the mind, the marrow, the spirit,” he says.

Award-winning Australian (Wiradjuri) writer Tara June Winch will assist the three New Zealand judges to select this year’s Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction winner.

The finalists in the 2020 Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry are: Moth Hour by Anne Kennedy; How to Live by Helen Rickerby; Lay Studies by Steven Toussaint and How I Get Ready by Ashleigh Young.

“The four shortlisted poets write in different styles, however all pay superb attention to craft, form and tone, and all have produced books with lasting impact,” says Poetry category convenor Kiri Piahana-Wong.

The 2020 Illustrated Non-Fiction category finalists are: Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai, Damian Skinner; Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance edited by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams, Puawai Cairns; We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee; and McCahon Country by Justin Paton.

Odessa Owens, convenor of the Illustrated Non-Fiction judging panel, says the four finalist books are landmark publications that address significant cultural milestones. “These brilliantly crafted publications also demonstrate the growing confidence of writers, designers and publishers to innovate with design and world-class production values,” she says.

The 2020 General Non-Fiction category finalists are:  Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter; Shirley Smith: An Examined Life by Sarah Gaitanos; Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry by Paula Green and Towards the Mountain: A Story of Grief and Hope Forty Years on from Erebus by Sarah Myles.

General Non-Fiction convenor of judges Sharon Dell says beautiful writing and compelling content have worked together to create four finalist books whose impact will be felt beyond this year. “The deployment of archival resources, solid research and the mining of memory bring insight into the lives of creative people, and an understanding of how individual lives and experiences reflect the identity and character of Aotearoa.”

New Zealand Book Awards Trust spokesperson Paula Morris says that “each year brings surprises, and this highly competitive year is no exception. The quality of books on the shortlists is exceptional. We anticipate that the decisions of the judges in each category will spark passionate debate.”

The winners of the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, including the four MitoQ Best First Book award winners, will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 12 May as a marquee event during the 2020 Auckland Writers Festival.

The 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlisted titles are:

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction:

Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press)

Pearly Gates by Owen Marshall (Vintage, Penguin Random House)

A Mistake by Carl Shuker (Victoria University Press)

Halibut on the Moon by David Vann (Text Publishing)


Mary and Peter Biggs Awards for Poetry:

Moth Hour by Anne Kennedy (Auckland University Press)

How to Live by Helen Rickerby (Auckland University Press)

Lay Studies by Steven Toussaint (Victoria University Press)

How I Get Ready by Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press)


Illustrated Non-Fiction Award:

Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai, Damian Skinner (Te Papa Press)

Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance edited by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams, Puawai Cairns (Te Papa Press)

We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee (Massey University Press)

McCahon Country by Justin Paton (Penguin Random House)


General Non-Fiction Award:

Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter (Victoria University Press)

Shirley Smith: An Examined Life by Sarah Gaitanos (Victoria University Press)

Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry by Paula Green (Massey University Press)

Towards the Mountain: A Story of Grief and Hope Forty Years on from Erebus by Sarah Myles (Allen & Unwin)

The General Non-Fiction, Poetry and Illustrated Non-Fiction category winners will each receive a $10,000 prize. The winners of the four MitoQ Best First Book awards will each receive $2,500.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs, MitoQ and the Auckland Writers Festival.

To find out more about the shortlisted titles go to


Kiwi kids are proactive readers who love to read home-grown authors

By Media Releases

The votes are in and Whitcoulls are delighted to announce their 2019 Kids’ Top 50 Books List today, September 23, 2019.  The big news is that Kiwi kids often discover what they want to read through their own research, are huge fans of books in a series and love to read local authors.

Whitcoulls Book Manager Joan Mackenzie said, ‘Almost 25% of the List is New Zealand books – a much higher proportion than we see in our Top 100 List for adult readers – which is a real reflection of the need for Kiwi kids to be able to recognise themselves and their own environment in the books they read.’

This year, 12 of the books in the List are by New Zealand authors, including perennial favourite Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, which claims second place.  Stories about dragons are popular again, with Kiwi author James Russell’s trilogies The Dragon Brothers Trilogy (#9) and The Dragon Defenders Series (#20) ranking high.

Other Kiwi stars and newcomers to the List are: Kimberly Andrews award-winning Puffin the Architect (#38); actor and comedian Rhys Darby’s The Top Secret Undercover Notes of Buttons McGinty (#42), the first book in a terrific new series full of plays on language, wit and Morse code; and Donovan Bixley’s Tales of Aotearoa Series (#48), a classic re-telling of our myths and legends.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series holds doggedly on to the number one spot again this year, but David Walliams’s grip on the List is unassailable, with five individual books and two series’ appearing.  Walliams has singlehandedly brightened up literally thousands of young readers’ lives over the last year and is the undisputed star of kids’ books these days.

For Whitcoulls, the List highlights the importance of listening to their younger readers and responding to their requests.  For some time, kids have been asking about #1 New York Times bestselling series Wings of Fire by Venezuelan-American author, Tui T. Sutherland and American cartoonist Raina Telgemeier’s coming of age books, including Smile.  Both, they discovered through their own research and voted into this year’s List, at numbers 34 and 46, respectively.

The List is always packed with book series and this year serial novels or chapter books comprise nearly half.  Significantly, Kiwi kids voted seven of them into the top ten, which suggests that once children discover a book series they like, they keep coming back for more.  Among the favourites are: Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series (# 4); Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man Series (# 5); and Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton’s The Treehouse Series (# 6).

‘The great thing about the List is that kids know these books have been voted for by their peers, which gives them confidence to try something new – and with all that fan base behind them, they are likely to be really engaging and enjoyable,’ says Mackenzie.

As ever, the List is a balanced mix of picture books for the young reader, a range of titles for the newly confident reader, as well as more challenging narratives for older children.

Whitcoulls see the publication of their annual Kids’ Top 50 Books List as a way to foster a love of reading – one of the cornerstones of a literate, rewarding life.

See the complete top 50 list here.

New Association Manager for Booksellers NZ named

By Media Releases


From Booksellers NZ

The Board of Booksellers NZ is delighted to announce the appointment of Dan Slevin to role of Association Manager, Booksellers NZ.

Dan has over 25 years experience working in all areas of the New Zealand media, having worked in live entertainment, arts, events and the motion picture industries.

Dan is the former Marketing & Communications Manager at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, and prior to that, he was Managing Editor of Fishhead Magazine.

Over the years Dan has been the grateful recipient of Booksellers NZ book tokens as a regular reviewer on RNZ National’s Nine to Noon programme and is excited to soon be helping shape the next chapter of the Association.

Chair of Booksellers NZ Juliet Blyth says, ‘Dan struck us immediately as the perfect fit for this role; his wealth of experience in adjacent sectors, his obvious book love and most of all his fundamental belief in the instrumental role Booksellers NZ plays in supporting a vibrant bookselling sector made him the clear contender for this role.’

Dan will begin at Booksellers NZ in October following the retirement of CEO Lincoln Gould.


For further information please contact Juliet Blyth, Chair, Booksellers NZ (027) 444 5062

The Coalition for Books: a dynamic new organisation for New Zealand literature announced

By Media Releases

A dynamic collaborative organisation has formed to make a tangible difference to the literary landscape of Aotearoa, supported by seed funding from Creative New Zealand (CNZ).

During its initial year, the Coalition will be a collaborative venture beneath the umbrella of the Auckland Writers Festival. Other significant founding organisations include the Booksellers Association, the Society of Authors, the Publishers Association, Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, the Michael King Writers Centre and the Academy of New Zealand Literature.

The Coalition for Books has a clear mandate: to complement the work of existing organisations, identify gaps in activities and develop initiatives that serve authors, publishers, booksellers and festivals. Through strategic activity and by mobilising the literary sector, it will enhance the visibility, sales and overall opportunities for New Zealand books and their writers.

Interim Chair Melanie Laville-Moore says, “A year in the making, the Coalition for Books feels like a watershed moment. It’s the very first time that so many representatives from across the literary sector have come to the same table to initiate important change. The potential to enable greater success for all of our organisations is huge. We’re immensely grateful to Creative New Zealand for believing in our vision and allowing us the opportunity to put plans into action.”

Auckland Writers Festival Director Anne O’Brien says the Coalition is a critical step in enhancing the health of the sector in challenging times. “The Festival shares the Coalition’s kaupapa of supporting and strengthening engagement for and with New Zealand writers and readers, and looks forward to working with sector colleagues to make a real difference to this country’s literary well-being.”

The inaugural meeting of the Coalition for Books will be held later this month during the Booksellers Association Conference to be held in Auckland. A new incorporated society will be established immediately afterwards.


For further information, please contact Melanie Laville-Moore, Interim Chair and Director of Allen & Unwin NZ on  T: 021 593 555

This year’s Book of the Year for young readers is “The Bomb”

By Media Releases

A sparkling story of courage and transformation has been judged the best book for young readers at this year’s national children’s book awards. The Bomb by Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan, was awarded the highest prize in children’s publishing – The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year – during a ceremony at Te Papa in Wellington to celebrate the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The judges were captivated by the spell this book cast. They described it as a summery, waterlogged, quintessentially Kiwi story about a child growing in self-confidence while striving to achieve the perfect “bomb”, supported every step of the way by the reassuring presence of his Nan.

“Joy and humour permeate the story and illustrations of The Bomb, and the reader is rewarded with each encounter – they see a new layer, another detail is revealed, fresh energy bubbles up,” says convenor of judges Crissi Blair. The judges also commended the language, which naturally incorporates te reo Māori, and the illustrations which celebrate our multicultural community.

Josh Morgan and Sacha Cotter at the 2019 NZCYA Awards. Image ©VanessaRushtonPhotography

The win rounded out an action-packed few months for the author and illustrator team of Cotter and Morgan, who have a winning partnership off the page as well, having recently become engaged and welcomed their first child into the world.

Seven other significant awards were also presented at the ceremony, held in Te Papa’s atmospheric Te Marae and attended by the country’s top children’s authors, illustrators, translators and publishers.

The Bomb also won the Picture Book Award. The judges said the books in this category “defied gravity” – being both simple and sophisticated in their message and illustration with serious child appeal but the ability to also delight adults.

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble, an enthralling eco-drama about a future without grasses, was awarded the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction, marking the second year in a row this category has been won by MacDibble. The judges found the unique voice and characterisation ensured the reader was emotionally invested while debating alternatives to the sometimes-violent measures taken to ensure survival.

Teenagers are very hard to please, said the judges in announcing the Young Adult Fiction Award, but the panel was confident the winner of this category, Legacy by Whiti Hereaka, was a book teens would love. They were unanimous in their appreciation for this novel, with its assured writing, cleverly constructed story and pitch-perfect historical rendering, which teaches much about life as a WWI Māori soldier.

An instantly engaging, slyly educational book peppered with a sense of humour won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction. Art-tastic by Sarah Pepperle is a rare book that makes art – in this case the iconic works in the Christchurch Art Gallery – accessible and fun for young readers and shows how it can touch all aspects of our lives.

With such high praise from the judges, it’s no surprise Art-tastic also took out the Best First Book Award, a fiercely contested prize in a field of books which all cut straight to the heart of what being a young person is about in very different ways.  But the judges couldn’t go past Pepperle’s “out-of-this-world talent” for presenting information – both factual and abstract – in a digestible, hilarious, approachable way, and praised her rare instinct for understanding how children work.

When it’s done well, children’s book illustration is a high form of art combining technique, taste and vision with the ability to tell a story. The judges found the art exceptional in Russell Clark Award for Illustration winner Puffin the Architect by Kimberly Andrews. They cited Andrews as an early-career treasure trove of talent, saying New Zealand children are lucky to have the rest of her career to look forward to.

The Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for te reo Māori was awarded to Te Haka a Tānerore by Reina Kahukiwa, illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond. The panel of judges convened by Te Rōpū Whakahau said the book enhanced readers’ understanding of Māori performing arts by telling the origin story of haka. They praised the way its close connection to identity and heritage was illustrated with exceptional artwork.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are a unique celebration of the contribution that New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage. The awards are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, the Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, Nielsen Book and Te Papa. They are administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.

The full list of winners for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults:

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award $7500

The Bomb, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Publishers)


Picture Book Award $7500

The Bomb, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Publishers)


Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction $7500

The Dog Runner, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)

Young Adult Fiction Award $7500

Legacy, Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction $7500

Art-tastic, Sarah Pepperle (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration $7500

Puffin the Architect, written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews (Penguin Random House)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for te reo Māori $7500

Te Haka a Tānerore, Reina Kahukiwa, illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond (Mauri Tū)

Best First Book Award $2000

Art-tastic, Sarah Pepperle (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)


Social Media Links


Facebook: /NewZealandCYABookAwards/

Twitter: /nzcya

Hashtag: #NZCYA


For interview opportunities, images and further information please contact:

Gemma Finlay, Notable PR

P: 027 628 9695                E:

Notes for Editors:

The judges of the 2019 awards were:  Crissi Blair (convenor), a long-time promoter and champion of children’s books; Jane Arthur, an editor, commentator and poet; Raymond Huber, a children’s author and editor, Tania Roxborogh, an educator and author; and Simie Simpson, a librarian.

They were joined by a panel appointed by Te Rōpū Whakahau to judge the te reo Māori entries, which was led by Moana Munro (convenor), kaitiaki pukapuka Māori for the Hastings District Libraries, Anahera Morehu, president-elect of LIANZA, and Jacqueline Joyce Snee, senior librarian Māori Research at Auckland Central Library.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust (a registered charity). Members of the Trust are Nicola Legat, Karen Ferns, Paula Morris, Catherine Robertson, Jenna Todd, David Bowles, Anne Morgan and Melanee Winder. The Trust also governs the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day.

Creative New Zealand is the national arts development agency of Aotearoa and has been a key partner of New Zealand’s book awards for decades. Creative New Zealand encourages, promotes and supports the arts in New Zealand and internationally for the benefit of all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, and advocacy initiatives. It offers financial support for emerging and established artists, art practitioners, groups and organisations, and provides training and online resources to help artists and practitioners develop professionally, grow audiences and markets, and manage their organisations. In addition, it supports internships and national touring activities to enhance the development of New Zealand arts. Creative New Zealand provides a wide range of support to New Zealand literature, including funding for writers and publishers, residencies, literary festivals and awards, and support of organisations which work to increase the readership and sales of New Zealand literature at home and internationally.

HELL Pizza was established in 1996 and now has 75 outlets throughout New Zealand. HELL has reinforced its commitment to getting more kids hooked on books by sponsoring the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The HELL Reading Challenge, initiated in 2014, continues to grow. HELL says it has ‘always challenged the norm, and with kids now becoming so engrossed with modern technology, we are bucking that trend and making reading cool again. We want pizza to be the gateway to reading addiction!’ The programme rewards students with a free ‘333 HELLthy pizza’ once they have read seven books and had their achievement approved by a local librarian with a stamp in each segment of their HELL pizza wheel. In 2018, 684 schools and 195 public libraries around New Zealand took part, and 300,000 pizza wheels were distributed, which means that some 2 million books were read by Kiwi kids as a

The Wright Family Foundation is dedicated to making a positive difference by advancing education and spreading knowledge, supporting individuals to achieve their full potential. Its goal is to “grow the good” in New Zealand. Supporting literacy and a passion for words and reading is a key focus of the foundation. Its CEO, Chloe Wright, is Patron of both the Kids’ Lit Quiz and the New Zealand Spelling Bee. By supporting the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the foundation hopes to champion New Zealand writers who will inspire the imagination of children.

LIANZA, the association for library and information professionals in New Zealand, introduced the first award for children’s fiction in New Zealand, establishing the Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award in 1945. LIANZA added other awards over the years including the Russell Clark Award for Illustration in 1975 and the Elsie Locke Non-fiction Award in 1986. The Te Kura Pounamu Award for literature written in te reo Māori was established in 1996, in partnership with Te Rōpū Whakahau. In 2016 the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards were merged with the Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, strengthening the 60-year legacy of the LIANZA Awards.

Nielsen Book provide a range of services to the book industry internationally, aiding the discovery and purchase, distribution and sales measurement of books.

Wellington City Council‘s arts and culture strategy positions the city as a place where both Wellingtonians and visitors are able to actively explore its culture and experiment with their own creativity. It values heritage arts, culture and traditions and focuses on contemporary ways of expressing what is happening now and experiences that result from collaboration, both within the professional arts sector and with communities. The Council believes in the importance of literacy and imagination in the development of New Zealand children, and it supports a wide range of arts for and by children.

As the national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa houses many of the nation’s taonga (treasures) reflecting New Zealand’s society and culture through the ages.  Renowned for the unique way in which it tells these stories, Te Papa has welcomed more than 30 million visitors since it opened 21 years ago.  The museum also connects with people outside the museum through its touring exhibitions, collections online, learning programmes, and award-winning books produced by Te Papa Press.


Penguin Random House New Zealand announce Carrie Welch to depart

By Media Releases




6 August 2019
For immediate release

Penguin Random House New Zealand announce Carrie Welch to depart

Julie Burland, CEO Penguin Random House Australia & New Zealand (PRH ANZ), announced today that Carrie Welch, Director Penguin Random House New Zealand, has resigned from her position, effective 23 August 2019.

Burland said: ‘I am sorry to see Carrie leave. She has been a long-standing, committed leader and a great advocate of local publishing and our books. She is highly respected externally and a valued colleague. It has been great to have Carrie as part of the PRH ANZ Leadership Team and we wish her all the very best for her next move. ’

Welch first joined Penguin NZ in 2002 for two years, and returned in 2007, leading roles in Business Development and Sales. In 2015, Welch became Sales Director for PRH NZ and in 2017 was appointed as leader of the NZ business, overseeing the most recent relocation of the office to Smales Farm, amongst other successful initiatives.

Burland concludes: ‘I will work closely with the New Zealand team as we continue partnering with our highly valued authors, illustrators, customers and readers, in our commitment to, and belief in local New Zealand publishing and the New Zealand market.’


Media Enquiries

Karen Reid

Publicity Director – Penguin Random House Australia

PH: 02 8923 9832 / 0417 496 719


Social issues a major theme for National Poetry Day celebrations

By Media Releases

Climate change and the plight of refugees are the focus of some of the 150+ events in this year’s Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, taking place on Friday August 23.

Our annual celebration of writing and reading poetry embraces both the personal and political in a dynamic programme of events and competitions nationwide – from parks, beaches, pavements and public transport to cafés, bars, bookshops, schools, university campuses, libraries, RSAs, community centres, marae and more.

The record number of events include:

  • Auckland’s ‘I Feel at Home, Away from Home – Blackout Poetry Workshop’ – that gives voice to our migrants and refugees; and the Theoradical Hobohemians hosting ‘An Interview with Charles Bukowski’.
  • Wellington’s ‘Show Ponies: A National Poetry Day Extravaganza’ – a late-night gig, featuring award-winner Chris Tse and other poets posing as popstars for the evening.
  • Wairarapa’s ‘Climate Positive’ – poetry, song and stories of positive action against the climate crisis with performance poets Extinction Rebellion.
  • Christchurch’sPoets in Our Tūranga’ – a six-hour poetry marathon at the new Tūranga Central Library, featuring more than 40 local poets and writers, and 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards poetry category finalist Erik Kennedy.
  • Dunedin’s ‘Changing Minds: Memories Lost and Found’ – a poetry competition for adults inspired by their experience of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day includes appearances by the winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry in the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Helen Heath, who will deliver a workshop at Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch on Saturday, August 24. Poetry category finalist, Therese Lloyd, will take part in the launch of Paula Green’s magnum opus, Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry at Unity Books in Wellington.

In the lead up to August 23, Phantom Billstickers will bring poetry to our communities with an epic street poster campaign. All four 2019 Ockham poetry category finalists, including Tayi Tibble, will feature in Phantom Billstickers’ national super-size Poetry on Posters campaign.

Nicola Legat, Chair, The New Zealand Book Awards Trust, says ‘One of the themes of this year’s events is a focus on social issues. Events focussed on climate change and the issues facing refugees are among them, and this shows how relevant and useful poetry is as a way of confronting and addressing some of our wicked problems.’

Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, #NZPoetryDay sees poetry royalty join forces with poetry fans from all over Aotearoa in an action-packed programme of slams and rap, open mic and spoken word performances, pop-up events, book launches and readings. There are 24 poetry contests to enter. Many of the programmed events will be open to the public and free to enjoy.

Established in 1997, National Poetry Day is a popular fixture on the nation’s cultural calendar and one that celebrates discovery, diversity and community. For the past four years, Phantom Billstickers has supported National Poetry Day through its naming rights sponsorship.

For full details about all the events taking place on Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, including places, venues, times, tickets and more, go to:

#NZPoetryDay / /



By Media Releases

WORD Christchurch is pleased to announce its spring season of events, Shifting Points of View, which runs 18 August – 14 September.

Fifteen events over four weeks cover topics as diverse as the Trojan War, racism and activism, the New Zealand Wars, politics, engineering, crime fiction and the history of New Zealand comedy.

Headlining speakers include Simon Winchester, author of such books as PacificThe Surgeon of Crowthorne and The Map That Changed the World, and his latest book Exactly: How precision engineers created the modern worldNatalie Haynes, host of the BBC radio show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, with a feminist retelling of the Troy story; DeRay Mckesson, American activist and a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement; Val McDermid, Scottish crime writer; New Zealand historian Vincent O’Malley and scholar Marilyn Waring.

Some of comedy’s movers and shakers, including Madeleine Sami, will appear live on stage to discuss the history of New Zealand comedy as portrayed in the current television documentary series Funny As, and the new book of the same name.

The season closes with a special celebration of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards for crime writing on 14 September. Finalists Liam McIlvanneyJP Pomare and Fiona Kidman will appear alongside fellow crime writers Val McDermidPaul Cleave and Vanda Symon in The Great Ngaio Marsh Game Show, where two teams will compete for the title of Sharpest Knives. The show will be followed by the presentation of the awards in the categories of Best Novel, Best First Novel and best Non-Fiction. The full list of finalists will be announced by the organisers tomorrow (1 August).

“Shifting Points of View is about challenging audiences to look at things a little differently,” says WORD Christchurch Programme Director Rachael King. “While there is plenty of entertainment in this season, there is also the opportunity to feed your brain, and maybe even change your mind about the world around you. We have a fantastic array of internationally acclaimed speakers to engage you on a number of issues.”

WORD Christchurch thanks its major funders: Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand and the Rata Foundation; platinum partners Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Heartland Bank; and Shifting Points of View partners the New Zealand Listener, The Arts Centre, UC Arts and TEDx Christchurch.

NZSA Canterbury Heritage Literary Awards

By Media Releases

Last week NZSA Canterbury announced the winners, runners -up and specially commended writers who had been selected by our judges in the Heritage Literary Awards.  The competition was nation-wide and attracted entries from leading publishers and writers throughout New Zealand. All the judges – Prof Tom Brooking (nonfiction books), Fiona Farrell (novels), Owen Marshall (short prose) and Bernadette Hall (poetry) spoke of the high standard of the entries and the difficulty of making a decision.

The most popular section was for non-fiction books and there were nearly 40 of these -probably most of those that were published during the past year. The fiction category attracted around 20 entries and again they were of a high standard.

The function which was part of the Christchurch’s Heritage Week celebration was held in St Michael’s Church, a magnificent wooden building dating back to the 1870s and a very fitting venue.

Ngāi Tahu led by Sir Tipene O’Regan welcomed guests from all over New Zealand – nearly 100 attended. They also rose to celebrate the non-fiction winner Tāngāta Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu.  This is a selection of biographical studies of various members of the iwi.

As judge Tom Brooking wrote:

This is a wonderful book. The fifty lively biographies bring these tipuna vibrantly to life. The quality of the entries is consistent throughout and credit must go to the highly qualified contributors and expert editors. And what a fascinating cast occupies the pages of this exceptional biographical dictionary. They range from well-known national figures through soldiers and even singers who became popular in London, to local community leaders little known outside their often remote localities.  Despite their different lives in time and place each ancestor shared in common deep knowledge of southern Māori culture and tradition and fought long and hard to preserve it.

Helen Brown and Tarekei Norton, eds. Tāngāta Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu. Volume One. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu/Bridget Williams Books, Wellington/Christchurch.


The runner-up in this section was John Wilson with his study Local Lives: A History of Addington, Addington Neighbourhood Association/Caxton

Again the judge said:

John Wilson’s excellent suburban history of Addington is … another welcome addition to our rather sparse collection of studies of the places where the majority of people in cities live – the suburb.

The fiction prize went to Fiona Kidman for her new novel This Mortal Boy. Fiona Farrell who presented the award said that ‘it has been a real privilege to read such  a wonderful book.’  This is the story of Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’.  He, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.

The runner us was David Hill for his Young Adult novel Finding and there was a special mention for Tree Worship by Jack Ross.

The short prose section was won by Caroline Barron of Auckland for her entry ‘Linette and Montague’. Owen Marshall said of the winner:

It has first person, present tense narration and this together with the crisp, contemporary language gives the piece pace and draws the reader in.  The story is based on the narrator’s search in Archives NZ, Auckland, for evidence of a paternal grandfather, his relationship with Linette and their illegitimate child.  The factual basis gives credibility and relevance, but the account of the search is enhanced by elements of surmise and speculation.  As well imaginative touches add to the story, as when the narrator visualises the court room scene in which Montague Stanaway is ordered to pay expenses related to the birth of his child… A balanced, impressive short piece.

The runner up was Susan Cambridge with Dea’s Story – a tale of colonial society.

The poetry section was won by Lucy D’Ath:  fight / flight.  This suggested the horrific rhythm of the Christchurch earthquakes and  the runner-up was Into the Audit  by John Ewing

 The full list of prize winners is as follows:


The winner is:    fight / flight by Lucy D’Ath

The runner-up is:  Into the Adit by John Ewen

Short Form – prose


Linette and Montague by Caroline Barron


Dea’s Story by Susan Cambridge

Non-fiction book

First Prize

Helen Brown and Takerei Norton, eds. Tāngāta Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu. Volume One. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu/Bridget Williams Books, Wellington/Christchurch, 2017. 352pp

Runner Up

John Wilson, Local Lives: A History of Addington, Addington Neighbourhood Association/Caxton, Christchurch, 2017. 320pp

Highly Commended

John Newton, Hard Frost: Structures of Feeling in New Zealand Literature 1908-1945, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2017. 368pp

Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla, He Reo Wāhine: Māori Women’s Voices from the Nineteenth Century, Auckland University Press, 2017, 372pp

Grey Ryan and Geoff Watson, Sport and the New Zealanders: A History, Auckland University Press, 2018. 390 pp.

Fiction Book

The winner is This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman. Penguin/ Random House

Runner up is Finding by David Hill Penguin/Random House

Special mention: Tree Worship by Jack Ross

I would like to thank our sponsors: the Christchurch City Council, Scorpio Books and Wily Publications Ltd.