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Allen & Unwin NZ announces Children’s List and new Publishing Director

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Allen & Unwin New Zealand is delighted to announce the newly created role of Publisher at Large for Jenny Hellen who is handing over her role as Publishing Director to Michelle Hurley. Jenny will continue to publish some of her bestselling authors such as Chelsea Winter, Ruth Shaw, Lotta Dann and Doug Gold and will also build up Allen & Unwin’s children’s list. Jenny published Mat Tait’s extraordinary Te Wehenga, which was the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year in the 2023 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and this year The Grimmelings by Rachael King, Five Wee Pūteketeke by Nicola Toki and Jo Pearson, and the forthcoming The Raven’s Eye Runaways by Claire Mabey. Allen & Unwin NZ is also the new sponsor of Storylines Tessa Duder YA Award and Jenny is publishing the winner Kiri Lightfoot’s Bear in 2025 as well as one of the shortlisted titles, Hannah Marshall’s It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That.

Michelle Hurley, the publisher of hugely successful titles such as Salad by the Two Raw Sisters, Bella by Annabel Langbein, The Last Secret Agent by Pippa Latour with Jude Dobson, I Am Autistic and This is ADHD by Chanelle Moriah, Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts by Josie Shapiro and Whakawhetai: Gratitude by Hira Nathan is promoted to the role of Publishing Director.

Allen & Unwin NZ Managing Director Melanie Laville-Moore says, ‘This is an exciting time for Allen & Unwin New Zealand. We have ambitious children’s publishing plans and are thrilled that the outstanding Jenny Hellen will be driving the development of this list, alongside her bestselling adult titles. Over the last 10 years, Jenny has transformed our New Zealand non-fiction publishing and will now provide the same magic to books for younger readers. We’re delighted that this leads to a well-deserved promotion for Michelle Hurley to the role of Publishing Director. In her five years with Allen & Unwin, Michelle has demonstrated strong commercial nous with a slew of bestselling titles across many genres including cookbooks, memoir and, most recently, fiction. Under her leadership, our publishing programmes remain in safe and clever hands.’

Allen & Unwin NZ’s new Publisher at Large Jenny Hellen says, ‘I am thrilled to be able to pass on the role of Publishing Director to Michelle Hurley, who is a brilliant publisher and someone who will be able to lead our team to even greater heights. I’m really excited about my new role, delighted to be able to work with some of my ongoing authors, and very much looking forward to working in children’s publishing, which has long been one of my passions.’

New Publishing Director Michelle Hurley says, ‘After five years of working alongside the incomparable Jenny Hellen, I’m delighted to take on this new challenge, and even happier that Jenny will lead our spearhead into children’s publishing. Together, alongside publisher Tess Nichol, we aim to continue the remarkable growth we’ve seen from the many bestselling books Allen & Unwin NZ has published over the past several years.’

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2024 Winners’ Announcement

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 ‘Disturbing, smart, and funny as hell’ novel wins country’s richest writing prize 

Internationally acclaimed New Zealand writer Emily Perkins MNZM has won the $65,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Lioness – a smart, multi-layered, laugh-out-loud novel exploring wealth, class and female mid-life reckoning.

Ms Perkins received the award ahead of Booker-Prize winning author and screenwriter Eleanor Catton (Birnam Wood); and Pip Adam (Audition) and Stephen Daisley (A Better Place) – both previous winners of the Acorn Prize for Fiction.

Published by Bloomsbury UK, Wellington resident Emily Perkins last won New Zealand’s top fiction prize in 2009 with Novel About My Wife.

The Fiction category’s convenor of judges, Juliet Blyth, says Lioness is a searing and urgent novel crackling with tension and intelligence.

“Lioness starts with a hiss and ends with a roar as protagonist Therese’s dawning awareness and growing rage reveals itself. At first glance this is a psychological thriller about a privileged, wealthy family and its unravelling. Look closer and it is an incisive exploration of wealth, power, class, female rage, and the search for authenticity.

“Emily Perkins deftly wrangles a large cast of characters in vivid technicolour, giving each their moment in the sun while dexterously weaving together multiple plotlines.  Her acute observations and razor-sharp wit decimate the tropes of mid-life in moments of pure prose brilliance, leaving the reader gasping for more.

“Disturbing, deep, smart, and funny as hell, Lioness is unforgettable.”

Christchurch-raised poet, writer and academic Grace Yee has won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry for her first collection: Chinese Fish (Giramondo Publishing).

The award marks a great year for Ms Yee, who now lives in Melbourne and won both the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature – the first poet to do so in more than a decade – and the $25,000 poetry category for Chinese Fish at the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Ockhams Poetry category convenor Erik Kennedy says Chinese Fish blurs genres, dances around the page and crosses languages by fusing Cantonese-Taishanese and English, both official and unofficial.

“Yee’s craft is remarkable,” he says. “She moves between old newspaper cuttings, advertisements, letters, recipes, cultural theory, and dialogue. Creating a new archival poetics for the Chinese trans-Tasman diaspora, the sequence narrates a Hong Kong family’s assimilation into New Zealand life from the 1960s to the 1980s, interrogating ideas of citizenship and national identity.

“It displaces the reader, evoking the unsettledness of migration. In Chinese Fish, Yee cooks up a rich variety of poetic material into a book that is special and strange; this is poetry at its urgent and thrilling best.”

Writer, poet, artist and curator Gregory O’Brien MNZM has won the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction for Don Binney: Flight Path (Auckland University Press). 

Category convenor Lynn Freeman says even as an experienced biographer, Gregory O’Brien has achieved a near impossible task in Don Binney: Flight Path.

“He has encapsulated the artist’s full life, honestly portraying his often contrary personality, and carefully interrogating a formidably large body of work and its place in Aotearoa New Zealand’s art history.

“O’Brien’s respect for Binney includes acknowledging that he could be both charming and curmudgeonly, and as a result he offers a complete picture of this complex and creative man. Equally compelling are the book’s faithfully reproduced artworks, exemplifying the best in design, layout and reproduction.

“From the cover onwards, the images of the paintings take us to the place where Binney observed the land and the birds, capturing the qualities of whenua that meant so much to him,” she says.

Auckland University of Technology vice chancellor, interdisciplinary scholar and critically acclaimed author Damon Salesa has won the General Non-Fiction Award for his work, An Indigenous Ocean: Pacific Essays (Bridget Williams Books).

Category convenor of judges Jim Tully ONZM says Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa’s seminal work asserts the Pacific’s ongoing impact worldwide, despite marginalisation by New Zealand and others, and will maintain its relevance for generations.

An Indigenous Ocean weaves together academic rigour, captivating stories and engaging prose to reframe our understanding of New Zealand’s colonial history in the South Pacific,” he says.

“This scholarly but highly accessible collection of essays carves out space for indigenous voices to tell their own narratives. Grounded in a deep understanding of Pacific history and cultures, Salesa addresses the contemporary social, political, economic, regional and international issues faced by Pacific nations.”

 Esteemed academic, Waitangi Tribunal member, and Kīngi Tūheitia’s ‘Council of Twelve’ member Tā Pou Temara KNZM (Ngāi Tūhoe) was presented with the 2024 Te Mūrau o te Tuhi Māori Language Award for Te Rautakitahi O Tūhoe ki Ōrākau (Auckland University Press).

Judge Paraone Gloyne (Raukawa ki Wharepūhunga, Ngāti Maniapoto) says the book is a valuable account exploring the big questions about the Tūhoe men and women who went to fight with Ngāti Maniapoto in the battle of Ōrākau during the New Zealand Wars.

Raised in Ruatāhuna, where most of the Tūhoe who went to Ōrākau came from, Tā Pou offers a unique insight of this key episode, written entirely in te reo Māori. Te Rautakitahi O Tūhoe ki Ōrākau is a rare, vividly executed and deeply considered book based on oral sources through the stories told to Tā Pou by his grandfather, great-grandmother and other kuia and koroua when he was young.

“Aotearoa is fortunate to have in its canon a book of this significance written by one of Aotearoa’s leading Māori public intellectuals,” says Mr Gloyne.

The Poetry, Illustrated Non-Fiction, General Non-Fiction and Te Mūrau o te Tuhi category award recipients were each presented with $12,000 in prize money.

Four Best First Book Awards, sponsored by the Mātātuhi Foundation, were also presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards ceremony.  

Hubert Church Prize for Fiction

Ruin and Other Stories by Emma Hislop (Kāi Tahu) (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Jessie Mackay Prize for Poetry

At the Point of Seeing by Megan Kitching (Otago University Press)


Judith Binney Prize for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Rugby League in New Zealand: A People’s History by Ryan Bodman (Bridget Williams Books)


E.H. McCormick Prize for General Non-Fiction

There’s a Cure for This by Emma Wehipeihana (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou) (Penguin Random House)

Each Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book Award winner received $3000 and a 12-month membership subscription to the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa chair Nicola Legat says this year’s winners fully demonstrate the relevance of books to the issues of our times.

“Drawn from an extraordinary group of shortlisted titles in a very competitive year, all these books truly deserve the honours bestowed on them. They are by turns witty, timely, insightful, searing, scholarly, political and loving. They have each, in their own way, moved the dial.

“The Trust congratulates the publishers of these impressive and beautifully produced titles,” she says.

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

The awards ceremony was hosted at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre in Aotea Centre, as part of the 2024 Auckland Writers Festival programme.

To find out more about the winners’ titles go to


PANZ welcomes Courtney Sina Meredith as new Association Director

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PANZ Association Director Courtney Sina Meredith. Photo credit Janet Lilo

The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu is delighted to announce that Courtney Sina Meredith has been appointed as Association Director.

PANZ President | Tumuaki Claire Murdoch says, “Courtney needs no introduction to Aotearoa’s literary community as a writer. However, what blew our panel away in a seriously competitive field of candidates were her strategic vision, her exceptional relationship-management and communications skills, her sound administrative and financial chops and her impressive grants, fundraising and advocacy experience.

Courtney’s skills are a perfect match for the challenges and opportunities facing PANZ and its partners in 2024 and beyond.

Speaking on behalf of PANZ Council, I can’t wait to work with her and look forward to welcoming her and introducing her to all our members and stakeholders this May, when she will formally take up the role.”

Meredith is a globally recognised cultural leader whose work across the arts, education, culture and media draws on her Sāmoan and Mangaian roots through a proudly queer lens. Cited by CNZ as the top sixth spokesperson for the arts in national media, she is a trusted advocate for the creative sector and a voice for change.

She was the Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH where she led a critical restructure and the Director of Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust that she financially future-proofed through to 2026.

Courtney is the author of two poetry collections, two children’s books and one book of short stories. Her work is taught internationally from schools across the Pacific to graduate studies at UCLA and written into academia from Stanford to Oxford. Her academic acknowledgements include an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Iowa in 2016 and the Young Alumna of the Year award by the University of Auckland in 2021.

Courtney has been awarded prestigious opportunities around the world from being invited by the BBC to the House of Lords in London to discuss Britain’s cultural future, to sharing her writing in the gardens of Frida Kahlo in Mexico. Her residencies and delegations include the Island Residency in Alaska, delegate to the British Council as part of London’s cultural olympiad, the Bleibtreu residency in Berlin, Queensland’s Poet in Residence, and as New Zealand’s representative to the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She has judged many local and global literary competitions across poetry and prose including the Commonwealth Short Story Competition as judge for the Oceania continent.

She is the Co-Director of Kim Meredith Gallery, the first Pacific owned and operated dealer gallery in New Zealand. Previous roles she has held include Partnerships Manager at Manukau Institute of Technology, Newsreader and Arts Reporter for PMN, Commercial Accounts Executive ICAEW (UK), Arts and Culture Advisor with Auckland Council, and Contributing Editor for Paperboy at Bauer Media.

Courtney lives with her partner and constant collaborator, renowned artist Janet Lilo (Te Rarawa, Sāmoa, Niue), and their three beautiful sons and spoilt pooch, in Tāmaki Aukilani.

She says,  “I grew up watching my grandfather fire through stick-em-up westerns, he was transported out of Glen Innes and into  American deserts. Decades later, and with the support of my wonderful mother, he helped PANZ translate a section of Luteru Ross Taylor’s book into Gagana Sāmoa.

The power of the written word cannot, ironically, be captured in words. All I can offer is my small truth that a year after the loss of my Pa, he has a sparkling moment in the canon that I treasure deeply.  I was drawn to this directorship for the kaupapa and excellence of membership – and the opportunity to work alongside Claire Murdoch and PANZ Council.

My vision in this role is founded on aroha, advocacy, and advancement – all with a good dose of my Pā’s cheeky grin behind me!  O le ala i le pule, o le tautua – the pathway to leadership is through service. Fa’afetai tele lava, I can’t wait to get started in May.”

Literary heavyweights vie for top fiction prize in Ockham NZ Book Awards

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Booker Prize-winning author Eleanor Catton faces off against critically acclaimed former national award winners Emily Perkins, Pip Adam and Stephen Daisley for the $65,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, as finalists in the 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards announced today.

The four novelists are joined by a further 12 acclaimed and debut finalist authors of memoir, poetry, history, art, and te ao Māori in one of the country’s strongest-ever years for book publishing.

The 16 finalists were selected from a longlist of 44 books by panels of specialist judges across four categories: fiction, poetry, illustrated non-fiction, and general non-fiction.

Catton, who won the Booker Prize in 2013 for The Luminaries, is a finalist for her novel Birnam Wood; Perkins, who won the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry in 2009 for Novel About My Wife is shortlisted with Lioness; Adam, who won the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize in 2018 for The New Animals is in the running with Audition; and Daisley, who won the first awarded Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize in 2016 for Coming Rain is a contender this year with A Better Place.

Juliet Blyth, convenor of judges for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, says there is much to celebrate amongst this year’s shortlisted novels, and readers will be rewarded by the richness contained within their pages.

“These four singular and accomplished titles encompass pertinent themes of social justice, violence, activism, capitalism, war, identity, class, and more besides. Variously confronting, hilarious, philosophical, and heart-rending, these impressive works showcase Aotearoa storytellers at the top of their game.”

Best-selling British author, writer, broadcaster and former Booker Prize judge Natalie Haynes will assist the three New Zealand judges in selecting the fiction winner.

The finalists in the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry include three debut authors: Megan Kitching (At the Point of Seeing), Grace Yee (Chinese Fish) and Isla Huia (Talia); and poet and map maker, Bill Nelson (Root Leaf Flower Fruit).

Erik Kennedy, convenor of judges for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, says the four finalist collections are grounded in the experience of life in Aotearoa but through their restless, ambitious poetics are capable of taking readers almost anywhere.

“These volumes blur genres and disrupt preconceptions of poetic form, they re-vision landscapes and histories, and they deploy languages other than English in distinct ways that encourage multiplicity,” he says.

The finalists in the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction are multi-award-winning art historian, poet and painter Gregory O’Brien MNZM (Don Binney: Flight Path); co-author curators Lauren Gutsell, Lucy Hammonds, Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) (Marilynn Webb: Folded in the Hills); debut author and fungi and forager enthusiast Liv Sisson (Fungi of Aotearoa: A Curious Forager’s Field Guide); and historian and first-time author Ryan Bodman (Rugby League in New Zealand: A People’s History).

Lynn Freeman, convenor of judges for the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction, says our past, present and future live within the four gloriously illustrated finalist books, in which words and images sit in perfect harmony.

“This has been the year of the art book, lavishly illustrated, lovingly researched and written, insightful, profound and beautiful­ artworks in their own right. Here, too, are under-appreciated (until now) stories that provide invaluable contributions to our understanding of what it means to be a New Zealander,” she says.

The General Non-Fiction finalists are Auckland University of Technology Vice Chancellor, interdisciplinary scholar and award-winning author Damon Salesa (An Indigenous Ocean: Pacific Essays); celebrated novelist and memoirist Barbara Else (Laughing at the Dark: A Memoir); non-fiction author Jeff Evans (Ngātokimatawhaorua: The Biography of a Waka); and debut author, physician and memoirist Emma Espiner (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou) (There’s a Cure for This).

Jim Tully ONZM, convenor of judges for the General Non-Fiction Award, says this year’s entries treated judges to a wide array of narratives – rich life stories; biographies of birds, sea life and waka; and deep investigations into Kaupapa, from communes to ora (wellbeing).

“The judges came to the unanimous decision that the final four represent the best of the best – accessible yet robust academic inquiries; novel and unheard stories; and narratives that warm, sadden and unsettle all within the same cover,” he says.

Nicola Legat, spokesperson for the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa, says that this year’s shortlist holds worlds of riches for all readers.

“There is a dazzling variety of outstanding writing including powerful personal stories, punchy and revealing poetry, and fresh reflections on contemporary issues. The fiction shortlist is one of the strongest in the award’s history. It’s remarkable that all four finalists are previous winners. In every category, each finalist title is ambitious in scope and offers vivid reflections on Aotearoa’s past, present and future.” Each finalist title is ambitious in scope and offers vivid reflections on Aotearoa’s past, present, and future.

“In these finalist books we can also see publishers at the tops of their games. There are 11 publishers shortlisted across 16 titles. What a knockout year,” she says.

The 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlisted titles are:

*represents debut authors


Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

A Better Place by Stephen Daisley (Text Publishing)

Audition by Pip Adam (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Lioness by Emily Perkins (Bloomsbury)


Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

At the Point of Seeing by Megan Kitching (Otago University Press) *

Chinese Fish by Grace Yee (Giramondo Publishing) *

Root Leaf Flower Fruit by Bill Nelson (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Talia by Isla Huia (Te Āti Haunui a-Pāpārangi, Uenuku) (Dead Bird Books) *


Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Don Binney: Flight Path by Gregory O’Brien (Auckland University Press)

Fungi of Aotearoa: A Curious Forager’s Field Guide by Liv Sisson (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

Marilynn Webb: Folded in the Hills by Lauren Gutsell, Lucy Hammonds, Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

Rugby League in New Zealand: A People’s History by Ryan Bodman (Bridget Williams Books)*


General Non-Fiction Award

An Indigenous Ocean: Pacific Essays by Damon Salesa (Bridget Williams Books)

Laughing at the Dark: A Memoir by Barbara Else (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

Ngātokimatawhaorua: The Biography of a Waka by Jeff Evans (Massey University Press)

There’s a Cure for This by Emma Espiner (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou) (Penguin, Penguin Random House) *

The 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ winners, including the four Mātātuhi Foundation Best First Book Awards recipients, will be announced at a public ceremony on 15 May during the 2024 Auckland Writers Festival.


The winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will receive $65,000 and each of the three other main category winners will receive $12,000. Each of the Best First Book winners, for fiction, poetry, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction, will be awarded $3000.

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

To find out more about the shortlisted titles go to

Publishers’ Picks 2023

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It’s a tough ask to select just one or two special titles from a whole year’s publishing list but thank you to all those who could bear to choose one or two books to share. Below are a few highlights from 2023 to add to the summer reading pile.

Holly Hunter, Commissioning Editor, HarperCollins Aotearoa New Zealand
It’s been a thrill to see readers embrace Hayley Holt after we published her brave memoir Second Chances earlier this year. With themes of alcoholism and loss, her story is an absorbing and important read.

A Forager’s Life by Helen Lehndorf is one of my favourite memoirs of the year. Helen writes about her lifelong love of foraging and what it’s meant to her through different stages in her life. Her writing is gentle, soothing, and draws your eye to the otherwise unnoticed.

How could I not admire Fungi of Aotearoa by Liv Sisson (Penguin Random House)? It’s a clever bit of publishing and a brilliant package. Liv is a star. Kudos to PRH.

I also adored Pet by Catherine Chidgey (THWUP) and hope to see it make popular beach-read status over the summer.

Melanie Laville-Moore, Director Allen &Unwin NZ
Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts by Josie Shapiro was the inaugural Allen & Unwin fiction prize winner and it’s been so satisfying to see it on the fiction bestseller every week since its release in May. It’s a brilliant read and Josie is such a deserving, outstanding human, much-loved by the whole team. I’m especially pleased for our publisher Miff Hurley who has driven this new competition and made it such a strong success. Here’s to the next winner, Gavin Strawhan’s The Call, due to be published in the first quarter of 2024!

Working on the Topp Twins memoir Untouchable Girls has been a joy from start to finish. From Jools and Lynda hijacking our ANZ sales conference (with a now legendary recovery from publishing director Jenny Hellen!), the rule-breaking media tour, the outlandish point-of-sale and of course all the sales. Just brilliant.

Books by other publishers: Anne Kennedy’s edited collection Remember Me (Auckland University Press) is a sweet, canny and useful keepsake. And there’s been some outstanding children’s books to cheer on this year. Giselle Clarkson’s Observologist is a stunning piece of publishing. Clever Gecko strikes again!

Deborah Coddington, Publisher, Ugly Hill Press
Two books from me:

Summer reading.

Katherine Mansfield’s Europe, Station to Station by Redmer Yska, (Otago University Press).

With so much already published on this New Zealand author one wonders what else could be wrenched from her life but here we learn more, and how fascinating it is. Yska, Wellington historian and most engaging writer, holds the reader from the first line: I’m in the middle of France’s strangest forest, gazing up at the Katherine Mansfield rock. Or is it a fish?

Actually two lines.

Yska, not content with just taking the train into Wellington and browsing the National Archives, journeyed to Europe and traced Mansfield’s final journeys before she died. Cajoling, bullying (kindly) and when necessary paying his way into the places she stayed, he tells her courageous battle to try and squeeze more out of her last months.

The illustrative material, beautifully displayed, adds to the sense we are accompanying Yska in person.

Fabulous book, and printed here in Aotearoa New Zealand, by Caxton.

Book most admired from another publisher:

Without a doubt, Don Binney, Flight Path by Gregory O’Brien (Auckland University Press)

It only took many decades for a major work to be published on this major artist, and then it took many months from go to we-have-a-launch date for the book to be created. But what an astounding result, in every way. O’Brien’s research is exhausting, even to the collection of memorabilia reproduced. The text is not too dry and presumptuous but relaxed and informative; inviting the reader to dip in and out at will.

The design, by Keely O’Shannessy is a triumph – poised, balanced, muscular. The font – both design and size – suits beautifully the genre (nothing worse than a serious art book with tiny over-designed text which scares the reader) and every page has a thought-out, cared for feel.

The embossed case, the jacket, the endpapers – the blues all coordinating with Binney’s art – this is a book which will be treasured down through generations, and goodness knows how the publisher managed to retail this at such a generous price. A Masterpiece.

Nicola Legat, Publisher, Massey University Press
The Crewe Murders by James Hollings and Kirsty Johnston is a masterclass in investigation, one that is acutely aware of confirmation bias and in which the authors wear out their proverbial shoe leather going right back to the very land on which so much blood had been violently spilled.

Rewi Ata haere, kia tere by Jade Kake and Jeremy Hansen is not only about a remarkable architect, Rewi Thompson, but we also got to work with the amazing crew at Extended Whanau on the design. What a joy that was!

AUP’s Gordon Walters by the late Francis Pound is clearly a triumph.

The Team at Penguin Random House
Non-fiction publisher Rachel Eadie says, “2023 highlights from my own list include Fungi of Aotearoa. I couldn’t help but be captivated by Liv Sissons’ delight, curiosity and passion for her subject and it appears Kiwis of all ages have also been dazzled by this magical (pun intended) little book. I am so thrilled at its success and so proud of Liv, who deserves all the recognition she gets.

Adventures with Emilie is another highlight on my list this year. Victoria Bruce lays her soul bare in this powerful story of facing your demons and the restorative power of nature. Victoria’s writing is profoundly beautiful – lyrical and evocative. Nature writing at its best!

I have enormous admiration for the team behind Rewi (Massey University Press) – a spectacular production and thoughtful tribute to an important figure. Confession – I often find myself meditatively turning its pages and stroking the beautiful clothbound cover.”

Children’s publisher Diana Murray says, “Good Sports by Stuart Lipshaw is already a firm favourite in my house. All the stories are fascinating and cover so many different sports and sportspeople, and every single one of them truly is inspiring. My kids love a lucky dip into this book.

Sally Sutton’s Dance Detectives series is just gorgeous – the stories are so engaging and absorbing and fun, with all the right values without being preachy. And the illustrations are priceless. I’ve loved reading these books with my daughter.

And the Observologist by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press) is covetable. I love its invitation to observe all the little curiosities in this world in such a fun and accessible way. This book is a gem.”

Fellow Children’s Publisher Catherine O’Loughlin loved Fleur Beale’s Once Upon a Wickedness – “My seven-year-old was absolutely enthralled by this magical novel, in which an orphan, who has lost everything and everyone, faces down some terrifying bullies and gives as good as she gets! It’s a brilliant take on the way corrupt power tries to silence people, and the power of words. Lily Uivel’s illustrations are wonderful and it’s the kind of bedtime story that will have adults wanting to read on for just one chapter more just as much as their kids!

Gavin Bishop’s Patu: The New Zealand Wars cannot go unmentioned – reading a book like this imprints on your soul, and so it should. Gavin’s words and pictures bring Aotearoa of 200 years ago to life for readers young and old, and show how relevant these events are to our present situation. I hope Patu will find its place in every home, school and library.

And I’m always wooed by books about books, so I absolutely loved The Book Collector by bibliophile Tony Eyre (dad of a friend of mine, also a committed bibliophile!). It’s full of warmth and enthusiasm, and lovingly produced to match by the Mary Egan team. Another book about books that I thought was brilliant was Leonie Agnew’s novel for teens, The Impossible Story of Hannah Kemp (Walker Books). Both of these would be perfect gifts for fellow booklovers.”

Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing says “Knickers, knickers, knickers! What child of the ’70s wouldn’t put Spike Milligan’s Badjelly the Witch up the top of their list, in a bumper year of storied anniversaries chez nous that included Penguin turning 50 in Aotearoa along with Witi Ihimaera’s Tangi, Hairy Maclary turning 40, Michael King’s definitive Penguin History turning 20 and John Kirwan’s All Blacks Don’t Cry updating for a new generation.

Pacific Arts Aotearoa is an exceptional book by an exceptional all-indigenous editorial/design team and I feel very lucky to have worked on it. The artists’ incredible stories are likes waves, one after another, making up an oceanic history.

And Emma Espiner’s memoir There’s a Cure for This has been as successful as it is beautiful and clever (which is to say, very).

We are deeply proud to publish that sage Hinemoa Elder’s latest, Wawata.

From our fiction list, anyone who missed Carl Nixon’s The Waters or Evana Belich’s How to Get Fired (Kim Hill: “It’s hilarious!”) is really missing something.

I loved/envied Smithy! (Upstart Press) Oh, to have published Smithy. Also Gangster’s Paradise (HarperCollins Publishers), One of Those Mothers (Allen & Unwin), The Axeman’s Carnival (THWUP), Lioness (Bloomsbury), Everything is Beautiful (Allen & Unwin), Anne Salmond’s Knowledge is a Blessing (Auckland University Press), The Bone Tree (Moa Books) and Flora (mwah, Flora Te Papa Press).  Sorry! More than 3.

The Team at Te Herenga Waka University Press
It was a huge year for fiction this year, but we also want to highlight a couple of our favourite poetry collections. One is the mesmerising verse novel The Artist by Ruby Solly. It’s unique, ambitious and rich with precious mātauranga. As Robert Sullivan said in his review, The Artist is ‘an āhuru mōwai, a shelter made from poetry, and is to be celebrated for its craft and heart, and for its whakapapa.’ The other poetry collection that will be a favourite for many years to come is Geoff Cochrane’s Selected Poems. Geoff Cochrane passed away in November last year. Putting his Selected together was at first an impossible task, but slowly a shape emerged through reading and rereading, and remembering. As James Brown has said, so many of us have had a Geoff Cochrane moment that has stayed with us and changed us as readers.

A title we really admired by another publisher is Rewi (Massey University Press), by Jade Kake and Jeremy Hansen. The book has an amazing design and takes a unique collaborative narrative approach. It’s a true testament to the man and his mahi.

Jenny Hellen, Publisher, Allen & Unwin
Love all my authors and their books BUT it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with the two fabulous Dames Lynda and Jools this year and a huge honour to publish their memoir Untouchable Girls. I’ve been trying to tempt them into publication for years now, so it’s very cool to see the NZ public embracing this book so strongly. Jools and Lynda know just the right way to tell a story – which shouldn’t be a surprise given that they’ve been winning over tough Kiwi audiences with their comedy and songs for years. But it was still surprising to me that they could tell SUCH great stories, from their classic childhoods to their political days to their iconic characters. It sounds like a cliché but it really is heartwarming and funny and charming. Thank you Lynda and Jools!

This year, the book I most admired was Catherine Chidgey’s Pet. What an extraordinary writer Catherine is! To follow up The Axeman’s Carnival with Pet is phenomenal – both wonderful books but quite different. Congrats to THWUP for nurturing Catherine’s publishing career so well. More please, Catherine.

Louise Russell, Publisher, Bateman Books
This year I’m extremely proud to have published Saige England’s linguistic masterpiece The Seasonwife, which explores the devastating consequences of 18th century whaling and trading in Aotearoa. Another highlight for Bateman in 2023 was the release of Andrew Crowe and Rick Fisher’s Those Magnificent Voyagers of the Pacific, a book for children that sets the Pacific voyaging story into a global context. My book of the year would have to be Flora: Celebrating Our Botanical World, published by Te Papa Press. No expense has been spared on the exquisite production – just stunning!

Alison Shucksmith, Product and Publishing Manager, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand
From Little Moa:
The publication of Edmonds Taku Puka Tohutao Tuatahi is a massive highlight. Years in the making, with so many wonderful people involved, this book is quickly becoming a staple in kiwi homes.

From another publisher:
Dazzlehands (Huia Publishes) is a bright, funny, and relatable picture book, and the passion for the book has been shared by many. There are excellent displays, strong social media, and delightful reviews.


Dahlia Malaeulu, Author, Publisher & Director, Mila’s Books
Here’s our highlights and favourite titles:

A New Dawn by Emeli Sione, was a NZ Children and Young Adult Book Finalist, a Ngaio Marsh Book Award Finalist and through our A New Dawn Across Aotearoa Project we were able to send 2000 free copies of A New Dawn to schools, Pasifika community groups and organisations across Aoteaora.

Pasifika Navigators – Pasifika Student Poetry Book, was highly commended at the Storylines Notable Book Awards and acknowledged as a top Children’s book for 2023 by the National Library of NZ.

Named NZ Emerging Publisher of the Year at the NZ Book Industry Awards in August.

Top selling Mila’s My Pasifika Wellbeing Journal Series which has led to Pasifika Wellbeing workshops, are being used as part of wellbeing programmes and prisons across Aotearoa (includes – Teine Pasifika Wellbeing Journal, Tama Pasifika Wellbeing Journal, I am Pasifika Wellbeing Journal)

Favourite titles of 2023: Pasifika Navigators – Pasifika Student Poetry Book and the I am Pasifika Wellbeing Journal, a-wake-(e)nd by Audrey Brown Pereira and How My Koro Became a Star by Brianne Te Paa, (Huia Publishers).

Kat Quin, Publisher, Illustrated Publishing
Kuwi & Friends He Puka Ngohe – Activity Book Nā Kat Quin ngā tuhinga reo Pākehā me ngā whakaahua Nā Pānia Papa ngā whakamāoritanga.

He Puka Ngohe is a fun, easy-to-use activity book for those wanting to learn everyday words in te reo Māori. The activities allow you to practise in a creative way, helping to retain the Māori words you learn. The book is packed with challenges and games, utilising visual cues from the award-winning Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary – He Papakupu Whakaahua, to assist with retention of language.


The team at Gecko Press
A Gecko Press highlight (among many) from this year has been The Observologist by Giselle Clarkson. A joy to make and a joy to see it flying off the shelves; so many people who helped create the book commented on how they would have loved this book as a child. And it sold rights to four languages before publication! A collective highlight from another publisher was Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton from Te Herenga Waka University Press. It made for some excellent shared office space discussions, yelling comments over the bookshelves—have you read this bit yet? How apt was that section?

The Team at Otago University Press
It’s hard to pick a highlight from this year! One we wish to highlight is Katherine Mansfield’s Europe: Station to Station by Redmer Yska. It’s been a huge year for Katherine Mansfield with this being the 100-year centenary of her death and we think that Redmer’s book adds something unique to the current literature out there about Katherine Mansfield’s life. It’s a rich biography of her travels in Europe alongside a fascinating travelogue of Redmer’s own journey following in her footsteps. We are really proud of the production of this book, especially the beautiful illustrations and photographs that accompany Redmer’s informative and engaging writing.

A book we admired from another publisher is The Deck by Fiona Farrell, published by Penguin Random House. We love the way that Fiona Farrell plays with the boundaries of fiction and post-Covid reality. The Deck is rich, timely but prophetic, with a fascinating cast of characters and compelling storytelling.

Alex Hedley, Publishing Director, HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand
My pick this year: Our Land in Colour by Brendan Graham. Watching the 200 photographs in this book come alive one by one was so much fun. Most admired from other publishers: Smithy: Endless Winters & The Spring of ’22. The professor, the architect, Wayne Smith is the man. Very envious. Upstart does it again.

Michelle Hurley, Publisher, Allen & Unwin
Publishing Whakawhetai by Hira Nathan has been nothing but a joy. Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho’s illustrations are a thing of beauty. And it’s also been gratifying to see our debut Fiction Prize winner, Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts by Josie Shapiro do so well – still in the top ten fiction bestseller list seven months after its publication.

I’d have loved to have published Sam Neill’s memoir, Did I Ever Tell This? (Text Publishing), he seems like a lovely human being.


Kate Stephenson, Senior Publisher, Moa Press
This year we launched Moa Press, publishing our first five books, all fiction so far, and nearly all debuts. The Bone Tree by Airana Ngarewa has had a particularly brilliant run at No.1 in the NZ fiction chart for 10 weeks and our latest release The Girl from London by Olivia Spooner is currently sitting in the top spot for the second week running. We have some non-fiction coming in 2024 as well, but it’s been exciting to focus on fiction this year. It’s no secret that it’s tremendously difficult to compete against the international brands that dominate NZ’s fiction market, so I think Allen & Unwin’s commercial fiction prize is a great initiative, and I really enjoyed the brilliant Everything Is Beautiful and Everything Hurts, by Josie Shapiro.

2024 Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative recipients announced

By News

L-R: Trinity Thompson-Browne (Ngāti Kahungunu, Muaūpoko), Cadence Galt and Jemma Morrison

PANZ is delighted to announce the successful recipients of the 2023 Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative (colloquially known as the Intern Programme).

In the new year Trinity Thompson-Browne (Ngāti Kahungunu, Muaūpoko) will intern with HUIA Publisher in Wellington, while in Auckland, Cadence Galt heads to Massey University Press and Jemma Morrison to Bateman Books for the six-month internship.

The Intern Programme, administered by PANZ, provides paid internship opportunities each year for three new graduates of the Whitireia New Zealand publishing course to enter the industry and is highly coveted by both students and publishers alike.

The programme has produced some impressive results in past years with many publishers choosing to offer the interns full-time positions at the end of the programme, and a number of former interns now hold senior positions in publishing companies.

Odessa Owens, Senior Tutor, Publishing at Whitireia was thrilled with the results. “This programme offers our graduates an amazing opportunity, and we’re so pleased for the 2024 interns.”

Congratulations to all the successful students and publishers.

For more details on the Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative click here.

Successful recipients of the 2023 ‘Copyright Licensing New Zealand Contestable Fund Grants’ announced

By Media Releases, News

We are excited to announce the successful recipients in this year’s round of Contestable Fund Grants, with a total of $75,000 granted. Applications were invited for projects that had clearly defined and measurable outcomes that align with the Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) Cultural Fund’s objectives.

The Contestable Fund is part of CLNZ’s Cultural Fund, which derives revenue from CLNZ’s licensing activity in New Zealand. The Cultural Fund supports people and projects that encourage the development of current and future writers, publishers and educators, to help grow the sector.

The diverse range of applications this year demonstrates the current breadth of publishing and writing projects from communities all over Aotearoa.

There were a total of 59 applications received, covering a wide range of topics and subjects, with funding contributions made towards the following 15 projects, totalling $75,000.
Congratulations to the following recipients:

  • Moa Press
    Publishing project: Airana Ngarewa short story collection (title TBC) granted $3500
  • Anne Bennett-Eustace
    Writing project: Arthurs Memoirs and Legacy – granted $6000
  • Drama NZ Mahi Whakaari o Aotearoa
    Writing and publishing project: Resources for drama in education – granted $8000
  • New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society Incorporated
    Writing and publishing project: New Zealand Railways at Night – granted $5,000
  • One Tree House Limited
    Publishing project: Hongi’s Hīkoi: A Trio of Travellers – two graphic novels – granted $10,000
  • Forest & Bird
    Writing project: Bird of the Year: New Zealand’s love affair with native birds – granted $5000
  • Small Press Fest
    Literacy Festival: Small Press Fest – granted $2500
  • Mairātea Mohi, Craccum Magazine
    Writing and publishing project: Craccum Magazine – granted $5000
  • Mani Malaeulu, Empowerment Training Ltd
    Writing and publishing project: Dear Uso – granted $7000
  • Pacific Islanders in Publishing
    Publishing project: Pacific Islanders in Publishing – granted $4000
  • Akaroa Community Arts Council (ACAC)
    Writing and publishing project: Readers and Writers Akaroa fellowships – granted $5000
  • Oratia Media
    Publishing project: New Zealand Place Names book and online collaboration – granted $4500
  • Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival
    Literacy Festival: Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival podcasts (2023) – granted $2490
  • Shana Chandra
    Writing and Publishing project: Banjara – granted $2000
  • Beyond Reality Media

Writing and Publishing project:  The Irrepressible Duncans Universe – granted $5000

Special thanks to our selection panel of Tony Fisk, Abby Aitcheson, Anne de Latour and Kim Harris who made the following comments about this year’s diverse range of applications:

“It was exciting for the panel to see the high level of creativity and talent, which was certainly an added challenge for our decision making process.” – Anne de Latour

“I was particularly pleased to see so many initiatives that sit decidedly outside of traditional, mainstream publishing – there’s room in this industry for more alternative, innovative ideas that uplift, empower, and amplify. It is a privilege to be on this panel and to gain some insight into the way Aotearoa publishing continues to evolve.” – Abby Aitcheson

“I was humbled to be asked to serve on this year’s panel but it was not an easy feat trying to narrow down a field of applications that represented peoples passions, dreams and taonga. Everyone’s kaupapa was beautiful, and I thank each creative for sharing their treasure with us.” – Kim Harris

“This year’s applicants were really creative, diverse and of a very high standard which made the judging really challenging and enjoyable.” – Tony Fisk

For more information about the successful recipient’s projects visit our website at:

News from Frankfurt Book Fair

By News

L-R: Catriona Ferguson (PANZ), Eboni Waitere (Huia), Alessandra Zecchini (Oratia), the Book Systems team (Damien, Chris and Liz), Peter Dowling (Oratia) & Pania Tahau-Hodges (Huia)

PANZ  Association Director Catriona Ferguson reports

It’s a thrill to be back amongst our global publishing colleagues at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. Our striking stand design (thanks once again Martin Bailey!) provides a perfect backdrop for the excellent books our publishers are showing off to the world and even on set up day of the fair, there was a definite buzz in the air. With eleven publishers represented on the stand this year we’re anticipating a busy few days, including making it along to some of the key industry gatherings such as IPA meetings and events, catching up with friends from other publishers’ associations and when we have the time, mingling at some of the stand parties.

Our set up day largely involved a lot of unpacking of boxes, which were of course all present and correct thanks to the logistical skills of Chris Shaw and the Book Systems team – our much valued freight partners for the fair. With a monumental effort on the part of our stand team, Christiane, Joy and Ann-Sophie by late afternoon we were looking shipshape and ready for the next few days.

The Frankfurt Book Fair turns 75 this year and there has been much to celebrate in the long and significant history of the fair. However, this year hasn’t been without its controversy following a decision to postpone honouring Berlin-based Palestinian author Adania Shibli with the 2023 LiBeraturpreis, there’s more on that here Some of the controversy spilled over into the opening ceremony when Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek delivered a passionate speech on the Hamas-Israel war, you can read the response from Jurgen Boos, FBF Director here – No doubt there will be further big conversations to be had over the coming days.

Top row l-r: Sam Elworthy (Auckland University Press), Julia Marshall (Gecko Press), Kevin Chapman (Upstart Press), Ashleigh Young (Te Herenga Waka University Press), Dixie Carlton (Indie Publishers). Bottom row l-r: Peter Dowling & Alessandra Zecchini (Oratia Media), Chris Shaw (Book Systems International), Dame Wendy Pye (Sunshine Books)






Bilingual pukapuka takes top prize at Children’s Book Awards for the first time

By News

For the first time a bilingual book has taken out the top prize at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku by Mat Tait (Ngāti Apa ki te rātō) was tonight presented with the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award, Aotearoa’s highest accolade in children’s literature, during a joyful ceremony held at Wellington’s Pipitea Marae.

Te Wehenga’s bold bilingual design presents the Māori creation pūrākau, which explains the beginning of the world, in a way that incorporates universal elements recognised across iwi. The poetic text, which tells the story simultaneously in te reo Māori and English, is integrated into the artwork, creating an interactive experience that immerses the reader in the darkness of the space between Papatūānuku and Ranginui.

“The way that te reo Māori and te reo Pākehā are brought together closely feels like a metaphorical representation of the increasing bilingualism in Aotearoa,” said convenor of judges Nicola Daly, who praised the book’s highly innovative approach to integrating both languages into the illustrations themselves.

Motueka-based Tait also collected the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction for the book.

While Te Wehenga is uniquely New Zealand in flavour, many of our writers and illustrators look beyond Aotearoa’s borders, and this year’s category winners show our talented creatives can give a strong local voice to stories that also have relevance and resonance for an international audience.

That includes Duck Goes Meow by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Carla Martell, which won the Picture Book Award. The judges said this universal story distills all the elements of a great picture book to create a joyous celebration of the unexpected and deliver a conclusion that surprises the animals in the story and readers alike.

Described as one of Aotearoa’s “most exceptional storytellers”, David Hill was awarded the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction for Below, a white-knuckle survival story set in a catastrophic tunnel collapse. The judges appreciated the way it trusts its young readers to handle big environmental ideas and come to their own conclusions.

The Young Adult Fiction Award went to Iris and Me by Philippa Werry, an inventive and original novel written in verse. The judges praised the unique narrative voice, which illuminates the life of Robin Hyde, one of Aotearoa’s most significant writers.

A Portrait of Leonardo by Donovan Bixley won the Russell Clark Award for Illustration. The judges were enamored with this vibrant retelling of the life of Leonardo da Vinci, which they described as a fluent and delightful feast for the eyes. They appreciated the fresh and youthful approach to biography, with visual humour, puns, puzzles and technical agility, all underpinned by solid drawing skills.

The Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori was presented to Kua Whetūrangitia a Koro by Brianne Te Paa, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse. The judges loved how the traditional Māori narrative was tailored to fit a new world and a new audience. They felt the significance of the story, its context, and the author’s use of te reo Māori placed the book in a stratosphere of its own.

Finally, the NZSA Best First Book Award went to The Lighthouse Princess by Susan Wardell, illustrated by Rose Northey. This book’s poetic writing and whimsical illustrations made it stand out, creating a sum that is greater than its parts. The judges felt this clever alchemy was all the more astounding given that it is both the writer’s and the illustrator’s first foray into publication.

The full list of winners for the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults:


Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award $7500

Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin)


Picture Book Award $7500

Duck Goes Meow, Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Carla Martell (Scholastic New Zealand)


Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction $7500

Below, David Hill (Penguin Random House NZ)


Young Adult Fiction Award $7500

Iris and Me, Philippa Werry (The Cuba Press)


Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction $7500

Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin)


Russell Clark Award for Illustration $7500

A Portrait of Leonardo, Donovan Bixley   (Upstart Press)


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

Kua Whetūrangitia a Koro, Brianne Te Paa, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse (Huia Publishers)


NZSA Best First Book Award $2500

The Lighthouse Princess, Susan Wardell, illustrated by Rose Northey (Penguin Random House NZ)


A vital aspect of the Awards is encouraging a love of reading in New Zealand’s tamariki and rangitahi by building connections between books and young people. This year primary, intermediate and secondary schools from across the motu were recruited to offer feedback to the judges on the titles submitted for the awards.  Schools also had the opportunity to join a Back-a-Book challenge, with over 40 signing up to receive a copy of a finalist title for which they then created a promotional trailer.

In addition, the finalists entertained hundreds of Christchurch and Wellington school children at Books Alive events in the immediate leadup to the ceremony.  In Ōtautahi on 4 August, WORD Christchurch hosted a selection of finalist authors in panel discussions for primary and intermediate schools at Christ’s College auditorium. And earlier today Wellington school students converged on the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, where the talented team at Wellington City Libraries programmed over 20 finalists in a varied schedule that included behind-the-book talks, workshops on writing and illustration, lively panel discussions, and live drawing sessions.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and partners: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, the Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa, Wellington City Council, New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa, the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, and Nielsen BookData. The Awards are administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa.

Whitcoulls reveals 2023 Top 100 Books List

By News

J. K. Rowling’s phenomenally successful Harry Potter Series has ended its dominance on the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books List, with Kiwis voting overwhelmingly in favour of Lucinda Riley’s historical fiction.

Whitcoulls Book Manager Joan Mackenzie says, ‘Lucinda Riley released the eighth book in her phenomenally successful series The Seven Sisters in May, and thousands of readers read it at pace and placed their votes quickly which secured her the top spot. There are several new titles which have made it to the Top 10, with Harry Potter coming in at tenth place, the furthest away from the top spot he’s ever been.

Significantly, 38 of the books on the new Top 100 are newcomers and Mackenzie notes that TikTok has again had a strong influence on voting and has introduced new authors to the List including Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Series (#17); Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me Series (#31); Emily Henry who has three novels in the Top 100; and Ana Huang’s Twisted Series (#37).

Fiction and fantasy titles always dominate the Top 100 along with a sprinkling of memoirs, classics, self-help and inspirational books. Homegrown talent is also prevalent and this year 12 of our foremost writers and personalities have made the cut, including Ruby Tui with her confronting memoir Straight Up (#23); Eleanor Catton’s long-awaited novel Birnam Wood (#33); Sam Neill’s charming memoir Did I Ever Tell You This? (#56); Needs Adult Supervision by Emily Writes (#73); and Catherine Chidgey’s award-winning novel The Axeman’s Carnival (#76)

Other highlights of this year’s Top 100 are the dominance of women writers who claim the top ten spots; word of mouth books such as Lessons in Chemistry (#4), Where the Crawdads Sing (#6) Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (#9); and eight authors who appear more than once, including bestselling fantasy writer Sarah J. Maas and fiction writer Colleen Hoover.

Click here to check out the list in full.