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Montana New Zealand Book Awards judging panel announced

By February 12, 2008 No Comments

Award winning broadcaster Lynn Freeman is the convenor of the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards judging panel. Freeman is joined by David Elworthy and Tim Corballis.

Lynn Freeman hosts Radio New Zealand National’s The Arts on Sunday show and fills in on Nine to Noon when the main presenter is away, is a theatre critic and a Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards judge. She is also on the board of the Playwriting agency, Playmarket and served on the panel selecting the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Arts Laureates. She resides in Wellington.

Christchurch based David Elworthy is a veteran in the publishing industry, started his career as a New Zealand diplomat with postings in both London and New Delhi. He then joined A.H. & A.W. Reed as an editor, eventually becoming their Editorial Director. He then became the Publishing Director for Collins for 10 years before he and his wife Ros Henry founded Shoal Bay Press, which they ran successfully for 20 years before selling to Longacre Press.

Wellington writer Tim Corballis, brings a young voice to the judging panel. In 2005/2006 he spent a year in Berlin as the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer in Residence. In 2002 he was the Randell Cottage Writer in Residence and in 2000 he was awarded the Adam Foundation Prize and a Modern Letters Fellowship for his work towards the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in Wellington.

All three judges are looking forward to the challenge of judging. They are very aware of the task ahead of them and the impact their choices will have on the reading public. “Looking back on the first 12 years of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, one is struck first by the quality of the work submitted by New Zealand authors and publishers, and secondly by the increasing impact of the Awards on the New Zealand scene. Betting on the Awards may not yet have been taken up by the TAB, but book sales, let alone the interest expressed by the general media, reflect the keen interest of the New Zealand public,” the judges said.

This is the 12th year of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Judges take into account enduring literary merit and overall authorship; quality of illustration and graphic presentation; production values, general design and the standard of editing and the impact of the book on the community, with emphasis on issues such as topicality, public interest, commercial viability, entertainment, cultural and educational values and lifespan of the book.

The judging is carried out across eight categories – Fiction, Poetry, Biography, History, Reference & Anthology, Environment, Illustrative, and Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture – and follows strict guidelines. The winner in each category receives a prize of $5,000. Each category winner is eligible for the Montana Medal for non fiction or poetry/fiction, both of which carry a prize of $10,000.

Each category has a specialist advisor to assist the judging panel:

Fiction – Diane Brown

Poetry – Anna Jackson

History – Jock Phillips

Biography – Julia Millen

Reference and Anthology – Margie Thomson

Environment – Simon Nathan

Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture – Ann Packer

Illustrative – Artist Dick Frizzell

The finalists across all categories will be announced on Tuesday 10 June. The winner of the poetry category will be announced on Montana Poetry Day on Friday 18 July. All other winners will be advised at the awards ceremony in Wellington on Monday 21 July 2008.

The principal sponsors of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards are Montana and Creative New Zealand. The awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and supported by Book Publishers Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.