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New Zealand Post Book Awards 2012 Finalists Announced

By June 6, 2012No Comments

31 May 2012

A diverse and exciting range of books have today been announced as finalists for the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

The finalists – selected from 160 entries – include a biography of Captain William Bligh (the target of naval history’s most famous mutiny), explorations of New Zealand native trees, pottery and cloaks, and a detailed re-examination of one of New Zealand’s most shocking murders – the Parker and Hulme case.

The judges unanimously found five finalists in the both general and illustrated non-fiction categories. “The non-fiction categories feature writers who are working at the peak of their craft, finding new, original ways in which to portray New Zealand in print,” said the convenor of the New Zealand Post Book Awards judging panel, Chris Bourke.

However, due to the strength of this year’s entries, the judges found it very difficult to limit themselves to just the three finalists required in the fiction and poetry categories. “Having all the categories restored to five finalists would more accurately represent the quality and breadth of New Zealand’s writing,” said Mr Bourke. “The same diversity is present in the fiction and poetry – and should be reflected in the shortlists.”

The Chair of the Book Awards Governance Group, Sam Elworthy said he appreciated the candour of the judging panel.

“We are committed to ensuring writers are best served with these awards and the reduction in fiction and poetry finalists was made after extensive consultation with the literary community. None-the-less, getting the right format for the country’s premier book awards is all-important. It is a challenge the Governance Group accept,” says Mr Elworthy.

He further commented that the Awards were under review and that exciting changes could be anticipated next year.

The 2012 judging panel comprises multi-award winning poet, writer, critic and journalist David Eggleton, writer, publisher, book designer and typesetter Mary Egan, poet, reviewer, writer and anthologist Paula Green, writer and Maori and Pacific literature specialist Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu) together with Mr Bourke, a journalist, producer and writer who won last year’s New Zealand Post Book of the Year prize.

Fiction finalists

From Under the Overcoat
Sue Orr
Vintage, Random House NZ
Paula Morris
Penguin Group (NZ)
The Trouble with Fire
Fiona Kidman
Vintage, Random House NZ

Poetry finalists

The leaf-ride
Dinah Hawken
Victoria University Press
Rhian Gallagher
Auckland University Press
Anna Jackson
Auckland University Press

Illustrated Non-Fiction finalists

A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy
Gregory O'Brien
Auckland University Press

New Zealand Film – An Illustrated History
Diane Pivac, Frank Stark, and Lawrence McDonald
Te Papa Press

New Zealand's Native Trees
John Dawson and Rob Lucas
Craig Potton Publishing

Playing with Fire: Auckland Studio Potters Society Turns 50
Peter Lange and Stuart Newby
Auckland Studio Potters Society– in conjunction with the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery (CNZARD)

Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks
Awhina Tamarapa
Te Papa Press

General Non-Fiction finalists

Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas
Anne Salmond
Penguin Group (NZ)

The Broken Book
Fiona Farrell
Auckland University Press

The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso
Peter Wells
Vintage, Random House NZ

So Brilliantly Clever: Parker, Hulme and the Murder That Shocked the World
Peter Graham
Awa Press

Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator
Joan Druett
Random House NZ

For images and further details please visit

People’s Choice Award
Voting opens today for the nation’s favourite book. Nominations can be made from this year’s finalist books on-line at The 2012 finalist book with the most votes will be honoured with the much-coveted People’s Choice Award.

In addition to individual category winners, and a People’s Choice Award, there will be a Māori Language Award winner and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 1 August 2012.

The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner will receive $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000. The Māori Language Award winner will receive $10,000 and the People’s Choice Award winner $5,000.

New Zealand Post’s sponsorship of the national book awards reflects their long-standing support for literacy and education.   They maintain that focus throughout the year with initiatives such as, creative writing contests for school students, and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards which they have sponsored for the past 16 years.  That commitment to promoting literacy, excellence in writing and the joy of reading sees New Zealand Post play a key role in supporting other champions of literature, such as Booksellers NZ, to promote and reward local literary talent.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards 2012 are also funded by Creative New Zealand. The Awards are managed by Book Awards Governance Group, administered by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.

Key dates:
•    6  June 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards FINALIST ANNOUNCEMENT
•    6 June 2012 Readers’ Choice Award VOTING OPENS
•    27 July 2012 NATIONAL POETRY DAY
•    6 July 2012 Readers’ Choice Award VOTING CLOSES, 5pm.
•    1 August 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards WINNERS ANNOUNCED.
•    2 August 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards WINNERS EVENT.