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Publishers’ Picks 2023

By News

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: https://www.copyright.co.nz/about/news-and-blog/successful-recipients-of-the-2023-contestable-fund-grants-announced

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 https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/Frankfurt-Book-Fair/article/93454-frankfurt-book-fair-2023-publishing-is-a-political-act.html. 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.

Congratulations to winners of Book Industry Awards

By Media Releases, News

Lamplight Books, a recently established bookstore in the Auckland suburb of Parnell, has been named Bookshop of the Year at the Aotearoa Book Trade Industry Awards, held on Saturday night in Rotorua.

Organised jointly by Booksellers Aotearoa NZ and the PANZ, the awards celebrate the outstanding booksellers and publishers in Aotearoa’s vibrant book industry. This includes naming the hotly contested Nielsen BookData New Zealand Publisher of the Year.

The judges described Lamplight Books as a “beautiful, browsable space filled to the ceiling with books”. The store opened in June 2021 amid pandemic restrictions, but has flourished despite the difficult trading conditions.

The Nielsen BookData Publisher of the Year was presented to Allen & Unwin New Zealand. The judges praised the breadth of Allen & Unwin’s achievement across all aspects of their business, calling them “deserving and stand-out winners”.

“The team at Allen & Unwin prides itself on publishing strong, important, commercially successful books and this past year was their best yet.”

Allen & Unwin also received the Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year award, acknowledging their outstanding campaign for The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw. While another of their books, Straight Up by Ruby Tui, was recognised as the best-selling New Zealand title published between April 2022 and March 2023.

The judges were particularly thrilled to name Dahlia Malaeulu, owner of Mila’s Books, the first all Pasifika publishing company in the world, the Emerging NZ Publisher of the Year.

“In four years Mila’s Books has solidified a reputation for producing culturally rich, accessible and quality stories and resources that reflect Pasifika values, languages, cultures and most importantly, our tamaiti. Through the various Mila’s Books projects, the stories of over 90 first time Pasifika authors (children, students, educators, parents) across Aotearoa have been shared with the world advancing Pasifika storytelling, with Pasifika, by Pasifika, for all of us.”

The full list of 2023 Aotearoa Book Trade Industry Award winners:

  • Nielsen BookData New Zealand Bookshop of the Year: Lamplight Books
  • Nielsen BookData New Zealand Publisher of the Year: Allen & Unwin New Zealand
  • Emerging NZ Publisher of the Year: Dahlia Malaeulu, Director/Publisher of Mila’s Books
  • The Books and Publishing award for Emerging Bookseller of the Year: Anna Hoek-Sims, University Book Shop (Otago)
  • The Nielsen Bookdata New Zealand Bestseller Award (the best-selling NZ published title between April 2022 and March 2023): Straight Up, Ruby Tui (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Nielsen Bookdata International Bestseller Award (the best-selling international title between April 2022 and March 2023): No Plan B, Andrew and Lee Child (Penguin Random House)
  • Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year: Allen & Unwin NZ for The Bookseller at the End of the World, Ruth Shaw
  • The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand award for Book of the Year: Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Gamus (Penguin Random House)
  • Sales Professional of the Year: Matthew Simpson, Client Services Manager Arotahi Agency
  • Mana Māori Award: Penguin Random House NZ, Māori Language Week Campaign 2022
  • The TitlePage Innovation Award: Coalition for Books Māori and Pasifika books campaign 2023
  • The Publisher’s Association of New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award: Ann Mallinson. Ann receives the lifetime achievement in recognition of her significant contribution to publishing in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 1980 Ann and her husband David Rendel founded Mallinson Rendel a trailblazer in New Zealand children’s publishing. Mallinson Rendel is the original publisher of Lynley Dodd’s world-famous Hairy Maclary series and describes her career highlight as the day when Lynely entered her office and read to her from the manuscript of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.

Teenager joins established names on shortlist for national children’s book awards

By Media Releases, News

A 16-year-old Kāpiti Coast student is among the writers and illustrators announced today as finalists in the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the preeminent celebration of books for Aotearoa’s young readers.

Arlo Kelly, one of the Awards’ youngest ever finalists, is vying for the NZSA Best First Book Award with his debut novel Echo. The teenager is in fine company. A wealth of talent has been recognised by this year’s shortlist, including established names like Witi Ihimaera, Donovan Bixley and Kate De Goldi alongside familiar faces like Jason Gunn and Fifi Colston.

The finalist books deal with big topics, including death, identity and climate change, but there is plenty of lightness, too, with fun and frivolity guaranteed to bring a smile to young readers of all ages.

“This year’s entries reflect the changing nature of who we are as New Zealanders, with good helpings of humour and fantasy thrown in,” says convenor of judges Nicola Daly, an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, where she is codirector of the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit and teaches courses in children’s literature.

“New Zealand children have many opportunities to read titles published around the world in our wonderful libraries and bookshops, but the importance of them seeing themselves and the communities around them in books cannot be underestimated,” she says.

The awards organisers and the judging panel wanted to have children more involved in the assessment process, so this year 15 primary, intermediate and secondary schools from across the motu were recruited to offer feedback.  Each school was sent a selection of entries from relevant categories, together with review forms and judging guidelines to encourage critical thinking about the books. Their feedback was then shared with the judges.

“We really appreciated the input from tamariki and rangatahi, which allowed us to see the books from their perspective. It was an important contribution to our decision-making process,” says Nicola Daly.

The end result is 29 finalists, who offer Aotearoa’s young readers an educative, engaging and engrossing selection of books with a uniquely local flavour.

The winners of each of the six main categories – Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te reo Māori – take home $7,500 and are then in the running to be named the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, with a further $7,500 prize money. In addition, the judges will award a Best First Book prize of $2,500 to a previously unpublished author or illustrator.

The ceremony to announce the winners will take place in Wellington on the evening of Thursday 10 August.

The 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults finalists are:

Picture Book Award Finalists

The judges praised the high production standards of this year’s Picture Book Award finalists, which all show an appreciation and mastery of the format. The shortlisted picture books vary greatly in story theme and illustration style, and contemporary issues are dealt with subtly and in tandem with the pictures.

Duck Goes Meow, Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Carla Martell (Scholastic New Zealand)
Farewell, Anahera, Vanessa Hatley-Owen, illustrated by Scott Irvine, translated by Kanapu Rangitauira (David Ling Publishing)
How My Koro Became a Star, Brianne Te Paa, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse (Huia Publishers)
Roo and Vladimir: An Unlikely Friendship, Minky Stapleton (Scholastic New Zealand)
The Lighthouse Princess, Susan Wardell, illustrated by Rose Northey (Penguin Random House NZ)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award Finalists

The titles shortlisted for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award run the gamut from gripping disaster and adventure to exuberant, irresistible comedy. Whether contemporary or historical, serious or playful, rooted in te ao Māori or in te ao Pākehā, these satisfying stories have something to teach readers about life in Aotearoa New Zealand and the power rangatahi have to effect change in a complicated world.

Below, David Hill (Penguin Random House NZ)
Children of the Rush, James Russell (Dragon Brothers Books)
Jason Mason and the World’s Most Powerful Itching Powder, Jason Gunn and Andrew Gunn (Bateman Books)
Masher, Fifi Colston (Penguin Random House NZ)
Pipi and Pou and the Raging Mountain, Tim Tipene, illustrated by Isobel Te Aho-White (OneTree House)

Young Adult Fiction Award Finalists

In subject, setting, form, and use of language, the field of entries in this year’s Young Adult Fiction Award is wildly creative while still being authentic and realistic. The judges found this category packed with well-crafted tales that hook the reader in with engaging plots and satisfying story arcs.

Andromeda Bond in Trouble Deep, Brian Falkner (Red Button Press)
Eddy, Eddy, Kate De Goldi (Allen & Unwin)
Indigo Moon, Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House NZ)
Iris and Me, Philippa Werry (The Cuba Press)
Miracle, Jennifer Lane (Cloud Ink Press)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction Finalists

From biography and pūrākau to understanding more about climate and weather, the finalist titles in this year’s Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction introduce readers to a range of new ideas and experiences, both inspirational and educational. The judges were particularly impressed by the quality of visual design in this category.

A New Dawn, Emeli Sione, illustrated by Darcy Solia (Mila’s Books)
Freestyle: The Israel Adesanya Story, David Riley, illustrated by Ant Sang (Reading Warrior)
Sylvia and the Birds, Johanna Emeney, illustrated by Sarah Laing (Massey University Press)
Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin)
Weather and Climate New Zealand, Sandra Carrod (Oratia Books)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration Finalists

Frightening to cute, places of dark to beacons of light, and Aotearoa to Italy and the Himalayas, the books up for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration cover a broad range of topics, perfectly showcasing the diverse talents of their illustrators. The shortlisted titles demonstrate the illustrators’ cohesiveness, originality, skill, confidence and energy.

A Portrait of Leonardo, Donovan Bixley (Upstart Press)
Four Yaks and a Yeti, Ant Sang, written by Peter Hillary (Bateman Books)
Roar Squeak Purr, Jenny Cooper, edited by Paula Green (Penguin Random House NZ)
Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin)
The Lighthouse Princess, Rose Northey, written by Susan Wardell (Penguin Random House NZ)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award Finalists

The judges of the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award, which is for books written entirely in te reo Māori, found this year’s crop of shortlisted books showed excellent use of reo and displayed strong themes of mātauranga Māori and mātāpono Māori.
He Raru ki Tai, Jane Cooper, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse (Huia Publishers)
Kua Whetūrangitia a Koro, Brianne Te Paa, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse (Huia Publishers)
Te Kōkōrangi: Te Aranga o Matariki, Witi Ihimaera, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Hēni Jacob (Penguin Random House NZ)

NZSA Best First Book Award Finalist

The judges recognise the “guts and talent” it takes to have your first book published, and the 2023 NZSA Best First Book Award finalists impressed with the range of characters, topics and settings – all presented with skill and much promise for the future.

Echo, Arlo Kelly (Sparrow Press)
Holding the Horse, J L Williams (Ocean Echo Books)
He Raru ki Tai, Jane Cooper, illustrated by Story Hemi-Morehouse (Huia Publishers)
Kidnap at Mystery Island, Carol Garden (Scholastic New Zealand)
The Lighthouse Princess, Susan Wardell, illustrated by Rose Northey (Penguin Random House NZ)

**
As well as acknowledging the best and brightest in books for children and teens, a core aspect of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults mission is to foster literacy and a love of reading among New Zealand’s tamariki and rangatahi.

This includes administering the ever-popular HELL Reading Challenge, now in its tenth year, which has encouraged children to read close to 16 million books , aided by the bonus of a free pizza for every seven books completed. In addition, libraries and schools will be able to take tamariki on Hell’s Great NZ Book Trip, where they can discover the rich tapestry of New Zealand literature right around the motu and get up close and personal with Aotearoa’s literary talent through a series of virtual author sessions streamed straight into classrooms.

Another popular aspect of the Awards is its programme of Books Alive events, in which finalist authors and illustrators bring the magic of books to life at sessions for school children. Plans are afoot this year for a full schedule of events in both Wellington and Christchurch in the immediate lead up to the Awards ceremony.

The formidable task of narrowing the field to a shortlist of finalists was met by this year’s experienced judging panel: Nicola Daly (convenor) , an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, where she is codirector of the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit and teaches courses in children’s literature; Daniel Buchanan, who has worked in bookstores in Ōtepoti for 18 years; Feana Tu‘akoi, a Kirikiriroa-based writer; Maia Bennett (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), a Wānaka secondary school and public librarian; and Ruth Paul, an award-winning Wellington writer and illustrator of children’s picture books.

They were joined by a separate panel specially appointed to judge te reo Māori entries: Ruki Tobin (convenor) (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua), Kaihautū / Director Ratonga Māori at Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, National Library of New Zealand; Mihi Te Rina Henare (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), the Kaitiaki Pukapuka and Kairangahau Māori at Te Wānanga Takiura o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa; and Te Wairere Ngaia (Waikato-Maniapoto, Taranaki, Te Ātiawa, Ngāruahinerangi, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Tarāwhai, Ngāti Whakaue), a Rotorua-based kaiako of te reo Māori, and a qualified translator.

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.

Novel that New Zealanders have ‘clasped to their hearts’ wins country’s richest writing prize

By Media Releases, News

Celebrated New Zealand writer Catherine Chidgey has won the $64,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for The Axeman’s Carnival – a page-turning novel of depth, pathos and humanity that skilfully infuses comedy with a building sense of menace, narrated by a precocious magpie called Tama.

Ms Chidgey received the fiction prize ahead of screenwriter and author Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) (Better the Blood); historian and novelist Monty Soutar (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) (Kāwai: For Such a Time as This); and sailor and novelist Cristina Sanders (Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant).

It is the second time Catherine Chidgey has won the big-ticket fiction prize offered since 2016 thanks to the late Jann Medlicott – the first writer to do so. She won the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize in 2017 for The Wish Child. Both books are published by Te Herenga Waka University Press.

The Fiction category’s convenor of judges, Stephanie Johnson, says The Axeman’s Carnival is a novel that has been clasped to New Zealanders’ hearts.

“The unforgettable Tama – taken in and raised by Marnie on the Te Waipounamu high country farm she shares with champion axeman husband Rob – constantly entertains with his take on the foibles and dramas of his human companions. Catherine Chidgey’s writing is masterful, and the underlying sense of dread as the story unfolds is shot through with humour and humanity.

The Axeman’s Carnival is unique: poetic, profound and a powerfully compelling read from start to finish.” 

Scholar, poet and irredentist Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) has won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry for Always Italicise: How to Write While Colonised (Auckland University Press). 

Poetry category convenor Diane Brown says Ms Te Punga Somerville’s collection voyages out like a waka seeking new ground.

“Readers are challenged but crucially invited in to accept that challenge and reach a new understanding of what it is to be a Māori woman scholar, mother and wife in 2022 encountering and navigating uncomfortable and hostile spaces.

Always Italicise stood out amongst a very strong field for its finely crafted, poetically fluent and witty explorations of racism, colonisation, class, language and relationships. It’s a fine collection, establishing and marking a new place to stand.”

Broadcaster, music critic and author Nick Bollinger has won the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction for Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand (Auckland University Press). 

Category convenor Jared Davidson says Jumping Sundays is a triumph of production and design.

“The cover alone is one of the best of the year and signals the visual excellence that follows: vibrant endpapers, distinctive typography and bountiful images on an appropriately uncoated stock. Yet Jumping Sundays is more than just a well-designed book. Drawing on archival research and rich personal narratives, Nick Bollinger has written a compelling account of an epoch-making period, linking international trends to the local context in a purposeful-yet-playful way.

“A joy to read and to hold, Jumping Sundays is a fantastic example of scholarship, creativity and craft.”

Historian and lawyer Ned Fletcher has won the General Non-Fiction Award for his work, The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi (Bridget Williams Books).

Category convenor of judges Anna Rawhiti-O’Connell says Fletcher’s book is a meticulously constructed work of scholarship that provides surprising and essential analysis of Te Tiriti.

The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi will shift and inform debates about the intentions of those who constructed and signed the Treaty and how we interpret it today. Fletcher’s comprehensive examination sheds new light on the document’s implications and contributes fresh thinking to what remains a very live conversation for all of us that call this country home.”

The Poetry, Illustrated Non-Fiction and General Non-Fiction category award winners each took home a $12,000 prize.

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

Hubert Church Prize for Fiction

Home Theatre by Anthony Lapwood (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Whakaue, Pākehā) (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Jessie Mackay Prize for Poetry

We’re All Made of Lightning by Khadro Mohamed (We Are Babies Press, Tender Press)

Judith Binney Prize for Illustrated Non-Fiction

Kai: Food Stories and Recipes from my Family Table by Christall Lowe (Ngāti Kauwhata, Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto) (Bateman Books)

E.H. McCormick for General Non-Fiction

Grand: Becoming my Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

Each Best First Book Award winner received $3,000 and a 12-month membership subscription to the New Zealand Society of Authors.

New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa spokesperson Jenna Todd (Kāi Tahu) says this year’s winners are a demonstration of the quality and virtuosity of Aotearoa writers today.

“It’s a joy to celebrate these innovative, thought-provoking, conversation-starting books across fiction, poetry, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction; each of them singing and fizzing and demanding to be read.

“These titles of excellence are a tribute to the broad range of publishers who produced them, from the boutique to the established and multinational. Publishers are the power houses behind these books and also deserve the recognition.”

The 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards’ judges were:

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction:  bestselling author, critic and creative writing teacher Stephanie Johnson (convenor); editor and literature assessor John Huria (Ngāi Tahu, Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Rangi); Wellington bookseller Jemma Morrison; and British writer, publisher and host of the books podcast Backlisted, John Mitchinson (UK).

Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry: Dunedin poet, author and creative writing tutor Diane Brown (convenor); poet and kaiako Serie Barford; and Wellington poet and Grimshaw-Sargeson Fellow Gregory Kan.

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction: award-winning writer, historian and archivist Jared Davidson (convenor); writer and curator Dr Anna-Marie White (Te Ātiawa); and veteran television producer Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin MNZM.

General Non-Fiction Award: writer and award-winning columnist Anna Rawhiti-Connell (convenor); prize-winning author, academic and researcher Alison Jones; and historian Professor Te Maire Tau (Ūpoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, a hapu of Ngāi Tahu).

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand, the Mātātuhi Foundation, and the Auckland Writers Festival, which hosts the awards ceremony as a marquee event in its annual programme.

To find out more about the winners’ books go to http://www.nzbookawards.nz/new-zealand-book-awards/2023-awards/winners/

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Longlist Breaks All Records

By Media Releases, News

Highly personal memoir, probing political treatise and gut-punching poetry collections sit alongside trailblazing fiction and books exploring our whenua, moana, artists and entertainers in the longlists for the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Today’s longlist announcement is the largest and widest ranging in the recent history of the awards, with a record number of 44 poetry, prose, general and illustrated non-fiction titles.

The increase from 40 longlisted titles in previous years is due to the General Non-Fiction judges accepting an invitation from the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa to select up to 14 titles, rather than the standard 10 in their category. The General Non-Fiction shortlist will still be four, in line with the other categories.

Trust chair Nicola Legat says that the discretionary increase reflects the volume of submissions for the General Non-Fiction award, the number and range of which well exceeds the other three categories.

“This gives the judges more opportunity to honour more books, and more types of books. This category longlist certainly reflects the terrific depth and breadth of non-fiction publishing in New Zealand and is a credit to its authors and publishers.”

There were 191 award entries this year – more than ever before, and an increase of 20 percent compared to 2022. Almost a third (14) of longlistees are first-time authors – an increase from 10 debutants on the 40-strong list last year. With 19 publishers represented across all categories, the longlist’s wide distribution is a reflection of Aotearoa’s vibrant literary industry.

“The New Zealand Book Awards Trust was thrilled by the record number of entries to the awards this year. It’s very heartening to see the longlist shared among so many publishing houses, both big and small,” says Nicola Legat. “When you consider that many of these books were produced and went to print during the stressful Covid restrictions of late 2021, it’s even more of an achievement. We congratulate all concerned.”

The 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlisted titles are:

*represents debut authors.

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction

Better the Blood by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)

Chevalier & Gawayn: The Ballad of the Dreamer by Phillip Mann (Quentin Wilson Publishing)

Down from Upland by Murdoch Stephens (Lawrence & Gibson)

Home Theatre by Anthony Lapwood (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

Kāwai: For Such a Time as This by Monty Soutar (Bateman Books)

Mary’s Boy, Jean-Jacques and other stories by Vincent O’Sullivan (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant by Cristina Sanders (The Cuba Press)

The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

The Fish by Lloyd Jones (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

 

Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

Always Italicise: How to Write While Colonised by Alice Te Punga Somerville (Auckland University Press)

Echidna by Essa May Ranapiri (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Meat Lovers by Rebecca Hawkes (Auckland University Press)*

Night School by Michael Steven (Otago University Press)

People Person by Joanna Cho (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

Sedition by Anahera Maire Gildea (Taraheke | Bush Lawyer)*

Super Model Minority by Chris Tse (Auckland University Press)

Surrender by Michaela Keeble (Taraheke | Bush Lawyer)*

The Pistils by Janet Charman (Otago University Press)

We’re All Made of Lightning by Khadro Mohamed (We Are Babies Press, Tender Press)*

 

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction

I am Autistic by Chanelle Moriah (Allen & Unwin)*

Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand by Nick Bollinger (Auckland University Press)

Kai: Food Stories and Recipes from my Family Table by Christall Lowe (Bateman Books)*

Nature Boy: The Photography of Olaf Petersen edited by Catherine Hammond and Shaun Higgins (Auckland University Press)

Paradise Camp by Yuki Kihara, edited by Natalie King (Thames & Hudson Australia)

Robin White: Something is Happening Here edited by Sarah Farrar, Jill Trevelyan and Nina Tonga (Te Papa Press and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki)

Secrets of the Sea: The Story of New Zealand’s Native Sea Creatures by Robert Vennell (HarperCollins)

Tāngata Ngāi Tahu | People of Ngāi Tahu Volume Two edited by Helen Brown and Michael J Stevens (Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Bridget Williams Books)

Te Motunui Epa by Rachel Buchanan (Bridget Williams Books)

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art edited by Nigel Borell (Penguin Random House New Zealand in association with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki)

 

General Non-Fiction Award

A Fire in the Belly of Hineāmaru: A Collection of Narratives about Te Tai Tokerau Tūpuna by Melinda Webber and Te Kapua O’Connor (Auckland University Press)

A History of New Zealand in 100 Objects by Jock Phillips (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

Democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Survival Guide by Geoffrey Palmer and Gwen Palmer Steeds (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Downfall: The Destruction of Charles Mackay by Paul Diamond (Massey University Press)

Empire City: Wellington Becomes the Capital of New Zealand by John E Martin (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

Every Sign of Life: On Family Ground by Nicholas Lyon Gresson (Quentin Wilson Publishing)

Gaylene’s Take: Her Life in New Zealand Film by Gaylene Preston (Te Herenga Waka University Press)*

Grand: Becoming my Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, Penguin Random House)*

Lāuga: Understanding Samoan Oratory by Sadat Muaiava (Te Papa Press)*

So Far, For Now: On Journeys, Widowhood and Stories that are Never Over by Fiona Kidman (Vintage, Penguin Random House)

The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi by Ned Fletcher (Bridget Williams Books)*

The Road to Gondwana: In Search of the Lost Supercontinent by Bill Morris (Exisle Publishing)*

Thief, Convict, Pirate, Wife: The Many Histories of Charlotte Badger by Jennifer Ashton (Auckland University Press)

You Probably Think This Song is About You by Kate Camp (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

The 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist of 16 titles will be announced on 8 March. The winners, including four Best First Book Awards recipients, will be announced at a public ceremony on 17 May during the 2023 Auckland Writers Festival.

The winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will receive $64,000 in 2023 and each of the other main category prizes will earn their winners $12,000 (up from $10,000 in recent years). Each of the Best First Book winners, for fiction, poetry, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction, will be awarded $3000 (up from $2500).

The Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction will be judged by bestselling author, critic and creative writing teacher Stephanie Johnson (convenor); editor and literature assessor John Huria (Ngāi Tahu, Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Rangi); and Rotorua bookseller Jemma Morrison. They will be joined in deciding the ultimate winner from their shortlist of four by an international judge.

Judging the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry will be Dunedin poet, author and creative writing tutor Diane Brown (convenor); poet and kaiako Serie Barford; and Wellington poet and Grimshaw-Sargeson Fellow Gregory Kan.

The Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction will be judged by award-winning writer, historian and archivist Jared Davidson (convenor); writer and curator Dr Anna-Marie White (Te Ātiawa); and veteran television producer Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin MNZM.

The General Non-Fiction Award will be judged by writer and award-winning columnist Anna Rawhiti-Connell (convenor); prize-winning author, academic and researcher Alison Jones; and historian Professor Te Maire Tau (Ūpoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, a hapu of Ngāi Tahu).

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

To find out more about the longlisted titles go to https://www.nzbookawards.nz/new-zealand-book-awards/2023-awards/longlist/

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