Charlotte Grimshaw has won the Montana Medal for fiction or poetry for her short story collection, Opportunity.
Grimshaw’s winning book is an absorbing series of stories delving into a diverse range of lives which are all interlinked.
She said, via her publisher Harriet Allan from Random House, that she was pleased Opportunity had done well.
‘It’s a book centred on New Zealand, and it’s all about our New Zealand stories. Each story is written in the first person, and part of the point of the book is to describe and convey the unique New Zealand voice.’
This year’s Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges, Lynn Freeman, David Elworthy and Tim Corballis said Opportunity was a clear winner for the breadth and ambition of its design, the layers of its meaning, and the multiplicity of reading experiences it affords.
‘By turns touching, funny, dark, and redemptive, this is a book for reading through then re-reading in a different order, for following clues, for setting aside and thinking about, and for getting lost in.’
Charlotte Grimshaw also took the BPANZ Reviewer of the Year Award at the ceremony.
Janet Hunt has won the 2008 Montana Medal for Non-fiction for a book that evokes both national celebration and sorrow; the story of our wetlands.
Wetlands of New Zealand – A Bitter-Sweet Story, written over many years and designed by the author herself, is a stunning and touching insight into these beautiful (and broken) eco-systems and their inhabitants.
Judges’ convenor, Lynn Freeman said while all the category winning titles exemplified excellence in their fields, their decision to name the overall Non-fiction winner was made in a heartbeat.
‘The very best Non-fiction is a delicate balance of facts and research, and a sense of the writer and their passion for their subject. When the story told also brings to our attention as a nation, something significant that has been overlooked, we really can’t ask for more.
‘Janet Hunt’s Wetlands of New Zealand has achieved all of these things, and many readers, we are sure, will feel galvanised to explore these revealed mysteries for themselves.’
The winners of the country’s most prestigious awards for contemporary writing were chosen from more than 220 books submitted.
The complete list of 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is as follows:
Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry winner and Fiction category winner:
Opportunity by Charlotte Grimshaw (Random House)
Fiction runner-up: Edwin & Matilda by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Group (NZ))
Poetry winner: Cold Snack by Janet Charman (Auckland University Press)
Montana Medal for Non-Fiction winner and Environment category winner:
Wetlands of New Zealand – A bitter-sweet story by Janet Hunt (Random House NZ)
Biography winner: The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor by Judy Siers (Millwood Heritage Productions Ltd)
History winner: Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka Volume II: Te Ara Hou – The New Society by Hilary and John Mitchell (Huia Publishers)
Reference and Anthology winner: A Nest of Singing Birds: 100 years of the New Zealand School Journal by Gregory O’Brien (Learning Media Ltd)
Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture winner: Mau Moko: The World of M?ori Tattoo by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku with Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua and Rolinda Karapu (Penguin Group (NZ))
Illustrative winner: Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning by Jennifer Hay, with Ron Brownson, Chris Knox and Laurence Aberhart, designed by Aaron Beehre (Christchurch Art Gallery)
Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000. The winners of the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry (formerly called the Deutz prize) and the Montana Medal for Non fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000. The runner-up in the Fiction category received $2,500. The Readers’ Choice Award carries a monetary prize worth $1,000.