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Penguin Random House New Zealand wins Publisher of the Year

By August 2, 2022No Comments

Left-Right: Nicola Faisandier, Nevena Nikolic (Nielsen), Claire Murdoch and Becky Innes celebrate Penguin Random House New Zealand’s Nielsen BookData 2022 Publisher of the Year award. Photo: Rebecca McMillan

Penguin Random House New Zealand have won the prestigious Nielsen BookData Publisher of the Year Award at the Aotearoa Book Trade Industry Awards last night in Auckland.

Organised jointly by Booksellers Aotearoa NZ and the Publishers Association of NZ Te Rau o Tākapu, the ceremony was the first time the awards had been presented in person since 2019.

In her citation, awards judge Anne de Latour, said: “Applications in this category needed to display all round excellence so the judges looked at how each applicant viewed their own performance and how they are viewed externally.”

Penguin Random House New Zealand is the New Zealand home of many of the world’s best-known publishing brands and imprints, from international blockbusters like Lee Child and Diary of a Wimpy Kid to local superstars Hairy Maclary, Chelsea Winter and Witi Ihimaera.

As Anne de Latour put it in her citation:

“Aspects we considered included the success and impact of the publishing lists in the trade, support for local writers, marketing and publicity campaigns to attract new readers, communication with booksellers, commitment to diversity and inclusion, team culture and new initiatives that are being implemented to assist with distribution and delivery and environmental issues.”

Director of Penguin Random House New Zealand, Becky Innes said: “I am thrilled for my colleagues to have received this award. It is a joy for them to be recognised for their hard work, passion and tenacity. We all love being part of the book ecosystem of Aotearoa, from authors to booksellers and readers.”

Other awards presented on the night were:

  • Emerging NZ Publisher of the Year: Michelle Hurley, Allen & Unwin
  • Emerging NZ Bookseller of the Year: Lisa Adler, Vic Books
  • NZ Bestseller Award (best-selling NZ published title between April 2021 and
    March 2022): Lost and Found: My story of heartbreak and hope, Toni Street (Allen &
  • International Bestseller Award (best-selling international title in NZ between
    April 2021 and March 2022): Better Off Dead: Jack Reacher 26, Lee Child and Andrew
    Child (Penguin Random House)
  • Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year: Courtney Smith and Abba Renshaw,
    Allen & Unwin, for Salad, Two Raw Sisters
  • Aotearoa Booksellers’ Choice Award: Greta and Valdin, Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga
    Waka University Press)
  • Sales Professional of the Year: Inna Carson, HarperCollins
  • Mana Māori Award: Kupu Ngā Ringa Tuhituhi Māori Writers Festival
  • Nielsen BookData NZ Bookshop of the Year: Unity Books (Welllington)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: David and Jenny Hedley (Hedley’s Books, Masterton)


Meryl Halls
Meryl has been Managing Director of the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland since April 2018, having helped to drive all key BA initiatives of the last two decades. A Trustee of World Book Day, Board Member of the European & International Booksellers Federation, the British Retail Consortium, the Independent Retailers Confederation and of, she was awarded the FutureBook Person of the Year Award 2020 in recognition of the work done by the BA Group on behalf of booksellers during the COVID crisis.

Ben Brown
Ben Brown was born one week before the Rolling Stones played their first gig in 1962. Ruby Tuesday is one of his favourite songs and he may tell you why if you ask him. He’s an author, poet and performer. In 2021 he was appointed New Zealand’s inaugural Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador. He is also the father of two, which he considers his best work to date.

Jill Rawnsley
Jill Rawnsley has worked in the book industry In Aotearoa in various roles in publishing, festivals, at Creative New Zealand, as a judge in the fiction category for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and most recently as the inaugural Manager of the Coalition for Books and Kete.

Anne de Latour
Anne is the Executive Officer of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust and was previously Director of the Publishers Association of NZ Te Rau o Tākupu. Anne has also worked in various roles in the publishing industry and has a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the national and international book sector.

Special Advisor (Mana Māori): Iona Winter
Iona Winter’s hybrid work is widely published and anthologised in literary publications internationally. She creates work to be performed, relishing cross-modality collaboration, and holds a Master of Creative Writing. Iona has authored three collections, Gaps in the Light (2021), Te Hau Kāika (2019) and then the wind came (2018). Skilled at giving voice to difficult topics, she often draws on her deep connection to land, place and whenua. Iona lives on the East Otago Coast, Aotearoa New Zealand.