The Best First Book awards for Non-fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.
The NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction goes to The Blue by Mary McCallum (Penguin Group (NZ)
The Blue also wins this years Reader’s Choice Award section of the Montana Book Awards.
Montana judge Ms Freeman says this book is such an accomplished piece of writing that it has also earned a place in the Fiction category shortlist this year.
‘We only rarely find a first-time novelist who can write with such precision, maturity and real emotional insight.’
Jessica Le Bas wins the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for her collection, Incognito (Auckland University Press).
‘Incognito is a book whose poems are sensitive to rhythm as well as the play of words, and letters, on the page. Le Bas is willing to employ a range of forms and acknowledged influences to match the wide-ranging interest of her subject matter, and to allow a range of voices to speak through her work,’ says Ms Freeman.
The NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction goes to The Great Sacred Forest of T?ne - Te Wao Tapu Nui a Tane: A Natural Pre-History of Aotearoa New Zealand by Alan Clarke (Reed Publishing).
‘This study of the historical uses of New Zealand’s native flora is the culmination, one suspects, of a life’s work and deserves the highest praise,’ says Ms Freeman.
Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner receives $2,500.