24 Jun 2013
A teen novel that begins its dramatic journey on New Zealand’s East Coast has picked up the top prize at this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.
Ted Dawe’s book Into the River won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and was also the winner of the Young Adult Fiction category. This engaging coming of age novel follows its main protagonist from his childhood in small town rural New Zealand to an elite Auckland boarding school where he must forge his own way – including battling with his cultural identity.
“Into the River was the book that stood out for us,” says Chief Judge and author Bernard Beckett.
“Traditionally, books aimed at the top end of the young adult market [ages 15+] have not been a strength of ours here in New Zealand, with most books aimed nearer the junior fiction boundary. We were delighted to see a book that both engaged and respected older readers, with material as subtle as it is honest and provocative.
“We congratulate Ted for his superb book, as well as the other winners and finalists who have shown the calibre of children’s books in New Zealand to be well above par.
“It was great to see new talent emerging to line up alongside more established authors and illustrators,” Bernard Beckett said.
The judging panel also comprised children’s literature expert and author Eirlys Hunter and presenter of Radio New Zealand’s Arts on Sunday programme, Lynn Freeman. Together, the panel handpicked 19 finalists from a field of more than a hundred children’s book entries.
The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards promote excellence and provide recognition for the best written and illustrated children’s books published by New Zealand authors each year.
As the winner of both the Young Adult Fiction category and the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, Mr Dawe received a total of $15,000 in cash prizes.