Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 NZ Post Book Awards

The shortlist of the NZ Post Book Awards is out – this is the big set of national awards that used to be the Montanas and before that the Watties and somewhere in between the Goodman Fielder Watties – and also the winners of the Best First Book awards.

The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin)
The Night Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage)
Their Faces Were Shining by Tim Wilson (VUP)

The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls by Kate Camp (VUP)
The Radio Room by Cilla McQueen (OUP)
Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, ed.  Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan (AUP)

99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry by Paula Green and Harry Ricketts (Vintage)
Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of NZ Popular Music 1918-1964 by Chris Bourke (AUP)
Mune: An Autobiography by Ian Mune (Craig Potton Publishing)
No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson by Paul Millar (AUP)
The Tasman: Biography of an Ocean by Neville Peat (Penguin)

Brian Brake: Lens on the World by Athol McCredie (Te Papa Press)
Pounamu by Russell Beck, Maika Mason and Andris Apse (Viking)
Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton by Nigel Watson and Jane Ussher (Murdoch Books)
The Dress Circle by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Claire Regnault and Lucy Hammonds (Godwit)
The Passing World: The Passage of Life: John Hovell and the Art of Kowhaiwhai by Dr. Damian Skinner (Rim Books)

As for the Best First Book awards, worth $2500 each, they are:
Fiction: the NZSA Hubert Church award goes to Pip Adam for her short-story collection Everything We Hoped for (VUP).
Poetry: the NZSA Jessie Mackay award goes to Lynn Jenner for Dear Sweet Harry (AUP).
Non-fiction: the NZSA E.H. McCormick award goes to Poia Rewi for Whaikorero: the world of Maori oratory (AUP).

It looks odd that first-time novelist Tim Wilson’s Their Faces Were Shining is in the top three for fiction but isn’t the best first book for fiction. However, a glance at his shining new website reveals that “He ghostwrote the autobiography of New Zealand's leading art forger, Karl Sim”. He kept quiet about that, didn’t he.  

The winners of the four main categories, who each receive $10,000, will be announced on 27 July.

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