Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Judge not lest ye be judged

How to lose friends and influence people: the NZ Post Book Awards are calling for self-nominations for the role of judge in next year’s awards. Two sides of the coin: heads, almost everyone who isn’t a winner will hate you forever (I exaggerate only slightly and, in some cases, not at all) but tails, you get a tonne, nearly, of free books, many of which are good, and get to meet famous people, all of whom are smart, and argue politely with them. 

I have done it five times –the Watties in 1993, Montanas in 1994, 1999 and 2000 and then NZ Post in 2010 – and it was always at least interesting, at best very enjoyable. And on awards night my wife would get the chance to wear a posh frock and stay in a nice hotel, which doesn’t happen very often for her given my line of work, freelancing in the NZ book publishing industry. 

So please put your hand up. Right now – the deadline is this Friday. The organisers really do need a deep and wide pool of talent. Here are the details:
Expressions of interest are welcomed from members of the public interested in selection to the judging panels for the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards and the 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.
Five judges will be selected for the New Zealand Post Book Awards, and three judges for the children’s awards. Expressions of interest are welcomed from authors, publishers, academics, reviewers, critics, booksellers, librarians and beyond to judge the country’s premier book awards.
Applications can be completed online at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz and a brief curriculum vitae should be supplied demonstrating the applicant’s literary experience for the judging role. Applications close at 5pm, Friday 27 September. The judging panel will be selected by the Book Awards Governance Group, comprising stakeholder representatives.
Te Reo advisors are also sought to judge the Maori Language award, and to advise the judging panel on books submitted in Te Reo in both children’s and senior awards. Fluent speakers of Maori are invited to put their names forward for these additional advisor roles.
The awards are an exciting and prestigious event on the literary calendar, celebrating New Zealand’s finest writers, illustrators and their books. Each year finalists and winners are chosen from over a hundred entrants to celebrate and promote excellence in writing and illustration in New Zealand. Books entered into the awards are judged on the quality of writing, research, illustration, audience appeal, design and production values.
Publishers will be invited to submit entries for the awards in October.
For more information on the New Zealand Post Book Awards contact:
Amie Lightbourne
(04) 815 8363
Or visit: www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz
Go for it. I won’t, for I have had my fun. So here is Lightnin’ Hopkins:

Several people have asked me if the judges are paid. Excellent – this shows that there is a lot of interest in the position. The answer is yes. Judges get $2500 each, the convenor $3500. It is not, to be honest, a great hourly rate, but it’s a lot better than 1993 when my remuneration was a pen and a maroon sweatshirt. All travel expenses are paid too. 

Here is the PDF with all the details and here is the application form. Go on, you know you want to.

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