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Thursday, December 1, 2011

NZ Post Book Awards Judges Announced

From The Bookseller

Last Year’s Supreme Book Award Winner is This Year’s Top Judge

Last year Chris Bourke took home the country’s top literary honour – the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award – for his work Blue Smoke: the Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964. This year he heads up the judging panel for the same award.
A respected writer, reviewer, music historian and radio producer, Chris is well known as a former long-time producer for Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning programme and as a staff writer and arts and books editor for print publications including The Listener.

Mr Bourke says he has just cleared several book shelves to make space for the entries in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and his first impression is: “never mind the width, feel the quality.

“New Zealand’s book creation industry is in full flight, with debutantes taking on seasoned authors, the self-published challenging the extravagantly produced. The year has seen fiction and poetry collections from many of our leading writers, and non-fiction seems to have recovered its strength with a plethora of well-researched, elegantly written and designed books in the general and illustrated categories.

“Ahead lie six months of demanding but exhilarating reading, about New Zealand in all its diversity.”

Joining Chris Bourke on the judging panel are: multi-award winning poet, writer, critic and journalist David Eggleton, writer, publisher, book designer and typesetter Mary Egan, poet, reviewer, writer and anthologist Paula Green, writer and Maori and Pacific literature specialist Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu).

Judges are selected for the broad range of skills they bring to the judging process ensuring there is a diversity of writing styles and reading preferences. The judging panel as a whole represents the wealth of diversity and depth in New Zealand writing and publishing.

They will read more than 160 submitted books published in 2011 before selecting the finalists and, ultimately the winners, including the holder of the much-sought-after the New Zealand Post Book of the Year trophy.

There will be four judging categories this year comprising Poetry, Fiction, Illustrated Non-fiction and General Non-fiction. There will be 16 finalist books in total (three finalists each in the Fiction and Poetry categories and five each in the Illustrated Non-Fiction and General Non-Fiction categories).
The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner receives $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000, the Māori Language Award $10,000, Readers’ Choice Award $5,000, and the winners of the three New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards $2,500 each.

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