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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Self-published book wins major award

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.

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.

A major achievement, and congratulations to the gifted Mr. Dawe.  This prize-winning junior novel was published by "Mangakino University Press" -- an inside joke, as Mangakino is a tiny settlement in the central part of the North Island, in an area that is focused on farming, timber and hydro-electricity generation.  Ted Dawe published his first prize-winner with Longacre Press ... so what happened?  Why did he make the decision to launch out on his own?  His rather jerky website does not explain, but it does have a tempting sample from the book.  And you can purchase it from the site, as well.

1 comment:

Shayne Parkinson said...

"Mangakino University Press" caught my eye too, Joan!

I heard an interview with Ted Dawe on Kim Hill's programme this morning. He said Longacre turned this book down because it was too long. He shortened it (or rather split it into two books), but they still felt it was too long. He then shortened it yet again, and self-pubbed it (I don't think he mentioned whether or not he tried Longacre with the re-shortened version).

The interview can be accessed from this page: