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
“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
“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
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.