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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book award fever

Booker prizewinner The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton looks like a shoo-in for both the fiction prize and the overall prize at the NZ Post Book Award ceremony this month.

Well, everyone says so, and I expect that's what will happen.  She's scooped everything else, so it would be a sensation if she didn't get this one. Do the judges have any other option?

It's a pity for the other finalists, because there are some big names there.

One is Damien Wilkins, the current director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, whose novel Max Gate is also in the running.

Both books were published by Victoria University Press, who publisher, Fergus Barrowman, must be beaming. This year, it has five shortlisted books -- the two novels, Us, Then by New Zealand's delightful and ebullient poet-laureate, Vincent O'Sullivan, and two debut poetry collections by Caoilinn Hughes (Gathering Evidence) and Marty Smith (Horse with Hat).

VUP also featured in the announcement of both the best first book awards, given by the New Zealand Society of Authors: Smith's book, and Amy Head's novel, Tough.

The Luminaries is also one of the eight longlisted mysteries in the Ngaio Marsh Award, the shortlist and winner of which will also be announced this month.

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