Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stunning all-women poetry and fiction shortlists: NZ Post Book Awards

An exciting shortlist for this years Book Awards - scroll down to see it. All women in the fiction and poetry lists, and two short story collections, could the latter be a first? (The former isn't - in 2008 we had an all-woman fiction and poetry shortlist including my novel The Blue.) 

Some of my favourite books of the year are there: Sue Orr's From Under the Overcoat, Fiona Kidman's The Trouble with Fire, Anna Jackson's Thicket, Dinah Hawken's The leaf-ride; and in the non-fiction list:  Fiona Farrell's The Broken Book and Peter Wells' The Hungry Heart. I haven't yet read Rangatira or Shift but have them on my shelves and will do...  

All the non-fiction choices look superb too - I have handled them all at the bookshop where I work on Fridays. They're beautifully produced - real treasures -- especially Peter Wells' book. 

My favourites are there, so I am happy, but already I'm thinking about the books that didn't make the very brief lists of three in the fiction and poetry categories. Wulf by Hamish Clayton which won Best First Book of Fiction this year (announced last week) is one that occurs to me. Given its quality, I wonder if a longer general shortlist might not have seen him included. 

Many readers were gunning for Sarah Quigley's Conductor (not me) and Owen Marshall's The Larnachs (haven't read it.) Then there are those strong collections of poetry by Vincent O'Sullivan, Jenny Bornholdt and Peter Bland ... Certainly the judges this year have said they would have liked to have had a shortlist of five for these categories as we had in the past. 

I also note that the excellent La Rochelle's Road by Tanya Moir hasn't received a mention in the awards, which is a shame.  It's a first novel and the runners-up for Best First Book aren't announced - but I really think they should be. It's such a boost for a first time author to get that sort of acknowledgement. 

Book Awards judge Chris Bourke:  “Having all the categories restored to five finalists would more accurately represent the quality and breadth of New Zealand’s writing. The same diversity is present in the fiction and poetry - and should be reflected in the shortlists.” Yes, good idea. And a shortlist for the First Book Awards, Chris?

I am betting there'll be some discussion on this on Beattie's Bookblog...  And here's an interesting write-up by the Listener's Guy Somerset  including a podcast of Chris Bourke talking us through the shortlists.

Fiction finalists
From Under the Overcoat
Sue Orr
Vintage, Random House NZ
9781869790578 (Paperback)
9781869795511 (Ebook)
Paula Morris
Penguin Group (NZ)
The Trouble with Fire
Fiona Kidman
Vintage, Random House NZ
9781869793593 (Paperback)
9781869793609 (Ebook)
Poetry finalists
The leaf-ride
Dinah Hawken
Victoria University Press
Rhian Gallagher
Auckland University Press
Anna Jackson
Auckland University Press
Illustrated Non-Fiction finalists
A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy
Gregory O'Brien
Auckland University Press
New Zealand Film - An Illustrated History
Diane Pivac, Frank Stark, and Lawrence McDonald
Te Papa Press
New Zealand's Native Trees
John Dawson and Rob Lucas
Craig Potton Publishing
Playing with Fire: Auckland Studio Potters Society Turns 50
Peter Lange and Stuart Newby
Auckland Studio Potters Society– in conjunction with the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery (CNZARD)
Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks
Awhina Tamarapa
Te Papa Press
General Non-Fiction finalists
Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas
Anne Salmond
Penguin Group (NZ)
9780670075560 (Hardback)
9781869794750 (Ebook)
The Broken Book
Fiona Farrell
Auckland University Press
The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso
Peter Wells
Vintage, Random House NZ
9781869794743 (Hardback)
9781869794750 (Ebook)
So Brilliantly Clever: Parker, Hulme and the Murder That Shocked the World
Peter Graham
Awa Press
Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator
Joan Druett
Random House NZ
9781869793869 (Hardback)
9781869797133 (Paperback)
People’s Choice Award
Voting opens today for the nation’s favourite book. Nominations can be made from this year’s finalist books on-line at The 2012 finalist book with the most votes will be honoured with the much-coveted People’s Choice Award.
In addition to individual category winners, and a People’s Choice Award, there will be a Māori Language Award winner and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 1 August 2012.
The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner will receive $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000. The Māori Language Award winner will receive $10,000 and the People’s Choice Award winner $5,000.

1 comment:

Michelle Elvy said...

Just got to this tonight, Mary. Glad to see all this good stuff. WOW! Thank you for posting here.