Wednesday, August 01, 2007
MONTANA CHIEF JUDGE'S OPENING REMARKS
Many thanks to Paul Millar, Chair of the Montana NZ Book Awards judging panel for making available his opening remarks which are reproduced here for your interest:
The best books in this year’s awards reveal us to ourselves, add to the record of our individual and collective achievements, and contribute something of great worth to our future. They speak to almost every facet of our lives—art, fauna, flora, food, music, history, industry and politics are just a few of many subjects covered by this year’s entries.
Not long ago the doomsayers of the digital age predicted the demise of the book. We salute the New Zealand publishing industry for answering them in the best way possible; by producing year-by-year more books, better books, and bigger books. We don’t believe any screen will ever replace the sensory pleasures of a weighty book, the anticipation of turning the first page, or the heady aroma of a physical library of accumulated wisdom.
As Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s great philosopher, Giles, so wisely stated, ‘Knowledge is meant to be smelly.’
We wish to thank the New Zealand publishing industry and book trade for the tremendous pleasure its product provides.
Judging has felt at times a thankless task, but these superb books have been, in the end, great compensation.
Particular congratulations to those publishers who have defied the risks to produce works of extraordinary beauty like New Zealand a Natural World Revealed, Extinct Birds of New Zealand, Julia Morison: a loop around a loop, Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand and Stitch: Contemporary New Zealand Textile Artists.
Our plaudits to all the designers, editors, artists and other talented people involved in the production process.
And, most importantly, congratulations to every author who bravely launched the product of much private labour and personal sacrifice for public scrutiny.Thank you Montana Wines for your vital and enduring commitment to these awards.
And thank you Booksellers New Zealand for your highly professional administration of the process.