Thursday, June 12, 2008


MONTANA NZ BOOK AWARDS
If you missed Kathryn Ryan's discussion with Linda Hederson, CEO of Booksellers NZ, and Bookman Beattie on Radio New Zealand National's Nine to Noon programme this morning you can listen to it until noon tomorrow (Friday) on this link.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

staunch job, G. And I'm glad you got around to saying that it wasn't just the stature of the omitted writers, but of the books. I think that there are, among the omissions, some weak books by good writers (and there's a somewhat weak book by a very good writer on the list, too). But there are also some extraordinary books left out. Which is why having a fifth book would have been better.

Anonymous said...

These judges have been running a talent-exclusion zone and I have my theories on that but I think it all starts with Diane Brown and these judges have taken the excitement out of the awards. It’s going to be a predictable snooze-fest with the plaudits handed to the worthy and not the challenging.

Philip Temple said...

That is a cowardly cheap shot from yet another 'Anonymous' to point the finger at Diane Brown over a storm in a teacup whipped up on a blog site that is little more than on-line talkback radio. As the fiction adviser, Diane read all Montana entries and provided an exhaustive (exhausting) report which culminated, as required, in her recommended long list. The choice of the shortlist titles, and the number of shortlist titles, was the responsibility of the judges alone. I would suggest that you vet out comments that anonymously impugn an individual's professional integrity.

Bookman Beattie said...

Interesting that author Philip Temple regards my blog as "little more than on-line talk back radio.Made me smile. Only three issues have really ever drawn any number of comments,two of them have been to do with the Montana NZ Book Awards, the other over the closing of Reed Publishing in NZ.
Most of the time, and I have posted nearly 3000 entries since starting in Oct 06, one never hears a peep out of anyone.

Philip Temple said...

Sorry, Graham, you are quite right. I should have written 'a blog that descends from time to time to the level of talkback radio'. Many of the anonymous comments around the issue of the current Montana fiction shortlist are strong evidence of that.

Keri Hulme said...

Anonimity is a great cloak...there has been one poster here I recognise from it's choice of words as trolling (or at least, flaming) on Leaf Salon.
Philip, I am sure that Diane did an honest job (and I personally know how frustrating it can be when judges totally ignore an advisor's recommendation - which is why I'll never be part of a Montana set-up again) but to say this site 'descends from time to time to the level of talkback radio" is totally wrong. A *lot* of people are upset about what is looked at as an egregious blunder on the part of the Montana judges by
a)not choosing a full-size short list
b)by being less than enthusiastic about ANZ fiction.
A majority of these people are involved in the game.
Most commentators to talkback radio are -ur- urgently moved by their predjudices-without-recourse-to-knowledge-filters...

Philip Temple said...

Keri - thanks for that. But the comment I referred to is archetypal talkback blurt: anonymous, uninformed and contains personal slur. One of the chief complaints from this blog site about the Montana fiction shortlist issue is that Booksellers are being less than open about the decision-making process. Yet it allows people to make comments here under cover. The debate would be ten times more useful if the people who had something to say put their names to it. It would concentrate the mind and the argument. No reputable media allow anonymous, or even pseudonymous,'letters to the editor'. If the site is to maintain its integrity, the 'Anonymous' button should be removed from the reply panel.

Keri Hulme said...

Philip - I agree with you over anonymity(and your comment about that paticular comment): I can see it would be difficult for - say, a small town bookseller?
but 'Bookseller, North Otago' (or something like that)
would be much preferable to the blank mask of Anon...

Bookman Beattie, do you have thoughts on this?

Bookman Beattie said...

My thanks to Keri Hulme and Philip Temple for their thoughtful points on whether or not annonymous comments should be accepted on my blog. I will give sereious thought to this matter over coming days and would welcome comments from others, for or against.
Sometimes people who post under anon then e-mail me separately and tell me they have done so. With publishers and authors it is often difficult for them as if they want to criticise,say,Creative NZ, then they may well be putting their future financial support at risk by so doing.

Hamish Keith said...

Bookman you hint at a climate of fear - upsetting CNZ for example - and you are right and isn't that one of the cultural problems we have - far too much cultural power in far too few places - we all of us need a bit more courage in confronting that, but I agree with Philip Temple - the anon button gives far too much cosy cover to personal attacks - you may recall I resigned from the SoA on that very issue when posters - clearly members - used it for personal abuse. Perhaps a name withheld compromise might do it and filter out abuse from genuine debate

Anonymous said...

frustrating thing about issues
like this is no-one ever seems able to say "we may have made
a mistake here for which we're sorry and we'll be reviewing
decisions in future ...". Why can't people ever just be
wrong?

fiona said...

Fully agree that comments should not be anonymous: an allied problem is the use of first names only - I've had a couple of phone calls from people who assume I'm the 'Fiona' who has been posting comments on this site over the past few days. It's irritating.If I voice an opinion here or anywhere else, it'll have my full name attached. Fiona Farrell

Helen said...

It was refreshing for me to read someone with Hamish Keith's stature write this:

"(there is) far too much cultural power in far too few places"

As a writer at the early stage in my career it often feels this way to me, but then I wonder if I am being paranoid or overly dramatic, so it's a comfort to read that some of the "big people" think the same - the literary scene in NZ is so very small it can seem like Heidi Klum says on Project Runway:

"Either you are In, or you are Out."

I wish the lit scene here was more encouraging, open, playful, multicultural, multi-dimensional and lively!

Oh and Graham - I really hate anonymous comments, it just encourages pettiness and cowardly behaviour. I'd like to see you ditch them. I don't allow them on my own blog.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Who cares if a comment is anonymous or not? Who is "helen" after all? Helen Clark? Helen of Troy? it's just silly to insist that people stick to these little rules. The point was to make a comment on the award nominations. It's usually very hard to sort out winners. But if that's the job, you do it. You don't just say "Oh I couldn't find anything good enough." You look harder. That's my two cents, as one who has to make some hard judging calls sometimes. -Louise Wareham Leonard

Anonymous said...

I'm with Hamish Keith on this. There is a problem in the fact that Booksellers NZ administrates the country's two major book awards, and doesn't make a very good job of it.
About the anons: there are plenty of thoughtful and scrupulous anons in these posts. Don't remove the anon button!

Helen said...

Louise-

If a commenter's name is in blue and underlined at the top of their comment it means it links you to their website, thereby you are able to see who they are, or at least who they are online...I hope that tip has added incrementally to your web-savvy.

I'm not Helen Clark, but I am Helen, hear me roar! rwwwr! :)

Graham asked for opinions on the anonymous comments thing, and I was just offering mine.

Thanks,
'Helen' aka "Helen" aka Helen

Diane Brown said...

Louise, I'm sorry but I do care when an anonymous blogger erroneously casts responsibility on me for the fiction short list. Philip's very clear point was that Graham 'vet out comments that anonymously impugn an individual's professional integrity.'

Diane Brown

Anonymous said...

let's face it a whole lot of shrapnel will fly round, some of it hitting unfortunately innocent targets, until the three judges or at least their chair steps forward and makes a public statement about their thinking. How hard is that? How Olympian are they? How scared?

CT said...

So, to summarise:

1. The judges are fools.
2. We demand the right to be judged by them.

(I think that's Epitectus.)

Geoff Cush said...

I can't understand why anyone would want to post anonymously. Apart from the obvious damage it does to the credibility of the poster, why would anyone go to all the trouble of writing something then not even get the benefit of recognition. In the absence of money, notoriety will do. Get on the bus anonymus.