Charlotte Grimshaw has proven that literary talent runs in families, by winning the Montana Medal for fiction or poetry for her short story collection, Opportunity.
The daughter of literary great, CK Stead, Charlotte Grimshaw’s winning book is an absorbing series of stories delving into a diverse range of lives which are all interlinked.
The award was accepted by her publisher, Harriet Allan at a gala awards ceremony held in Wellington’s Town Hall tonight. Charlotte Grimshaw is currently overseas.
She said, via her publisher, that she was pleased Opportunity had done well.
‘It’s a book centred on New Zealand, and it’s all about our New Zealand stories. Each story is written in the first person, and part of the point of the book is to describe and convey the unique New Zealand voice.’
This year’s Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges’, Lynn Freeman, David Elworthy and Tim Corbaliss said Opportunity was a clear winner for the breadth and ambition of its design, the layers of its meaning, and the multiplicity of reading experiences it affords.
‘By turns touching, funny, dark, and redemptive, this is a book for reading through then re-reading in a different order, for following clues, for setting aside and thinking about, and for getting lost in.’
Janet Hunt has won the 2008 Montana Medal for Non-fiction for a book that evokes both national celebration and sorrow; the story of our wetlands.
Wetlands of New Zealand – A Bitter-Sweet Story, written over many years and designed by the author herself, is a stunning and touching insight into these beautiful (and broken) eco-systems and their inhabitants.
Judges’ convenor, Lynn Freeman said while all the category winning titles exemplified excellence in their fields, their decision to name the overall Non-fiction winner was made in a heartbeat.
‘The very best Non-fiction is a delicate balance of facts and research, and a sense of the writer and their passion for their subject. When the story told also brings to our attention as a nation, something significant that has been overlooked, we really can’t ask for more.
‘Janet Hunt’s Wetlands of New Zealand has achieved all of these things, and many readers, we are sure, will feel galvanised to explore these revealed mysteries for themselves.’
The complete list of 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is as follows:
Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry winner and Fiction category winner:
Opportunity by Charlotte Grimshaw (Random House)
Fiction runner-up: Edwin & Matilda by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Group (NZ))
Poetry winner: Cold Snack by Janet Charman (Auckland University Press)
Montana Medal for Non-Fiction winner and Environment category winner:
Wetlands of New Zealand – A bitter-sweet story by Janet Hunt (Random House NZ)
Biography winner: The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor by Judy Siers (Millwood Heritage Productions Ltd)
History winner: Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka Volume II: Te Ara Hou – The New Society by Hilary and John Mitchell (Huia Publishers)
Reference and Anthology winner: A Nest of Singing Birds: 100 years of the New Zealand School Journal by Gregory O’Brien (Learning Media Ltd)
Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture winner: Mau Moko: The World of Māori Tattoo by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku with Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua and Rolinda Karapu (Penguin Group (NZ))
Illustrative winner: Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning by Jennifer Hay, with Ron Brownson, Chris Knox and Laurence Aberhart, designed by Aaron Beehre (Christchurch Art Gallery)
Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000. The winners of the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry (formerly called the Deutz prize) and the Montana Medal for Non fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000. The runner-up in the Fiction category received $2,500. The Readers’ Choice Award carries a monetary prize worth $1,000.
Māori Language Prize announced at Montana New Zealand Book Awards
A short story collection written in Te Reo Māori made history this year by winning the inaugural Māori Language Prize at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Editors Piripi Walker and Huriana Raven were presented with the $5,000 prize for their book Te Tū a Te Toka: He Ieretanga nō ngā Tai e Whā.
The judge of the award, Mr. Hone Apanui, says the winning book is ‘especially notable is the use of iwi vernacular, the keen observation and the turn of phrase, which rings clear and true in every piece of writing. How similar experiences can be told in a range of voices and appear fresh each time is remarkable.’
New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards
The Best First Book awards for Non-fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.
The NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction goes to The Blue by Mary McCallum (Penguin Group (NZ))
The Blue also wins this years Reader’s Choice Award.
Ms Freeman says this book is such an accomplished piece of writing that it has also earned a place in the Fiction category shortlist this year.
‘We only rarely find a first-time novelist who can write with such precision, maturity and real emotional insight.’
Jessica Le Bas wins the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for her collection, Incognito (Auckland University Press).
‘Incognito is a book whose poems are sensitive to rhythm as well as the play of words, and letters, on the page. Le Bas is willing to employ a range of forms and acknowledged influences to match the wide-ranging interest of her subject matter, and to allow a range of voices to speak through her work,’ says Ms Freeman.
The NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction goes to The Great Sacred Forest of Tāne – Te Wao Tapu Nui a Tane: A Natural Pre-History of Aotearoa New Zealand by Alan Clarke (Reed Publishing).
‘This study of the historical uses of New Zealand’s native flora is the culmination, one suspects, of a life’s work and deserves the highest praise,’ says Ms Freeman.
Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner receives $2,500.