Wednesday, June 01, 2011


I have had a dozen or so  comments by phone and e-mail about this list from people in the industry who do not want to be named for obvious reasons but here are comments from bookseller Carole Beu and myself which sum up what most of those who have contacted me are saying.

Anonymous Carole Beu said...

It is so disappointing that Lola by Elizabeth Smither and Gifted by Patrick Evans are not on the Fiction shortlist. We need to have FIVE fiction finalists, not three! Carole Beu, The Women's Bookshop.
10:26 AM

Blogger Bookman Beattie said...

Yes I totally agree regarding the need for 5 fiction finalists. Reducing the number to three was an appalling cock-up when the awards were reviewed. The organisers should admit they have made a colossal mistake and reinstate the number to five.
We have 10 non-fiction finalists and only three fiction finalists? How stupid is that?
And of course the title omitted that everyone is talking about is Craig Cliff's A Man Melting. It cleaned up tough international competition to win the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book and yet doesn't even get short-listed in our local awards?
What were the judges thinking about?
11:39 AM


Paul Shannon said...

Yes incredible and just shows the churlish nature of the local industry. Only 3 titles worthy enough! What about Charlotte Randell's Hokitika book and I suppose dear Lloyd will have his nose out of joint considering the abscence of Hand Me Down World.

Looks like Laurence Fearnley is going to get the gong after a few close calls.

Jeff Grigor said...

There is no way Hokitika Town by Charlotte Randell could be a finalist this year as it was published in February 2011.Only books published before December
31st 2010 are eligible for the 2011 awards.
It may well be a finalist next year.

Bookman Beattie said...

Charlotte Randall's book was published this year so will be considered by next's years judges.

Lloyd's absence is a surprise though. Perhaps that one stinker of a review in The Listener sank it?

Another thought though - Tim Wilson is a debut novelist who has gone straight to the finalist list…. So, how does Pip Adam win best first book as I seem to recall Mary McCallum went straight to the short-list three (?) years ago with The Blue and therefore there was no best first book award that year. Odd.

Fergus Barrowman said...

Tim is ineligible for best first book because years ago he got title page credit for the ghostwritten autobiography of CF Goldie.

I have reservations about the strictness of the criteria, because some deserving writers have been denied in the past, but this year they've produced a happy result.

Carl Nixon said...

I wanted to say how gobsmacked I was that Patrick Evan's brilliant novel Gifted wasn't shortlisted for the NZ Post Book Awards. I would've howled in disbelief if Gifted hadn't won the fiction category, but not to be even shortlisted? It makes a mockery of the whole judging process. Not to take anything away from the three other shortlisted novels but they aren't even in the same ball park as Gifted. I can only conclude one of two things; either the judges don't know their asses from other parts of their anatomy when it comes to literary writing or the shortlist has been compiled through consensus and compromises. Let's face it the only colour that a committee can ever agree to paint a roof is grey.

And for God's sake, let's get the shortlist back up to five books.

Terry said...

I think this list worthy and rather earnest, especially the fiction.