Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New book award named after esteemed historian

A new book prize – The Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction - will be presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards this year.

The award, named in honour of the late historian, Dame Judith Binney, brings the total of Best First Book awards being presented to four, the other three being The Jessie Mackay Award for Poetry, The Hubert Church Award for Fiction and The E H McCormick Award for General Non-Fiction.

The new award is inaugurated in the same year that Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History, written by Judith Binney, Atholl Anderson and Aroha Harris, is a finalist in the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Illustrated Non-Fiction open category.

Judith Binney’s literary executor, Bridget Williams, is particularly delighted that this award acknowledges a ‘best first book’, as Judith Binney’s contribution to the writing of New Zealand history began in her twenties with a ground-breaking book – The Legacy of Guilt: A Life of Thomas Kendall (1968) – that went on to win the F. P. Wilson Award for historical writing. 

“To date there has only been one Best First Book award for non-fiction,” says New Zealand Book Awards Trust chair Nicola Legat. “We felt that it was high time that two non-fiction writers of first books had the chance to win a prize, given that there are two non-fiction categories in the open awards. Naming it for Dame Judith Binney will each year connect a writer to a great and powerful legacy.”

Judith Binney’s other books include: Mihaia: The Prophet Rua Kenana and His Community at Maungapohatu (with Gillian Chaplin and Craig Wallace); Nga Morehu: The Survivors (with Gillian Chaplin); Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, winner of the Montana New Zealand Book of the Year Award; The Shaping of History: Essays from the New Zealand Journal of History; Encircled Lands: Te Urewera 1820–1921, winner of the NZ Post Book of the Year Award, and Stories Without End: Essays 1975–2010.

In her last years, Dame Judith, who died in 2011, was Professor Emeritus of the University of Auckland, where she had taught for several decades. She was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2006, and honoured with the Prime Minister’s Award the same year. In 2009 Dame Judith was acknowledged by Ngai Tuhoe, when the name Te Tomairangi o te Aroha was bestowed at the Urewera launch of Encircled Lands.  She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of Humanities.

The winner of the Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction will be announced  with all the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards winners at a ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday 10 May at 7.00pm.

For more information and for tickets to the event go here: http://www.writersfestival.co.nz/programmes/event/ockham-new-zealand-book-awards/8011/

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