Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
All Blacks story shortlisted for prestigious Cross Book Awards in the UK
A unique account of the All Blacks story has been shortlisted for the
prestigious Cross Book Awards in the UK.
the Silver Fern —The Players Speak is the work of prominent
sports writer Lynn McConnell and SKY rugby commentator Tony Johnson, and
tells the history of the iconic team through the recollections of over
150 notable players, dating back to the late 1800s.
The book is a finalist in the rugby section of the Cross Awards, where it
is up against biographies of former Lions forwards Donal Lenihan and Paul
O’Connell, and is a contender for the overall award which also features
the life stories of Formula One star Damon Hill, footballers Joey Barton
and Ian Wright, and cricketer Jonathan Trott.
illustrious company”, says Tony Johnson, “we’re happy just to be featured
amongst those names.”
“We got some good reviews in the British press when it was released last
year, which can’t have hurt.”
The book was praised not only for the forthright contributions of the
modern day All Blacks, but as noted in The
Rugby Paper, owes much to the “prolific literary efforts of
the pioneer All Blacks, who were dab hands at writing books, newspaper
columns and letters”.
“The response of the players we approached was exceptional,” says
Johnson, and we were also fortunate to be able to draw on some fantastic
material in Taonga, the New Zealand Sound Archive, which included
interviews and talks by players dating back to the great 1905 Originals.
I think it was that very old material that gave us an extra dimension
compared to similar publications in the UK and Ireland.”
The book also revealed new versions of some of the more controversial
episodes from the 1972-73 tour, including the events leading up to the
banishment of All Black prop Keith Murdoch, and a letter received by
first-five Bob Burgess, while in troubled Belfast.
The letter was signed by prominent members of the IRA, and although there
were denials from the IRA when the book was published, Burgess has always
been convinced of its authenticity.
the Silver Fern — The Players Speak was commissioned and
published in the UK by Polaris Publishing, and published in New Zealand