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.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
NZSA Canterbury Heritage Literary Awards
Last week NZSA Canterbury announced the winners,
runners -up and specially commended writers who had been selected by our judges
in the Heritage Literary Awards.The
competition was nation-wide and attracted entries from leading publishers and
writers throughout New Zealand. All the judges – Prof Tom Brooking (nonfiction
books), Fiona Farrell (novels), Owen Marshall (short prose) and Bernadette Hall
(poetry) spoke of the high standard of the entries and the difficulty of making
The most popular section was for non-fiction books
and there were nearly 40 of these -probably most of those that were published
during the past year. The fiction category attracted around 20 entries and
again they were of a high standard.
The function which was part of the Christchurch’s
Heritage Week celebration was held in St Michael’s Church, a magnificent wooden
building dating back to the 1870s and a very fitting venue.
Ngāi Tahu led by Sir Tipene O’Regan welcomed guests
from all over New Zealand – nearly 100 attended. They also rose to celebrate
the non-fiction winner Tāngāta Ngāi Tahu:
People of Ngāi Tahu.This is a selection
of biographical studies of various members of the iwi.
As judge Tom Brooking wrote:
This is a wonderful book. The fifty lively biographies
bring these tipuna vibrantly to life. The quality of the entries is consistent
throughout and credit must go to the highly qualified contributors and expert
editors. And what a fascinating cast occupies the pages of this exceptional
biographical dictionary. They range from well-known national figures through
soldiers and even singers who became popular in London, to local community
leaders little known outside their often remote localities.Despite their different lives in time and
place each ancestor shared in common deep knowledge of southern Māori culture and tradition and
fought long and hard to preserve it.
Helen Brown and Tarekei Norton,
eds. Tāngāta Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu.
Volume One. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi
Tahu/Bridget Williams Books, Wellington/Christchurch.
The runner-up in this
section was John Wilson with his study Local Lives: A History of Addington,
Addington Neighbourhood Association/Caxton
Again the judge said:
John Wilson’s excellent
suburban history of Addington is ... another welcome addition to our rather
sparse collection of studies of the places where the majority of people in
cities live - the suburb.
The fiction prize went to Fiona Kidman for her new
novel This Mortal Boy. Fiona Farrell who presented the award said
that ‘it has been a real privilege to read such a wonderful book.’This is the story of Albert Black, known as the 'jukebox killer'.He, was only twenty when he was convicted of
murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July
1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang
less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New
The runner us was David
Hill for his Young Adult novel Finding and there was a special
mention for Tree Worship by Jack Ross.
The short prose section
was won by Caroline Barron of Auckland for her entry ‘Linette and Montague’.
Owen Marshall said of the winner:
It has first person,
present tense narration and this together with the crisp, contemporary language
gives the piece pace and draws the reader in.The story is based on the narrator's search in Archives NZ, Auckland,
for evidence of a paternal grandfather, his relationship with Linette and their
illegitimate child.The factual basis
gives credibility and relevance, but the account of the search is enhanced by
elements of surmise and speculation.As
well imaginative touches add to the story, as when the narrator visualises the
court room scene in which Montague Stanaway is ordered to pay expenses related
to the birth of his child… A balanced, impressive short piece.
The runner up was Susan
Cambridge with Dea’s Story – a tale
of colonial society.
The poetry section was won by Lucy D’Ath:fight
/ flight.This suggested the
horrific rhythm of the Christchurch earthquakes andthe runner-up was Into the Auditby John Ewing
full list of prize winners is as follows:
The winner is:fight / flight by Lucy D’Ath
The runner-up is:Into the Audit by John Ewing
Form - prose
Linette and Montague by Caroline Barron
Dea's Story by Susan Cambridge
Helen Brown and Takerei
Norton, eds. Tāngāta
Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu. Volume One. Te Rūnanga o
Ngāi Tahu/Bridget Williams Books, Wellington/Christchurch, 2017. 352pp
John Wilson, Local
Lives: A History of Addington, Addington Neighbourhood Association/Caxton,
Christchurch, 2017. 320pp
John Newton, Hard Frost: Structures of Feeling in New
Zealand Literature 1908-1945, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2017.
Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla, He Reo Wāhine: Māori Women’s Voices from the
Nineteenth Century, Auckland University Press, 2017, 372pp
Grey Ryan and
Geoff Watson, Sport and the New
Zealanders: A History, Auckland University Press, 2018. 390 pp.
The winner is This
Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman. Penguin/ Random House
Runner up is Finding by David Hill Penguin/Random
Special mention: Tree
Worship by Jack Ross
would like to thank our sponsors: the Christchurch City Council, Scorpio Books
and Wily Publications Ltd.