A senior academic will lead the judging panel in the country’s most prestigious book awards this year.
This year’s judging panel say the field is rich with established and new writers and there is an especially large number of beautifully produced books to consider.
‘With around 215 books to read and 15 separate prizes to award, we have full reading schedules. We are advised by experts in each of the eight main categories: fiction, poetry, history, biography, reference and anthology, lifestyle and contemporary culture, illustrative, and environment…The judges’ responsibilities are collective and we shall all read and, together with our advisors, debate our judgments across the whole range of books submitted,’ says convenor, Mark Williams.
Professor Mark Williams has previously taught at the University of Tokyo and University of Canterbury. His publications on New Zealand and modern literature include Leaving the Highway: Six Contemporary New Zealand Novelists (Auckland University Press, 1990), Patrick White (Macmillan, 1993), and, with Jane Stafford, Māoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914 (Victoria University Press, 2006). He has edited or co-edited numerous anthologies and collections and is on the editorial boards of several international literary journals.
Margo White has worked on several magazines, including the NZ Listener, where she first worked as a feature writer before becoming the magazine’s Arts and Books Editor, and Metro magazine, where she was Senior Writer and Books Editor. She is currently the deputy editor of New Zealand Geographic and also writes in a freelance capacity for a range of publications. She lives in Auckland.
The 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards category advisors are:
· Fiction: Tina Shaw is a novelist, short story writer, editor and reviewer
· Poetry: Bernadette Hall is an award-winning poet, essayist, editor, reviewer and creative writing tutor.
· Biography: Philip Norman is a freelance composer, author and biography category winner (2007) in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
· Environment: Geoff Chapple is a writer, editor, former Montana New Zealand Book Awards judge and former winner of the award’s environment category.
· Reference and Anthology: Anna Rogers is a freelance book editor and writer.
· History: Tim Beaglehole Emeritus Professor, MA PhD. Chancellor, Victoria University and published writer.
Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture: Charmian Smith is feature writer and food and wine editor at the Otago Daily Times.
· Illustrative: Dr T L Rodney Wilson is recently retired director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and a former Montana New Zealand Book Awards judge.
· Te Reo Advisor: Hone Apanui is a widely respected Maori linguist, teacher and publisher.
This year’s finalists will be announced on Tuesday, 2 June.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Monday 27 July.
The winner of the poetry category will be announced on Montana Poetry Day, Friday 24 July.