Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Montana New Zealand Book Awards Fiction Finalist Makes History
- University presses dominate the shortlists

Debut novelist, Eleanor Catton is a finalist in this year’s Montana New Zealand Book Awards for her book, The Rehearsal; a work that has launched her onto the international stage, being snapped up by publishers in the US and UK.
Announced today, Catton is one of five fiction finalists, a category described as showing “variety and sophistication” by 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges’ convenor, Dr. Mark Williams. It also includes Kate De Goldi’s The 10PM Question. Already the Book of the Year at this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards, this age-defying book’s Montana shortlisting makes history as the first to be simultaneously selected for both the children’s and adult’s national awards.

“The fiction finalists take us inside the land of teenage anxieties and excitations, a world where emotion is physical and sex is as ubiquitous as thought, and where adult codes cannot overwhelm the force of desire. We even enter the worlds of science and political correctness.
“Last year's publishing crop was rich and various. We enjoyed lavish books on food, domestic architecture, gardening and the arts; challenging fiction and poetry; gripping biography and impressive works of history. All are evidence that the literary culture of this country is not about to roll over and die in the face of hard economic times,”
says Dr Williams.

This year’s Poetry category finalists are also stand-outs.
Something significantly new has been achieved in poetic practice in this country. This year produced collections of individual poems and sequences that will stay in the minds of readers.” The judging panel, on which Williams is joined by novelist and reviewer, Jane Westaway and journalist and critic, Margo White, commented that finalist books across all categories represent the culmination of a period of cultural self-awareness and broadening.

The full list of finalists in the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards by category are:
The Crocus Hour
by Charlotte Randall (Penguin Group New Zealand).
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press).
The 10PM Question by Kate De Goldi (Longacre Press).
Acid Song by Bernard Beckett (Longacre Press).
Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins (Allen & Unwin).
Get Some
by Sonja Yelich (Auckland University Press).
The Lakes of Mars by Chris Orsman (Auckland University Press).
The Rocky Shore by Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press).
Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life
by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press).
The Love School: Personal Essays by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press).
Heaphy by Iain Sharp (Auckland University Press).

A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century
edited by Ian Graham (Geological Society of New Zealand).
Into the Wider World: A Back Country Miscellany by Brian Turner (Random House New Zealand).
Albatross: Their world, Their Ways by Tui De Roy and Mark Jones (David Bateman Ltd).
Mates & Lovers: A Gay History of New Zealand
by Chris Brickell (Random House New Zealand).
First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking by David Veart (Auckland University Press).
Buying the Land, Selling the Land by Richard Boast (Victoria University Press).
Peter Peryer: Photographer
by Peter Simpson with photos by Peter Peryer (Auckland University Press).
Certain Words Drawn by John Reynolds (Random House New Zealand).
Len Castle: Making the Molecules Dance by Len Castle (Lopdell House Gallery).

Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture:
The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History by Helen Leach (Otago University Press).
Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston (Penguin Group New Zealand).
Art Icons of New Zealand: Lines in the Sand by Oliver Stead (David Bateman Ltd).

Reference and Anthology:
The Painted Garden in New Zealand Art
by Christopher Johnstone (Random House New Zealand).
The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume 5: 1922 edited by Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott (Oxford University Press).
Collected Poems 1951–2006 by CK Stead (Auckland University Press).

The winner in each category receives a prize of $5,000. Each category winner is eligible for the Montana Medal for Non-fiction or the Montana Medal for Poetry or Fiction, both of which carry a prize of $10,000.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards Finalists are:
The Year of the Shanghai Shark
by Mo Zhi Hong (Penguin Group New Zealand).
Misconduct by Bridget van der Zijpp (Victoria University Press).
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press).

Everything Talks by Sam Sampson (Auckland University Press).
The Propaganda Poster Girl by Amy Brown (Victoria University Press).
The World’s Fastest Flower by Charlotte Simmonds (Victoria University Press).
First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking
by David Veart (Auckland University Press).
Mates & Lovers: A Gay History of New Zealand by Chris Brickell (Random House New Zealand).
Nga Tama Toa, The Price of Citizenship – C Company 28 (Māori) Battalion 1939–1945 by Monty Soutar (David Bateman Ltd).

Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner receives $2,500.

The principal sponsors of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards are Montana and Creative New Zealand. The awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and supported by Book Publishers Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.
The winner of the poetry category will be announced on Montana Poetry Day on Friday 24 July 2009.
All other winners will be announced at a gala dinner to be held at the Auckland Museum on Monday 27 July 2009.
And here is the NZ Herald's report from this morning's paper.

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