Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement

Each year the Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement recognise notable literary achievement by New Zealand writers who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. New Zealanders are invited to submit a nomination (see sections 1, 2 and 3 below).


Closing dates:

Find out who got funded recently

$60,000 in each category

7 Apr 2017

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Literature .

1. Check your eligibility

Who can be nominated

Nominees must:

  • be living New Zealand writers, ie New Zealand citizen or resident
  • be writers whose work has been acclaimed and acknowledged by their peers and the general public
  • not be a previous recipient of the award in any genre — see previous recipients.


Acclaim and acknowledgement of the writer may be shown by having:

  • written a body of work that has received national acclaim
  • received a major fellowship, residency, book award and/or international recognition
  • shown leadership in the New Zealand literary sector.

Who can make a nomination

  • Only New Zealand citizens, residents and organisations can nominate writers.
  • Writers can nominate themselves.


Nominees and those making nominations cannot be:

  • employees of Creative New Zealand
  • employees of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • members of the Arts Council.

2. See what's funded

Award categories

One award is made each year in each of three categories:

  • fiction: any genre including novels, short stories, plays, children’s fiction, and scriptwriting
  • poetry
  • non-fiction: any non-fiction discipline —the quality of the work is the main determinant.

3. Make an application

Downloads (application forms and criteria)

Register or Log in

To nominate a writer or writers you do not need to register or log in to our applications portal or download a nomination form.

How to nominate a writer

Email us with the name of the writer or writers you wish to nominate by 5pm on the closing date. You can nominate a maximum of one writer per category.

We recommend you also include a brief statement about why you have nominated the writer/s and which criteria they meet. 

Email address

4. Assessing applications

Nominations are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council for approval.

5. Notification of results


The recipients of the awards are contacted by phone and email once the Arts Council has approved the recommended recipients.

Public announcement

The awards are announced in a media release by Creative New Zealand.

We also list all recipients since the award's inauguration in 2003 on the web page Award winners: Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement.

Awards presentation 

The winners are invited to an official function in Wellington to receive the awards shortly after the public announcement.

6. On completion

7. Who to contact

Senior Arts Adviser — Literature
Malcolm Burgess
Phone: (04) 498 0707