8 Jun 2012
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A diverse and exciting range of books make up the finalists for the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
The finalists – selected from 160 entries - include a biography of Captain William Bligh, explorations of New Zealand native trees, pottery and cloaks, and a detailed re-examination of one of New Zealand’s most shocking murders – the Parker and Hulme case.
That crime previously inspired one of New Zealand’s best regarded films – Heavenly Creatures – a movie which features in another of this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists, a history of New Zealand film.
The judges unanimously chose five finalists in the both general and illustrated non-fiction categories.“The non-fiction categories feature writers who are working at the peak of their craft, finding new, original ways in which to portray New Zealand in print,” said Chris Bourke, convenor of the New Zealand Post Book Awards judging panel.
However, due to the strength of this year’s entries, the judges found it very difficult to limit themselves to just the three finalists required in the fiction and poetry categories.
“Having all the categories restored to five finalists would more accurately represent the quality and breadth of New Zealand’s writing,” said Mr Bourke.
“The same diversity is present in the fiction and poetry - and should be reflected in the shortlists.”
The Chair of the Book Awards Governance Group, Sam Elworthy, said he appreciated the candour of the judging panel.
“We are committed to ensuring writers are best served with these awards and the reduction in fiction and poetry finalists was made after extensive consultation with the literary community. None the less, getting the right format for the country’s premier book awards is all-important. It is a challenge the Governance Group accept,” says Mr Elworthy.
He further commented that the Awards were under review and that exciting changes could be anticipated next year.
The 2012 judging panel is multi-award winning poet, writer, critic and journalist David Eggleton; writer, publisher, book designer and typesetter Mary Egan; poet, reviewer, writer and anthologist Paula Green; writer and Maori and Pacific literature specialist Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu) together with Mr Bourke, a journalist, producer and writer who won last year’s New Zealand Post Book of the Year prize.
The full list of 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists by category are:
From Under the Overcoat by Sue Orr (Vintage, Random House NZ)
Rangatira by Paula Morris (Penguin Group, NZ)
The Trouble With Fire by Fiona Kidman (Vintage, Random House NZ)
The leaf-ride by Dinah Hawken (Victoria University Press)
Shift by Rhian Gallagher (Auckland University Press)
Thicket by Anna Jackson (Auckland University Press)
General Non-fiction category:
Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas by Anne Salmond (Viking, Penguin Group, NZ)
The Broken Book by Fiona Farrell (Auckland University Press)
The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso by Peter Wells (Vintage, Random House NZ)
So Brilliantly Clever: Parker, Hulme and the Murder that Shocked the World by Peter Graham (Awa Press)
Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator by Joan Druett (Random House NZ)
A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy by Gregory O’Brien (Auckland University Press)
New Zealand Film - An Illustrated History by Diane Pivac with Frank Stark and Lawrence McDonald (Te Papa Press)
New Zealand’s Native Trees by John Dawson & Rob Lucas (Craig Potton Publishing)
Playing with Fire: Auckland Studio Potters Society Turns 50 by Peter Lange and Stuart Newby (Auckland Studio Potters Society– in conjunction with the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery (CNZARD))
Whatu Kākahu/Māori Cloaks by Awhina Tamarapa (Te Papa Press)
People’s Choice Award
Voting is now open for the nation’s favourite book. Nominations can be made from this year’s finalist books on-line at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz. The 2012 finalist book with the most votes will be honoured with the People’s Choice Award.
In addition to individual category winners, and a People’s Choice Award, there will be a Māori Language Award winner and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year winner announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 1 August 2012.
The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner will receive $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000. The Māori Language Award winner will receive $10,000 and the People’s Choice Award winner $5,000.
New Zealand Post’s sponsorship of the national book awards reflects their long-standing support for literacy and education. The New Zealand Post Book Awards 2012 are also funded by Creative New Zealand. The Awards are managed by Book Awards Governance Group, administered by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.