28 Jul 2009
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Emily Perkins has won the 2009 Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry for her taut and chilling book, Novel About My Wife.
The work - published by Bloomsbury - is described by 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards Judges' Convenor, Dr Mark Williams as highly assured fiction by a writer working at the height of her powers.
'Novel About My Wife is sophisticated and urban, with characters that inhabit crabbed and threatened worlds. It registers the minute nuances of class, concealment and reserve in domestic English life.
'Perkins has in a sense re-colonised English literature. '
Wellington curator and writer, Jill Trevelyan has won the 2009 Montana Medal for Non-Fiction for a biography about one of our most celebrated artists: Rita Angus: An Artist's Life (Te Papa Press).
The Awards' judging panel, comprising English literature academic Dr Williams, journalist Margo White and novelist Jane Westaway, said Rita Angus: An Artist's Life is a book to use and treasure.
'Trevelyan's writing is elegant and lucid and the book's scholarship is exemplary.'
Philip Norman, the Awards Biography category advisor said Trevelyan's book helps establish Angus's rightful place as a principal figure in the history and development of New Zealand art.
Kate De Goldi's endearingly told tale of Frankie Parsons, The 10PM Question (Longacre Press) was the stand-out winner of this year's Reader's Choice Award.
The Awards were presented last night at a gala dinner ceremony at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The winners of the country's most prestigious awards for contemporary writing were chosen from more than 220 books submitted.
The complete list of 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is as follows:
Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry winner and Fiction category winner: Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins (Bloomsbury).
Fiction runners-up: The 10PM Question by Kate De Goldi (Longacre Press) and Acid Song by Bernard Beckett (Longacre Press).
Poetry category winner: The Rocky Shore by Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press).
Montana Medal for Non-Fiction winner and Biography category winner: Rita Angus: An Artist's Life by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press).
Environment category winner: A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century edited by Ian J. Graham (Geological Society of New Zealand).
History category winner: Buying the Land, Selling the Land by Richard Boast (Victoria University Press).
Reference and Anthology category winner: Collected Poems 1951-2006 by CK Stead (Auckland University Press).
Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture category winner: Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston (Penguin Group New Zealand).
Illustrative category winner: Len Castle: Making the Molecules Dance by Len Castle (Lopdell House Gallery).
Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000. The winners of the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry and the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000. The runners-up in the Fiction category received $2,500. The Readers' Choice Award carries a monetary prize of $1,000.
Maori Language Award
He Pataka Kupu te kai a te rangatira, the first-ever dictionary written entirely in te reo Maori, has won this year's Te Reo Maori Literary prize at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
Compiled by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo (the Maori Language Commission) and published by Penguin Group New Zealand, the dictionary that translates to 'A Storehouse of Words - the food of chiefs' contains some 24,000 head-words from the old world through to the idioms of modern Maori.
Te Reo Maori Literary Award Judge, Hone Apanui says He Pataka Kupu is a ground-breaking work that has a major role to play in the ongoing renaissance of te reo Maori.
'Never before have we had a dictionary conceived and delivered wholly in Maori.
'He Pataka is imbued with the vigour and spirit of today, while maintaining links to the past. I warmly congratulate the team at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo on an impressive and much-needed work.'
This is the second year in a row that a prize for a book written in te reo Maori has been made at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
The winner's of the te reo Maori Literature Award received a $5,000 prize.
New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards
The Best First Book Awards for Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.
The NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction goes to: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press).
'Catton's The Rehearsal is a world where emotion is physical and sex is as ubiquitous in thought as scepticism about adult codes. Catton's trick is to have made the discourses of adult concern about sex, abuse, success, family and ethics seem strange, alien languages, as they are to the young,' says Dr Williams.
Sam Sampson wins the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for his collection, Everything Talks (Auckland University Press).
The Awards' judging panel says the best poetry newcomer displays an uncompromising effort to make language work intensely.
'Sampson has succeeded magnificently in generating excitement and involvement in the reader.'
The NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction goes to Mates & Lovers: A History of Gay New Zealand by Chris Brickell (Godwit).
The Awards' judging panel says Brickell's winning book is a fascinating and pioneering exploration of a significant part of our social history.
'Mates and Lovers finds a balance between serious and popular history that does justice to both.'
Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner received $2,500.
Book Publishers Association (BPANZ) Reviewer and Review Page or Programme Awards
The BPANZ Review Awards recognise the importance of articulate, responsible, independent and informed criticism in maintaining a vital, healthy literary culture. The two judges for these awards in 2009 were literary festival co-ordinator, director of Hagley Writers' Institute, book critic and broadcaster, Morrin Rout, and editor, author and book critic, Stephen Stratford.
New Zealand Listener reviewer David Eggleton won the BPANZ Reviewer of the Year Award ahead of Sunday Star-Times reviewers and finalists, Helen Watson White and Clare McIntosh.
The judges said that David Eggleton's reviews were a joy to read 'he brings an impressive depth of knowledge to his unfailingly perceptive reviews, especially in the visual arts and poetry.'
A special acknowledgment was given to Iain Sharp's intelligence and wit in his Landfall reviews, and to Mick Ludden for his skill with short reviews in the Wairarapa Times-Age.
The BPANZ Reviewer of the Year received a $1,000 prize.
The overall winner of the BPANZ Best Review Page or Programme Award goes to the New Zealand Listener.
The judges said the best Listener reviews are mini-essays, "serious but never dull, the writing is consistently engaging and stylish", with a pleasing balance maintained between New Zealand and international books.
Special acknowledgements went to the Otago Daily Times and literary magazine Landfall.
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 the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.