Winners of 2021 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement and recipient of Michael King Writer’s Fellowship honoured at Premier House

22 Jun 2022

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NEWS

The Prime Minister stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the four awards winners, in front of the bay window at Premier House. Winners are holding their certificates. All are smiling at the camera.
L-R: Anne Kennedy, David Hill, Dr Monty Soutar, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Dame Claudia Josepha Orange.

Yesterday, Anne Kennedy, Dame Claudia Josepha Orange, David Hill and Dr Monty Soutar were honoured by Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, at Premier House.

Each year, the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement, organised by Creative New Zealand, celebrate writers from Aotearoa who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Every two years, the Michael King Writer’s Fellowship winner is also honoured at the ceremony.  

“This event is a highlight of my year,” Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern said.  

“When I look across the breadth of writers we have here today, I see a common theme – that for a number of decades you have worked tirelessly to bring important stories, history, and conversations to the fore through each of your works. You are not only writers; you are also often curators, you are mentors, you are teachers, you are advisors - and in my mind, you are furthering us along a journey that needs to be taken as a nation. 

 To each of you – thank you for the legacy you have left us.” 

On Wednesday (22 June), the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Creative New Zealand staff, the recipients and their whānau gathered at Premier House for an intimate, celebratory lunch event.  

Anne, Dame Claudia, David and Dr Monty were presented with certificates to acknowledge their contribution to New Zealand literature: 

  • Poetry: Anne Kennedy – an award-winning poet, fiction writer, screenplay editor and teacher. 
  • Non-fiction: Dame Claudia Josepha Orange PhD OBE DNZM – one of New Zealand’s most distinguished historians and an award-winning author best known for her 1987 book The Treaty of Waitangi. 
  • Fiction: David Hill MNZM – an award-winning writer and teacher, renowned for his young adult fiction. 
  • Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship: Dr Monty Soutar ONZM (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) 

Each winner of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement was awarded $60,000. 

Dr Soutar received $100,000 towards the completion of Kāwai – a saga from the uttermost end of the Earth, a trilogy of historical novels that address the impact of colonisation in Aotearoa, each told from a Māori perspective. 

In-lieu of an in-person event, a live, online panel, hosted by Paul Diamond, took place on 16 November 2021. 

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website