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New Zealand’s best books to shine under revamped awards

12 October 2012

New Zealand’s best books to shine under revamped awards

Changes to the New Zealand Post Book Awards announced from Frankfurt

A raft of changes to the New Zealand Post Book Awards will aim to take New Zealand’s most outstanding books out to the nation’s readers from 2013, organisers announced today.

Campbell Live host John Campbell has been appointed as Chief Judge of the awards which promote excellence and provide recognition for the best books published in New Zealand each year.

The Chair of the Book Awards Governance Group, Dr Sam Elworthy, announced the changes from Frankfurt today.

“New Zealand storytelling is on the world stage this week. We want to signal today that the New Zealand Post Book Awards will provide a big boost for New Zealand literature by identifying our best books and getting more people reading our stories.”

From 2013 the public will be able to vote for any book authored and published in New Zealand within the eligible timeframe - not just the Award finalists - for the keenly contested People’s Choice Award.

And over the next two years the publication dates for eligible books will shift from the previous calendar year to the twelve months immediately prior to the awards.

The finalists will also change in 2013. There will be 20 finalists in total next year: four each in Fiction, Poetry, Illustrated Non-fiction and General Non-fiction, and — in a new addition — four finalists in the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice award.

The judges, led by Chief Judge John Campbell, will face the extraordinary and enviable task of reading approximately 200 of the country’s best books to pick the winners. From next year judges will be free to decide for themselves how to select the best books in each category as well as the coveted New Zealand Post Book of the Year.

Expressions of interest for judging positions - four for the New Zealand Post Book Awards and two for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards will open online from 12 October. Writer Bernard Beckett will lead judging of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards as Chief Judge in 2013.

Dr Elworthy said today’s changes will further enhance the value of the New Zealand Post Book Awards to all readers.

“Thanks to the enthusiasm of New Zealand Post to get this country reading, the New Zealand Post Book Awards will get bigger and better each year. These changes will be great for authors, publishers, booksellers and most of all to the public who we know are keen to read our great New Zealand stories.”

As a result of the changes, readers will see the shortlisted books at events, online, in bookstores and libraries across the country, leading to a lively conversation over what are the best books to read.

For more information on the New Zealand Post Book Awards visit: www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz

Background information
Before 1996 there were two major New Zealand literary prizes, the New Zealand Book Awards (1973-1995) and Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards (1968-1993), which became the Montana Book Awards in 1994.

In 1996 the two awards merged to form the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (1996-2009). In 2010, the sponsorship of the awards was assumed by New Zealand Post.

The Booksellers’ Choice Award, sponsored by Nielsen, was previously part of the Booksellers New Zealand Industry Awards.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand.

ENDS

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