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Winning Formula For 'Wild' Books

It's a first for the book world in New Zealand: the same authors, same series, same publisher, have been shortlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards three times in a row.

Wild Central, the third book in the 'wild' series by Dunedin authors Neville Peat and Brian Patrick, has been shortlisted in the environment category of this year's awards. The book, published by the University of Otago Press, explores the natural history of the unique Central Otago region.

The authors have hit on a winning concept with their series of regional natural history books. First in the series, Wild Dunedin, won the natural heritage category in the 1996 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and Wild Fiordland, second in the series, was shortlisted in the same category in 1997.

Wild Central was launched in Alexandra in November last year and has been selling steadily. "There is a real need for books that explore in some depth regional flora, fauna and natural habitats," says Neville Peat. "This 'wild' series not only extends New Zealanders' knowledge about their natural environment, but also reinforces their notions of identity and sense of belonging."

The books combine glossy colour photographs with up-to-date scientific information, and appeal to locals and visitors alike. University of Otago Press managing editor, Wendy Harrex, has been the third member of the 'wild' team, in charge of design and production. More books in the same series are planned.

Says Brian Patrick: "The publishers took our photographs and stories and created a cohesive and attractive product, and Central Otago is such a diverse and distinctive region. Both of these factors gave the book a good chance of being selected as a finalist."

Neville Peat is one of New Zealand's leading natural history writers, and Brian Patrick, an entomologist of international standing, is General Manager of Collections & Research at the Otago Museum.

WILD CENTRAL Discovering the Natural History of Central Otago Neville Peat & Brian Patrick paperback, 144 pages ISBN 1 877133 65 5 Published December 1999 $39.95

CONTACT For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact Philippa Jamieson University of Otago Press, PO Box 56, Dunedin tel 03 479 9094, fax 03 479 8385

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