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A Dazzling Shortlist Announced For Book Awards

12.00pm Friday 28 June 2002

A Dazzling Shortlist Announced For Prestigious Book Awards . . .

The judging of this year’s Montana New Zealand Book Awards has been a remarkable undertaking for the panel of judges (Witi Ihimaera - convenor, Lindsey Dawson and Bill Ralston) not least because of the record number of submissions received.

This year saw a marked increase in the number of poetry collections submitted. And, for the first time, history, biography, and reference and anthology works were judged within their own distinct categories (previously all three had been judged in one category). Another first this year was the selection of a book written entirely in Te Reo Maori as a finalist.

The format for the announcement of the awards has also changed this year. The finalists in all categories were announced on 31 May. The shortlists for the Deutz Medal for Fiction and the Montana Medal for Non Fiction are announced today. Three titles are selected from the five finalists as the shortlist for the Deutz Medal. The seven non-fiction category winners form the shortlist for the Montana Medal. The winners of both medals will be announced at a gala function on the evening of Saturday 20 July.

And the Shortlist for the Deutz Medal for Fiction is . . .

Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance by Lloyd Jones (Penguin Books)
Billie’s Kiss by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press)
Stonedogs by Craig Marriner (Vintage)

The Deutz Medal will be presented to one of these authors at the Awards Dinner. The two fiction runners-up will be awarded prizes of $2,500 each. The winner of the Deutz Medal for Fiction 2002 will receive a prize of $15,000

And the Shortlist for the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction is . . .

Piggy-back Moon by Hone Tuwhare (Godwit)
Written during his tenure as Te Mata Poet Laureate, Tuwhare’s poems are a celebration of a specific time, place and people – his home at Kaka Point, South Otago. The judges commented that Hone Tuwhare’s poems are “generous and stroppy, they cajole, fulminate, chortle” and that Piggy-back Moon offers a selection of “joyful, passionate, teasing, wily poems for all seasons”.

A City Possessed: The Christchurch Civic Creche Case by Lynley Hood (Longacre Press)
To the judges A City Possessed is an extraordinary book that cannot be ignored. Part history, part detective story, the judges believe that the real value of A City Possessed lies in the way that Lynley Hood has put news events into a much wider context so that the book speaks volumes about the nature of modern New Zealand society.

The Art of Tivaevae: Traditional Cook Islands Quilting by Lynnsay Rongokea with photography by John Daley (Godwit)
“This book,” said the judging panel, “is pure beauty from front to back, and reminds us of the infinite and precious variety encompassed by the word ‘culture’.” The judges felt that the simplicity and warmth of Lynnsay Rongokea’s writing combined with John Daley’s beautiful photographs made this a clear category winner.

Long Loop Home: A Memoir by Peter Wells (Vintage)
Accomplished novelist, short-story and film writer, Peter Wells has applied his considerable story-telling skills to the task of revealing his personal history. The judges considered his autobiography to be gutsy and compelling, and above all, honest.

Akekeia! Traditional Dance in Kiribati by Tony and Joan Whincup (Susan Barrie)
The judges have said that from the start Akekeia! forced itself into contention as a finalist and refused to release the attention of the judging panel. “Simply beautiful” is how the judges described the winner of this category, “a painstakingly constructed work of art in itself.”

Nga Pepeha a Nga Tipuna: The Sayings of the Ancestors by Hirini Moko Mead and Neil Grove (Victoria University Press)
The judges agreed that Nga Pepeha a nga Tipuna represents the highest standards of scholarship and an extraordinary sense of commitment. They believe that this remarkable book (which has taken over 20 years to complete) is so authoritative that it is likely to become the standard work of its kind.

Rolling Thunder: The Spirit of Karekare by Bob Harvey (Exisle Publishing)
The carefully woven tapestry of human and natural history created by Bob Harvey in Rolling Thunder enchanted the judges. They commented, “He writes with the intimacy that only a local can share and the stories are expertly crafted into a clever design that makes the most of the varied and relevant illustrations.”

Each non-fiction category winner will receive a prize of $5,000. The winner of the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction will take home an additional prize of $10,000.

Eruera Manuera by Te Onehou Phillis (Huia Publishers)
Eruera Manuera, a finalist in the Biography category, will receive an Honour Award to be presented at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards ceremony in Auckland on 20 July 2002. With this award the judges acknowledge the importance of this outstanding book, written entirely in Te Reo Maori, as it represents a landmark for both Maori writing and for New Zealand publishing.

Voting for the Reader’s Choice Award begins today. Readers get to have their say in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards by voting for their favourite book, selected from the 10 books shortlisted for the Deutz and Montana Medals. The winner of this award receives a distinctive bronze sculpture. For the first time this year, readers will be able to vote on-line at Voting closes 5pm Friday 12 July.

The principal sponsors of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards are Montana Wines and Creative New Zealand. The Awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and supported by the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Society of Authors.

Friday 12 July Montana Poetry Day
Saturday 20 July Winner of the Deutz Medal for Fiction announced
Winner of the Montana Medal for Non Fiction announced
New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book Awards announced
Reader’s Choice Award announced
Reviewer of the Year /Best Review Page winners announced

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