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Judging Panel Of Three Announced For Book Awards


The judging panel for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2003 was announced today. This year's panel of three judges share common backgrounds in writing and publishing. Brian Phillips, a stalwart of New Zealand's book publishing industry for over 30 years, is the convenor of the panel which includes multi-published authors Marilyn Waring and Tony Simpson.

Brian Phillips, who was convenor of the 1991 Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards, a forerunner to the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, commented that the breadth of publishing in New Zealand and the overall quality of book production had improved dramatically in the last 11 years.

"It will be a tough task for the judges to single out an individual book for the Montana Medal [for Non Fiction] as in some categories the quality of entries is outstanding," Phillips said of this year's entries. "The contest for the Deutz Medal [for Fiction] will be an absorbing one, with offerings from a number of our most experienced practitioners along with a strong showing from some of the rising stars of New Zealand literature."

The Montana New Zealand Book Awards are this country's most sought after of literary prizes, carrying a total of $68,000 in prize money. They celebrate excellence and quality in New Zealand writing and publishing across all areas of book publishing for the adult market. The Awards are judged across eight categories. The winners of the seven non-fiction categories vie for the coveted Montana Medal, won by Lynley Hood's A City Possessed in 2002. A longlist of five books from the fiction category contend for the Deutz Medal, won last year by new-comer Craig Marriner with his novel Stonedogs. Lynley Hood's A City Possessed, also won the 2002 Reader's Choice Award by a considerable margin.

For the first time this year the Montana New Zealand Book Awards called for submissions for a Maori Language Award, carrying a prize of $5,000. This Award recognises outstanding literary merit in books written in Te Reo Maori, and carries a prize of $5,000. No books have been submitted for this Award in 2003.


Brian Phillips has accumulated over 30 years of experience in the New Zealand publishing industry. As a former managing director for most of New Zealand's multi-national publishing companies during his career, he can't be accused of favouring a particular publisher when it comes to judging! He founded subsidiary companies in this country for Pan Books, Random House and is a former partner in the boutique publishing company, Godwit Publishing. Phillips is also co-author of Creative Poker, author of The 1998 Good Food Guide to Auckland and compiled First Past The Post - An Anthology of New Zealand Racing Stories. Recently returned from an assignment in Australia, Phillips is based in Auckland as a publishing consultant.

Marilyn Waring is currently Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Albany campus of Massey University. She has been member of the Council of Creative New Zealand for the past six years. She is the author of Women Politics and Power, the international bestseller Counting For Nothing, Three Masquerades, and In the Lifetime of a Goat. Waring has always loved reading, and is especially keen on Canadian fiction, and Zed Press non-fiction, but will read almost anything about anything if there is craft on the page.

Tony Simpson admits to an absolute and life-long fascination with words. "I've been collecting them all my life," he says, "and I find myself diving for the dictionary at least once a week to get the exact meaning of something." He is the author of 14 published books, and many of his articles and reviews from the last three decades are about New Zealand's social and political history. Simpson's book The Sugarbag Years was runner-up in the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards in 1974. His latest book is A Distant Feast. As a former senior advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Anderton, and now a private secretary to him as Minister for Economic Development, Simpson has been a close witness to some of the most momentous recent developments within our political system.


An advisor has been contracted to assist the judges in each category. This year's advisors include:

Fiction - Keri Hulme, a full-time writer for nearly 20 years. Hulme has won several substantial literary awards including the Booker Prize, and has judged numerous fiction competitions. She lives the quiet, good life on the West Coast.

Poetry - Paul Millar, a Senior Lecturer in Victoria University's School of English, Film and Theatre. He has published extensively on the poet James K. Baxter, his most recent books being the New Selected Poems and Spark to a Waiting Fuse, a study of Baxter's correspondence with Noel Ginn.

Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture - Jill Upchurch, who after a long bookselling career, is currently Books & More books category manager. Upchurch was one of two judges for the Review Page and Reviewer of the Year Awards last year.

Illustrative - Mavis Airey is a journalist with a lifelong involvement in the arts. During her career she has made programmes for Thames Television, written for Time magazine and the International Herald Tribune. Airey has also worked for various publications in New Zealand, including the Christchurch Press, where she was Arts and Food Editor. Her book, Savour the South, won Food Book of the Year in the 2001 Food Writers Awards.

History - Geoffrey Rice, Associate Professor in History at the University of Canterbury, foundation secretary of the NZ Historical Society, and a historian with a wide range of interests in European and NZ history. He is a contributor to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, general editor for the revised second edition of the Oxford History of New Zealand and author.

Reference & Anthology - Nelson Wattie, a freelance translator, writer, theatre critic and teacher. Wattie is also co-editor of The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature and revising editor of The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand English (a finalist in the 2002 Montana New Zealand Books Awards).

Biography - Peter Simpson, is Associate Professor of English at the University of Auckland. He has published extensively on New Zealand art and literature. He is the author of Ronald Hugh Morrieson and has edited 10 books including Look Back Harder: Critical Writings 1935-1984 by Allen Curnow.

Environment - Chris Maclean, a Wellington writer, photographer and publisher specialising in environmental history. His recent publications include Kapiti (winner of History & Biography category in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2000), and Tararua.

A Te Reo advisor will be appointed to work with the judges on books written in both English and Maori.


This year books submitted for the Awards will have been published between 1 April 2002 and 31 December 2002. This one-off nine-month period is to bring the awards process in line with the calendar year. In previous years the eligibility period covered 1 April to 31 March of the year of the Awards.


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.


Friday 6 June - Longlists are announced for the Deutz Medal for Fiction and Montana Medal for Non Fiction Friday 20 June - Shortlists are announced, in Auckland, for the Deutz Medal for Fiction and Montana Medal for Non Fiction Friday 11 July - Montana Poetry Day Tuesday 22 July - All winners are announced at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards ceremony - a gala evening in Christchurch

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