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Winners in Non Fiction Book Awards Announced

Winners in Non Fiction Announced in premier NZ Book Awards

Eclectic line up of non fiction titles take out top prizes in non fiction categories in the prestigious contemporary book awards

The tension grows as the shortlist for New Zealand's most significant prize for contemporary literature, the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, is announced. From an initial longlist of 29 books judged in eight separate categories, the list has been whittled down to just 10. This is a shortlist of three fiction titles and the winning titles of the seven non fiction categories.

Convenor of the judging panel, Brian Phillips commented on the eve of the announcement that the depth and breadth of the entries received in this year's Montana New Zealand Book Awards bodes well for the future of publishing in New Zealand. "From multi-national companies to individual self-published volumes, the range of publishing now being undertaken in this country is extraordinary," Phillips said.

DEUTZ MEDAL FOR FICTION SHORTLIST The Hopeful Traveller by Fiona Farrell (Vintage) The Shag Incident by Stephanie Johnson (Vintage) When Gravity Snaps by Owen Marshall (Vintage) The winner of the Deutz Medal will receive a prize of $15,000 while the two runners up will be awarded prizes of $2,500 each at the Awards ceremony on Tuesday 22 July.

MONTANA MEDAL FOR NON FICTION SHORTLIST The winners of the non fiction categories comprise the shortlist for the Montana Medal. Each category winner will receive a prize of $5,000, while the winner of the Montana Medal will take home an additional prize of $10,000. The winners of the non fiction categories are:

Biography Category: A Sort of Conscience: The Wakefields by Philip Temple (Auckland University Press) New Zealand has a rich tradition of publishing high quality biographies and this year was no exception with a number of outstanding volumes vying for consideration. Of A Sort of Conscience, the judges said "the sheer professionalism involved in managing such a huge cast of characters and so many fields of endeavours is very impressive. Impeccably researched, elegantly written, with the page-turning skills of the novelist."

Environment Category: Te Araroa: The New Zealand Trail by Geoff Chapple (Random House NZ) This year's entries for this category comprised very different yet significant books. The judges thought Chapple's eye for detail, his descriptive flair, his sense of humour and understanding of others turned a long walk into an highly readable, epic adventure.

History Category: No Idle Rich: The Wealthy in Canterbury & Otago 1840-1914 by Jim McAloon (University of Otago Press) In this category, the judges were enjoined to reward books which enhance our understanding of people in society, their history, beliefs, arts and language and achievements. No Idle Rich was, in the eyes of the judging panel, academic history at its very best - a well written book with sound documentary research.

Illustrative Category: Len Castle: Potter by Nancy Pel and Len Castle (Ron Sang Publications) "From the moment you pick up Len Castle: Potter, you know you have something special in your hands," said the judges. "The excellent quality of the colour reproduction allows justice to be done to the artworks illustrated while the text is illuminating, both personally and artistically while written in a style accessible to the general public. It is a work of enduring merit."

Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture Category: Wine Atlas of New Zealand by Michael Cooper (Hodder Moa Beckett) The four books longlisted in this category stood out by virtue of their production, their knowledge, their writing and their general appeal. However, with the Wine Atlas of New Zealand the production values are truly first class and the information contained within is knowledgeable and comprehensive.

Poetry Category: Playing God by Glenn Colquhoun (Steele Roberts) "Colquhoun's poetry is fresh and very original. His strength is in the startling nature of his imagery and metaphor and his quirky take on things that might otherwise seem so commonplace," said the judges.

Reference and Anthology Category: Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts & Mike Grimshaw (Godwit) The judging criteria for this category included sound documentary research and/or creative insight. In this difficult category to assess, Spirit in a Strange Land was one of those surprise books. The judges observed that [New Zealanders] "don't usually think of ourselves as a spiritual people. Number eight fencing wire is more our style. Except that, as this book shows, we don't entirely fit our own stereotype."

The winners of the Deutz Medal and the Montana Medal will be announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony in Christchurch on Tuesday 22 July. The coveted Reader's Choice Award will also be presented at this time. This is where New Zealand book-lovers get to vote for their favourite book in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, selecting from the 10 books shortlisted in the Awards. Voting begins today and closes at 5pm on Friday 11 July. The winner of this Award will receive a bronze trophy crafted by Rolly Munro.

THE SPONSORS: The principal sponsors of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards are Montana Wines Ltd 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.

IMPORTANT DATES: Friday 11 July: Montana Poetry Day Tuesday 22 July:Shortlist Authors Lunchtime Event at the Christchurch Arts Festival Tuesday 22 July:All winners are announced at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards ceremony, at a gala dinner in Christchurch

- Shortlist author lunchtime event and Awards Dinner presented in association with the Christchurch Arts Festival

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