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Five NZ Authors Rewarded For Literary Excellence

For immediate release
22 August 2005

Five New Zealand Authors Rewarded For Literary Excellence

Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust 'Unpublished Manuscript and Book Awards'

Five New Zealand authors were celebrated at the annual Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Unpublished Manuscript and Book Awards, held on Friday night in Auckland.

The awards, run in association with the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA), are in their second year and aim to recognise excellence in authorship for writing in the mind, body, spirit genre.

Whitianga author Andrew Crowe was presented with the $10,000 Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Unpublished Manuscript Award by Auckland City Councillor Richard Northey for his work entitled "The Dalai Lama Story".

Co--authors James McNeill and David Bell received the $10,000 Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Book Award from Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Margaret Wilson for their book "Spirit of Nature".

Publisher Bob Ross, convenor of judges, says he was impressed with the high quality of entries received in the book awards.

"The Ashton Wylie book awards are unique in their focus upon mind, body and spirit, and judging these awards was certainly a satisfying experience. Above all we were looking for excellence in all aspects of authorship which supports the Trust's mandate of helping people to become more loving, caring and fulfilled. All five award winners certainly fulfilled these requirements."

Andrew Crowe's manuscript "The Dalai Lama Story" was described by judges as a beautifully written, well constructed account of the Dalai Lama's life. The winning published book, "Spirit of Nature", by James McNeill and David Bell was described as a charming work that makes the traditional five Chinese elements relevant and practical today.

As a result of the high quality of books entered in the awards, the Trust introduced three Merit awards across both categories. Christchurch authors Brian Broom ("Meaning--full Disease") and Robyn M Speed ("Dimension's Doorway") received Merit awards for their respective works in the unpublished manuscript category, and Hilary Hudson from Waikanae achieved a Merit award in the published book category for "Earthly Farewell".

Judges for the awards included publisher Bob Ross, New Zealand author Richard Webster, Ashton Wylie trustee Adonia Wylie, and author, editor and manuscript assessor Stephen Stratford.

Liz Allen, Executive Director, New Zealand Society of Authors, says the standard of entries this year proves that while the mind, body and spirit genre is still relatively new in this country, there is a wealth of writing talent in New Zealand.

"The very generous book awards provided by the Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust formally recognises New Zealand authors in this genre, and provides them with the much needed support and encouragement they require to further their writing careers."

Ashton Wylie trustee, Adonia Wylie, says she has been delighted at response to the awards and says Ashton Wylie would be very proud to see the amount of talent in a literature genre that he was passionate about.

"The awards in Ashton's name have successfully proven that this is a growing area of New Zealand literature. The success last year's winners have had with their respective winning books is testament to this, and the Trust is proud to have been a part of their success."

The Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust, owners of Auckland's Hopetoun Alpha venue and the legacy of the late Ashton Wylie, was established in 2001 with the main intent of promoting more loving relationships. The Trust's Book Awards were established, in association with the New Zealand Society of Authors, to encourage the expansion of the mind, body and spirit literature genre in New Zealand.


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