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New Zealand Book Month: Winning Writers Revealed

New Zealand Book Month: Winning Writers Revealed

To celebrate the launch of New Zealand’s first ever Book Month 30,000 copies of an anthology of six pieces of new writing called The Six Pack have been published.

An inaugural NZ Book Month competition led to the selection of the six winning pieces in the anthology. The winning authors are: renowned NZ poet Brian Turner, playwright Briar Grace-Smith, author Kingi McKinnon, landscape architect and journalist Philippa Swan, young writer Henry Feltham and 15-year-old high school student Phoebe Wright (profiles below). Several will be present to receive their $5,000 prize each at the launches of NZ Book Month in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Monday 18 September.

The author’s identities were kept secret as their entries were judged by a public online poll and a panel of judges including CEO of John Fairfax Holdings Ltd, David Kirk, broadcaster Maggie Barry, bookseller Tom Beran, author Sarah-Kate Lynch and current affairs host John Campbell.

David Kirk believes that, "Sporting success has always played a big part in defining what it is to be a New Zealander, and still does. But just as important is the contribution our writers make to our national life. They stir our feelings and imagination and they make us think.”

Three complimentary copies of The Six Pack have been donated to every secondary school and public library in the country, and it will be for sale at all good bookstores for only $6 during the month.

Continued Over

The Project Director of NZ Book Month, Phil Twyford says, “We’re thrilled with the fact that The Six Pack features such a range of writers of diverse ages and backgrounds. Each writer really deserves their place in this anthology. It’s a steal at only $6, so why not give this book to friends and family and introduce new readers to NZ fiction.”

NZ Book Month, from September 18th to October 15th 2006, is a national celebration of NZ books and NZ writers. It is supported by booksellers, publishers, writers, librarians and book lovers of all descriptions and is inspired by the exceptional literary talent found in Aotearoa. See to explore how NZ Book Month has something for everyone.


Phoebe Wright | From: Christchurch | Story: Chasing Fireflies
Phoebe Wright was born in Christchurch in 1990. She started writing for a class assignment in Year 100 and found herself unable to stop. She has enjoyed some success while at Burnside High School, winning the Peter Smart Writing Competition and having short stories published in the Re-draft series for young writers. Inspiration for her writing comes from a fascination and love for the absurdity of the human condition, and from a memorable four months travelling around Europe in a cramped campervan. Her other interests include reading, painting and cacti, and she has shared her life with several generations of pet rats.

Brian Turner | From: Central Otago | Poems: The Great Where Are We
Brian Turner has been publishing poems since the 1960s. He has published best-selling sports biographies (with Colin Meads, Josh Kronfeld, Anton Oliver and his brother Glenn Turner), and his other books include the autobiographical Somebodies and Nobodies: Growing up in an Extraordinary Sporting Family, Timeless Land (with Graham Sydney and Owen Marshall) and numerous collections of poetry, the most recent being Footfall, which was short-listed for the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Turner won the 1978 Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. In 1984 he was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and in 1997 he was Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury. From 2003 to 2005, Turner was the Te Mata Estate Poet Laureate. Turner was born in Dunedin in 1944 and now lives in Oturehua, Central Otago.

Henry Feltham | From: Whakatane | Story: Lung
Henry Feltham was born in 1979 in a hospital that is now an apartment block. His first twenty years featured loud noises, mayonnaise and the persistent smell of chlorine, but were otherwise a blur. In this new century he is exploring rural New Zealand. He spends the mornings writing and the afternoons devising a series of feeble distractions. Much to his surprise, he is married.

Kingi McKinnon | From: Rotorua | Story: Maiki
Kingi McKinnon was born in Auckland and at the age of seven moved back to the Waikato. Severe illness forced McKinnon to leave school at fifteen, after which he worked on his father’s farm. Since then he has held many jobs, including truck driving, construction work and coal mining. While in plaster and recovering from an ankle injury, McKinnon began to write for children. He is a part-time tutor in creative writing at Waiariki Polytechnic. He has contributed to several anthologies and is published in Australia, England and Germany. McKinnon has written four novels, The Friday Frights, Whitebait Fritters, When the Kehua Calls and Tales from the Swamp. In 1906 Whitebait Fritters was short-listed for the AIM Children’s Book Award and in 2003 When the Kehua Calls was short-listed for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award.


Briar Grace-Smith | From: Wellington | Story: Te Manawa
Briar Grace-Smith is an award-winning writer of plays, scripts and short stories. Her first major play, Nga Pou Wahine, earned her the1995 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, and Purapurawhetu won Best New Zealand Play at the 1997 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. In 2000 Grace-Smith received the Arts Foundation Laureate Award and Haruru Mai premiered at the International Festival of the Arts. Her first television play In a Fish Skin Suit premiered on TV3. In 2002 Grace-Smith was a finalist for the Prize in Modern Letters. Her work has been performed at festivals and conferences in Ireland and Sydney; her play Purapurawhetu toured Canada and Greece. In 2003 Grace-Smith was the Writer in Residence at Victoria University, and in 2006, 100 Cousins premiered in Auckland. She lives with her husband and children in Paekakariki, on the Kapiti Coast. Grace-Smith is affiliated to Nga Puhi and Ngati Wai iwi in the far north.

Philippa Swan | From: Wellington | Story: The Life Coach
Philippa Swan is a Wellington landscape architect and magazine columnist. ‘Life Coach’ is her first piece of published fiction. Swan studied geography at Otago University before gaining a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Melbourne. She has worked in local government and as a design tutor, and established her own landscape architecture practice. Swan began writing for magazines in 1995 and is a regular contributor to New Zealand Gardener. In 2001, her book Life (and Death) in a Small City Garden was published by Godwit. Swan has recently moved to the suburbs and is raising two children. Her link with the outside world is maintained by her columns for New Zealand Gardener and Cuisine. On fine days she likes to work in her garden. She enjoys growing gourmet vegetables and cooking, but what she enjoys most is writing.


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