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Winners of Publishing Chance of a Lifetime Announced

17-12-2013


Winners of Publishing Chance of a Lifetime Announced.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) announces the winners of its inaugural E-Publishing prize offered with international publishing giant Kobo Writing Life.

Two new authors from Auckland and Waikato have won the publishing chance of a lifetime, with the inaugural 2014 Kobo/NZ Authors E-Publishing Prize which will see their books professionally published by the Kobo Writing Life platform.

Aucklander Fiona Sussman is fiction winner with Sentenced, a gritty novel about disaffected youth in the New Zealand urban underbelly. Judges described Sentenced as a gripping, thought provoking story about a tough subject.

Waikato’s Robin Sisley wins the non-fiction category with Eat the Wind about rescuing stallions from slaughter before the 1997 muster of the Kaimanawa wild horses. Judges commented that the manuscript stood out with lively writing which flowed naturally and a subject both exciting and surprising.

Eat the Wind is Sisley’s first attempt at writing a book. She set out to write an entertaining, informative story about the 80 Kaimanawa wild horses she adopted onto her Waikato farm. The story became a memoir of her life with horses and a variety of barnyard animals. “I was an idealistic and somewhat naïve ex-city girl and a latecomer to the rural world, and that of horses,” she says.

“Taking on wild stallions with very limited experience and with courage not being a strong point, I was faced with some major challenges. Having so many wild horses on the farm, twenty of them stallions, provided for some fairly hair-raising episodes.”

Sussman, who lives at Diary Flat, exchanged a career as a doctor for the writing life and a Master of Creating Writing degree. She has had a number of short stories broadcast on National Radio, and success in local and international writing competitions. In 2012 she was runner-up in The Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (fiction).

Growing up in a publisher's home in South Africa meant that Sussman fell in love with language and the written word at an early age in a house filled with manuscripts, books and colourful authors. “This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitised me to the issues of injustice and racial prejudice – experiences that would inform much of my writing.”

The results of on-line reader voting on writing samples of the 10 finalists coincided with the decision of judges, which means both Sussman and Sisley win a Kobo reader as well as fully professional editing and digital publication.

“The purpose of the award was to recognise excellence in creative writing as well as to create a launching pad for writers’ careers, and clearly these two manuscripts stood out,” says NZ Society of Authors President Kyle Mewburn. “We look forward to following their careers on the international platform which this prize can provide. It is a significant win and we congratulate these new writers.”

Kobo Writing Life operations manager Jodi White convened the judging panel.

“Kobo is proud and very delighted to be a part of this Publishing Prize, and are excited to offer these authors the opportunity to publish a professional book, at such a value that the author probably could not afford to do on their own. Kobo’s panel of judges really enjoyed this and having the opportunity to be part of kick-starting an author’s career is truly something we value and believe in.

“We cannot wait to start working with the authors.”

Ten judges at Kobo in Canada reviewed all 132 submissions and chose the top five in each category based on:
• overall excellence of the writing
• understanding of the story they were telling
• passion
• interpretation.

ENDS

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