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Join the hunt for the ‘Great Kiwi Classic’

Join the hunt for the ‘Great Kiwi Classic’

The Auckland Writers Festival and the New Zealand Book Council invite readers throughout the country to embark on a hunt for the ‘Great Kiwi Classic’.

Which book is more deserving of classic status: the twisted rural gothic of Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s The Scarecrow or the wildly popular detective fiction of Ngaio Marsh, considered a ‘Queen of Crime’? Should we give a nod to the internationally celebrated short stories of Katherine Mansfield or revere the bush yarns of Kiwi prankster Barry Crump? Is it too soon to call Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winner The Luminaries a classic, alongside Keri Hulme’s 1983 Booker Prize winner The Bone People? And is the Edmonds Cookery Book a classic in the same way that Margaret Mahy’s The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate is?

The Auckland Writers Festival and the New Zealand Book Council invite you to ponder these questions and together search for the ‘Great Kiwi Classic’. The quest to find the country’s greatest classic read for 2014 covers all genres, from fiction to non-fiction, children’s books to poetry – we just want to hear what your most loved classic read is and why.

We’re asking everyone – from fanatic readers of literature to those who can recite Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by heart – to help us decide which book deserves the supreme title in 2014. Your choice might be decades old or hot off the press. It could be celebrated or obscure. It might be a charming romantic romp or a piece of social commentary so searing it has ended friendships.

To nominate and praise your ‘Great Kiwi Classic’, visit the ‘Great Kiwi Classic’ Facebook page or email your suggestions and why you love the book to

Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 14 February. A panel of experts will then convene to consider nominations, weigh your arguments and select our classic title. The ‘Great Kiwi Classic’ will be unveiled at the launch of the Auckland Writers Festival programme on 18 March.

Following this, the Auckland Writers Festival will present a ‘Great Kiwi Classic’ panel event at this year’s 14–18 May festival, where the chosen title will be the subject of a star-studded tournament of opinion, featuring writers, experts and a member of the public who nominated the chosen book, teasing out just why this book deserves to be called the greatest. The panel will also explore the book’s wider influence and where it sits alongside other great works from Aotearoa.

The Auckland Writers Festival’s Great Kiwi Classic panel event is free and everyone is welcome to attend.


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