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Winners announced for New Zealand Post Book Awards


News Release: 23 June 2014

It can’t be a boring book when The Boring Book wins a prestigious New Zealand prize for children and young adult books - the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year. The Boring Book is also the winner in the Awards’ Picture Book category.

Written and illustrated by Auckland author Vasanti Unka and published by Penguin Group (NZ) Puffin, The Boring Book is praised by the Award judges as a remarkable work that exceeds any expectations of its genre.

“The Boring Book exhibits the highest quality of design and its presentation is thoroughly original. The story takes delightful unexpected turns that charm afresh with each reading. Small children and older readers alike will be delighted by its subversive touches, and they’ll be entertained by its warmth and fun,” says Barbara Else, the Awards’ Convenor of Judges.

“We think The Boring Book will help cultivate a love of words and books. It combines beautiful production and perfect design, which seamlessly integrates the words and text. It’s refreshing on so many levels.”

The Judging Panel is convened by author Barbara Else; with cartoonist and graphic novelist Ant Sang; and children’s librarian and blogger Zac Harding.

The winners of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced at a glittering evening reception in Auckland on Monday, 23 June. The Awards promote excellence and provide recognition for the best written and illustrated books for children and young adults published by New Zealand authors each year.

Wairarapa author Paul Adamson wins the Non-Fiction category with The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand. This is, the Judges say, a perfect book for dipping in and out of and for sharing as a family. It’s a book to be used whether you want to hunt with a gun, a bow or even a camera. They were particularly impressed that Paul stresses the messages of safety when hunting and responsibility to animals.

Dunger by Joy Cowley wins the Junior Fiction category. The Judges praised Dunger saying that Joy Cowley’s writing is dry, droll and never dull. “ . . in this quintessentially New Zealand story, the characters are believable in themselves and in how they relate to the other members of their family. They are so ordinary - they are rich and deep.
This is what our ordinary lives are like. Best of all, the novel is not in the least politically correct.”
The Young Adult Fiction category winner is Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox. “Mortal Fire is an incredibly well-written and engaging book. The story is like a jigsaw that slowly slots together and leaves the reader satisfied but haunted by the events and the characters. It is a book that operates on a supernatural, fantastical level, while still containing the core young adult material about finding out who you are,” says Barbara Else.

Debut writer R L Stedman took out the Best First Book award for A Necklace of Souls. The Judges rewarded Rachel for her accomplished fantasy book for young adults. “There are great characters in this novel; a strong and resourceful heroine . . . and a cast of supporting characters who bring the fictional world to life. We look forward to reading Rachel’s next book.”

The Children’s Choice winner is The Three Bears...Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley. A humorous and inventive book, the classic story of the three bears and Goldilocks is interrupted by an endless stream of questions perfectly matched with beautifully detailed art.

The full list of winners of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is:

• New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category

Prizes: $7,500 for the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for Best Picture Book

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin)

• Best Non-Fiction: Prize $7,500

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand)

• Best Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500

Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)

• Best Young Adult Fiction: Prize $7,500

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press)

• Best First Book: Prize $2,000

A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager)

• Children’s Choice: Prize $2,000

The Three Bears...Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Honour award: Prize $500

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

• Māori Language award: Prize $1,000 (announced on 8 April)

Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page (Tania&Martin)

Barbara Else says that the judging panel was impressed at the extraordinarily high standard of children’s titles that were submitted for the 2014 awards. “We were particularly excited by the visual appeal of the titles. We’re firm believers that excellent writing deserves a matching quality in the physical look and feel of books.

“This year’s winners are remarkable pieces of work. These authors are champions. We respect their talent and dedication in writing for young people. As judges, we’ve been inspired by their books and feel honoured to offer them by way of the Awards to our young readers. We must also congratulate the publishers for working outside the box with clever format and design, particularly in the picture book section.”

The New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and sponsored by New Zealand Post. The awards are also supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens New Zealand. The Awards are overseen by the New Zealand Post Book Awards Governance Group made up of representatives from New Zealand Post, Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors, the Publishers Association of New Zealand and Creative New Zealand.


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