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Fiction first for aspiring writer

For Immediate Release:

Fiction first for aspiring writer 

High school teacher and part-time poet Annabel Wilson has won the Mountain or Adventure Fiction and Poetry prize at the NZ Mountain Book and Film Festival for her genre-busting book Aspiring Daybook: The Diary of Elsie Winslow

The work, which was published this year, presents reflections of a year in the life of Elsie Winslow and her return to Wanaka from Europe to take care of her terminally ill brother. The innovative style of writing melds the mood of the mountains and lake with the stormy nature of the mind. Annabel crafts the tale through poetry, prose, notes, emails, Facebook chats and journal entries. She will also be reading from her book at this year’s NZMFF Words and Wine event in Wanaka on Sunday 1 July.

"I feel humbled and honoured to receive this award. The NZ Mountain Book and Film Festival is a world-class event, bringing big names and amazing stories to our community and it's exciting just to be part of it,” Annabel said. 

“Having the Aspiring Daybook recognised by the Festival in this way is affirming and inspiring. As it's a cross-genre work, it doesn't fall neatly into any traditional categories, so the fact that the judges connected with the style and the story is really encouraging.”

The poems in Aspiring Daybook, which was published this year by Mākaro Press, were also the seed material for Annabel’s play No Science to Goodbye, which premiered last year at the Festival of Colour in Wanaka, and has subsequently had seasons at BATS and Te Pou theatre, as well as being recorded for RNZ’s Live On Stage Now! Initiative.

The Mountain or Adventure Fiction and Poetry category, which comes with a $250 prize for the winner, included fiction and poetry with narratives about climbing and mountaineering, adventure sports, exploration and mountain culture.

The judges were Dave Vass, Joanne Waide and Dr Simone Celine Marshall. Head judge Dave Vass said he enjoyed the judging process. “I was entertained, informed, moved and taken places. Although all the books reflected it to some extent, the winners in particular were real celebrations of adventure; the ways we feel about it and the way the outdoors is woven into our lives.” 

Annabel was previously awarded the RAK Mason Fellowship at NZ Pacific Studio, the Australian Association of Writers’ Programmes Emerging Writer’s Prize and a residency at the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage.

Aspiring Daybook is available from all good New Zealand bookstores and online from Mākaro Press.


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