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Lifetime’s Work Wins Top Book Award


For immediate release
31 July 2007

Lifetime’s Work Wins Top Book Award

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand, a book that took author and painter, Audrey Eagle more than 50 years to complete, is the winner of the 2007 Montana Medal for non fiction.

The two-volume work contains more than 800 hand painted plates; images of every single New Zealand tree and shrub, some of which are now extinct.

2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges, Dr Paul Millar, David Larsen and Morrin Rout say the monumental work is a magnificent tribute to Audrey Eagle’s vision, perseverance and consummate skill as a botanical artist.

‘Audrey Eagle has devoted her life to the painstaking work of classifying and illustrating New Zealand flora. The product…is a book that will be treasured and utilised for generations.’

Lloyd Jones wins the 2007 Montana Medal for fiction or poetry with his universally acclaimed novel, Mister Pip.

The win completes a stunning run for Jones, who was awarded the 2007 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize earlier this year.

Judges’ convenor, Dr Paul Millar says Mister Pip is Lloyd Jones’ most significant book yet.

‘It develops certain key themes from earlier novels—history’s equivocal truths, the vulnerability and strength of children— into an extraordinary claim for the power for literature to define, rescue, inspire and create, even across cultural boundaries.’

Mister Pip is also the clear winner of this year’s Reader’s Choice Award.

The Montana New Zealand Book Awards, this country’s most prestigious awards for contemporary writing, were presented at a gala awards ceremony at Sky City in Auckland last night.

The judging panel said the best books in this year’s awards speak to almost every facet of our lives: art, fauna, flora, food, music, history, industry and politics are just a few of many subjects covered by this year’s entries.

‘Not long ago the doomsayers of the digital age predicted the demise of the book. We salute the New Zealand publishing industry for answering them in the best way possible; by producing year-by-year more books, better books, and bigger books. ‘

The complete list of 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is as follows:

Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry winner and fiction category winner:
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Penguin Books)
Fiction runners up: The Cowboy Dog by Nigel Cox (Victoria University Press)
The Fainter by Damien Wilkins (Victoria University Press)
Poetry winner: The Goose Bath by Janet Frame (Vintage)

Montana Medal for Non-Fiction winner and illustrative category winner:
Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle (Te Papa Press)
Biography winner: Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music by Philip Norman (Canterbury University Press)
History winner: Vaka Moana: Voyages of the Ancestors Edited by K R Howe (David Bateman Ltd)
Reference and Anthology winner: Furniture of the New Zealand Colonial Era: An Illustrated History 1830-1900 by William Cottrell (Reed Publishing)
Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture winner: Stitch: Contemporary New Zealand Textile Artists by Ann Packer (Random House)
Environment winner: Ghosts of Gondwana: The History of Life in New Zealand by George Gibbs (Craig Potton Publishing)

Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000. The winners of the Montana Medal for fiction or poetry (formerly called the Deutz prize) and the Montana Medal for non fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000. The runners-up in the Fiction category each received $2,500. The Readers’ Choice Award carries a monetary prize worth $1,000.

New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards
The best first book awards for non-fiction, poetry, and fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.

The NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction goes to The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King (Black Swan).
‘Rachael King’s strength is her rich, lush and sensuous prose; she has a forte for depicting characters we feel compelled to empathise with,’ says Dr Millar.

Airini Beautrais wins the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for her collection, Secret Heart (Victoria University Press).
Poetry category advisor, Dr John Newton describes Beautrais’ book as extremely well-conceived: a decisive choice of form perfectly matched to an original choice of content.

The NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non- Fiction goes to William Cottrell for Furniture of the New Zealand Colonial Era: An Illustrated History 1830-1900 (Reed Publishing).
Reference category advisor, Peter Simpson says the expertise of the author and his passion for his subject are manifested on every page. ‘A prodigious achievement.’

Book Publishers Association (BPANZ) Reviewer and Review Page or Programme Awards
The BPANZ Review Awards recognise the vital importance of articulate, responsible, informed criticism in maintaining a healthy literary culture.

The judges this year were arts journalist and critic, Lynn Freeman and Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival director, Jill Rawnsley

The BPANZ Reviewer of the Year winner is David Eggleton.

The BPANZ Review Awards judges say David Eggleton’s reviews stand out in part due to his own virtuosity with the written word. ‘His reviews are consistently a serious exploration of the book in question. And he is a master of scorpion-tailed last lines.’

The winner of the Best Review Page or Programme Award goes to The New Zealand Listener.

‘This publication continues to champion authors, particularly New Zealand writers, by offering generous column inches to book reviews and author interviews, and by sourcing robust, opinionated reviewers, many of them writers themselves,’ the judges said.



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