Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Auckland To Host 23rd Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

12 December 2009

Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2009 to host 23rd Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The two overall winners of the twenty-third annual Commonwealth Writers’ Prize will be announced at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival on 16 May 2009.

The Prize, an increasingly valued international award for fiction, is presented by the Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English, by both established and new writers, and to take their works to a global audience.

All eight regional winners, announced in March, and judges will come together at the Festival for a series of readings, discussions and other public events, the final pan-Commonwealth judging and a presentation ceremony for the winning overall Prizes of £5,000 for the Best First Book winner and £10,000 for Best Book winner.

Mark Collins, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, commented:

“We are very pleased to be bringing the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize back to New Zealand after ten years. To be partnering with such an important festival signals the Prize’s growth and explains how it has come to be recognised as a credible and significant award both on a community and global level.”

“It’s exciting to be partnering with AWRF. The festival offers a fantastic platform for exchange between writers, community groups and international audiences. With a week of activities to take place ahead of the announcement, the entire 2009 final programme promises to be an outstanding experience for everyone involved.”

Jill Rawnsley, Festival Director commented:

“The AWRF is delighted to host the 23rd Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and partner with the Commonwealth Foundation. We eagerly await the announcement of the regional finalists in March, and look forward to witnessing the impact of their interaction with local readers and writers in May.”

“The importance of the Prize is evident in the impressive list of previous winners, some of whom will be in New Zealand for reunions with the 2009 regional finalists and judges. The addition of a series of Commonwealth Writers’ Prize events to the 2009 festival programme is a memorable gift for our audience to mark the festival’s tenth anniversary, and we look forward to welcoming Commonwealth Writers’ Prize guests to Auckland City.”

New Zealand author and 2007 overall winner Lloyd Jones commented:

“When Mister Pip won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best Book it suddenly moved into a bigger world. On the back of that success it was sold into more countries and went on to win more than its fair share of space on the review pages of newspapers and journals throughout the English-speaking world... And of course I felt and continue to feel very proud of its achievement”

Julie White, Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation – the main supporter of the Prize – comments, “The Macquarie Group Foundation has been supporting the Commonwealth Foundation for four years. We are proud to be associated with such a serious and meticulously judged prize that contributes greatly to the global literary community. We wish the 2009 Prize contenders the best of luck and await introductions to their works of fiction which offer enriching glimpses into other worlds.”

The 2009 pan-Commonwealth panel of judges who will decide the overall winners is chaired by Hon Justice Nicholas Hasluck AM (Chair of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize), and comprises the four regional chairpersons: Elinor Sisulu (Africa); Dr Michael Bucknor (Canada and the Caribbean); Professor Makarand Paranjape (Europe and South Asia); and Dr Anne Brewster (South East Asia and South Pacific). A sixth New Zealand judge will also be appointed.

In 2008, the £10,000 Best Book Prize was awarded to Canadian writer Lawrence Hill for The Book of Negroes. The Best First Book Prize of £5,000 went to Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam for A Golden Age. This was announced at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in South Africa in partnership with the South African Department of Arts and Culture.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press.

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland