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Experienced Team to Judge the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards

Experienced Team to Judge the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children And Young Adults

Bob Docherty, Annemarie Florian and Fiona Mackie have been appointed judges of the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

They have, between them, ninety years of experience working with books for children and they will deliberate on as many as 150 books over four categories: Picture Books, Junior Fiction, Non-fiction and Young Adult Fiction. They will select five finalists, then a winner in each category. The supreme winner, drawn from the winners of the four categories, will be declared the 2015 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year.

Judge convenor Bob Docherty is well known in his hometown of Christchurch, and across New Zealand, for promoting reading into schools. He regularly tours New Zealand offering collection selection advice to school library staff. He is a children’s book reviewer for Fairfax newspapers, and has his own book reviewing blog.

“I look forward to experiencing the creativity of New Zealand Children and Young Adult writers in the same way a vintner looks forward to tasting this year’s wine,” he says. “Just as our wine is world class, so are our writers.”

Judge Annemarie Florian owned and operated a specialist children’s bookshop for 26 years. She has written several board books for very young children, and was a finalist for the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards with her non-fiction book Kiwi: The Real Story. She is particularly interested in how books and language can influence who we are and how we view ourselves, as individuals and as a community.

Fiona Mackie has 30 years experience across the education and libraries sectors, having worked as a teacher, a reference librarian, Social Sciences Selector and New Schools Advisor while at National Library. She is the Immediate Past President of SLANZA — the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa — and is currently the teacher-librarian at Pinehurst College in Auckland.

“The Book Awards Trust is delighted with the calibre of the judges for the 2015 awards,” says its chair Nicola Legat. “We had so many applications to be considered as judges from many strong candidates and Bob, Annemarie and Fiona stood out as having remarkable experience and expertise across many aspects of children’s literature. We await their shortlist with keen interest.”

The finalist authors in the awards will embark upon a nationwide author tour, in the week prior to the awards being announced at a ceremony on Thursday 13 August.

Exciting changes are also being made to the much-loved Children’s Choice Award that will make it even more vital and relevant. The Book Awards Trust will announce these at a later date.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is sponsored by Creative NZ, Book Tokens (Ltd) and Copyright Licensing Limited New Zealand (CLLNZ). It is administered by Booksellers NZ.

To find out more about the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, please visit


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