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2020 Prime Minister’s Awards For Literary Achievement: Winners Announced And Live Online Literary Panel

A lifetime of insights on Māori dance arts told in te reo Māori, a comprehensive anthology of New Zealand poetry in English, and an illustrated story of how James Cook charted Aotearoa New Zealand are just some of the many achievements of those being honoured with the 2020 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement:

· Non-Fiction: Sir Tīmoti Kāretu KNZM QSO (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu) - a leading New Zealand academic of Māori language and the performing arts, a translator and author, and a key driver of the revitalisation of te reo.

· Poetry: Jenny Bornholdt MNZM - an award-winning poet, anthologist, Arts Foundation Laureate and former NZ Poet Laureate.

· Fiction: Tessa Duder CNZM, OBE - critically acclaimed children and young adult writer.

The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, says, “It’s a real privilege to support these special, annual awards that celebrate the value our writers bring to Aotearoa. It was wonderful to see such a high volume of nominations this year – this just demonstrates New Zealanders’ appreciation and appetite for literature. Congratulations to Tessa Duder, Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and Jenny Bornholdt. Thank you for your significant contribution to New Zealand literature, your storytelling, and the legacy you’ve created.”

Each recipient will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature.

“Our warmest congratulations to Tessa Duder, Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and Jenny Bornholdt,” says Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan.

The usual Unity Books lunchtime in-store event will move to an online event this year so that these outstanding writers can be acknowledged for their contributions to Aotearoa’s literature.

Michael adds, “We’re thrilled to have one of New Zealand’s leading broadcasters, John Campbell, host our live, online literary panel with this year’s recipients. Taking this approach will give all New Zealanders across the country rare access to these incredible writers together. People will hear first-hand about their work and inspirations, and the public will have an opportunity to submit questions.”

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a New Zealand writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an external expert panel and recommendations are forwarded to the Arts Council of New Zealand for approval. This year’s selection panel was David Eggleton, Apirana Taylor, John Huria and Tina Shaw.

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

Live Online Literary Panel

· Tuesday 24 November, 6.30-7.30pm

· Facebook ( and YouTube (

Creative New Zealand, in partnership with Auckland Live and The Big Idea, invites New Zealanders from across the motu to come together for a live, online panel discussion with the 2020 recipients of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Tune in on Tuesday 24 November, 6.30-7.30pm to watch Tessa Duder, Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and Jenny Bornholdt read and discuss their work with one of New Zealand’s leading broadcasters, John Campbell.

During the live stream, viewers can submit questions to the writers via the comment threads on Facebook and on YouTube. The live stream will be recorded and made available for those that are unable to join.

This event is made possible with the support of Auckland Live. Presented in partnership with The Big Idea and supported by Unity Books.

© Scoop Media

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