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CLNZ NZSA Writers' Award 2023 Recipient

Tom Doig has been awarded the 2023 Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) and The New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) inc, $25,000 Writers’ Award for his project, with the working title We Are All Preppers Now: Kiwis Making Plans for the End of the World.

Tom Doig says “I’ve been researching and writing about prepper subcultures in Aotearoa New Zealand since late 2019 – nearly four years now. I find the subject endlessly fascinating: every person I speak to or hang out with teaches me something new, or leaves me with a fiendishly difficult question to ponder. Preppers aren’t “crazies”, and prepping isn’t a joke; it’s a sincere, complicated response to taking an unflinching look at the threats to society, whenua and taiao in our collective future.

This is the third time I have applied for this award! It just goes to show: hang in there, “try and try again”, all that good stuff. Ngā mihi nui to CLNZ, NZSA and the judging panel for recognising my mahi, and giving me the chance to go hard on the manuscript in 2024. Kia ora!”

The CLNZ / NZSA Writers’ Award is one of the annual investments made through the CLNZ Cultural Fund and is open to writers of any genre of non-fiction, including writers of education material. The award enables the successful applicant to devote time to a specific writing project. This year's winner, Tom Doig, is an award-winning creative non-fiction author, investigative journalist, and scholar.

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The judging panel of Dr Vanda Symon (convenor), Nic Low, and Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod commented on the 'rich array of projects across many topics. The judge’s decision was difficult in the face of so many quality applications that would add to our understanding and knowledge of New Zealand, it’s history and its environment.'

Vanda Symon described Tom's proposal (working title: We are all preppers now: Kiwis making plans for the end of the world) as 'a very timely and topical project in a world affected by a pandemic and climate change. It provides a balanced range of views and motivations from a Māori perspective to sustainability, to climate activism, to everyday people concerned about supply of essentials during a crisis. This is a book all New Zealanders could benefit from.'

While Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod said that 'Tom's writing is enveloping, bringing the reader into the real fear and pessimism that drives people towards a prepper mentality. He has shown a commitment to writing about climate issues and an ability to deliver books. His publisher is based in Australia, and we hope this award will encourage the publisher to have a proactive Aotearoa book promotion campaign. I personally hope that through books like this one, those who are able to make decisions for our world will take the actions needed to provide a future which is better than the one preppers envisage.'

The judging panel also highlighted Peta Carey's project The Hollows Brothers, and Chris Bourke's project Friends and foes, life, death and forgiveness on the Burma-Thailand Railway, which were both shortlisted for the Award. The New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc was proud to administer the award this year. CLNZ and NZSA would like to thank all the writers who took the time to apply.

The CLNZ/NZSA Writers’ Award is made possible through CLNZ’s Cultural Fund. The Cultural Fund’s objectives are to:

  • Protect – writers and publishers’ ability to earn revenue from their work.
  • Support – the creation and production of new works and assist the commercial success of New Zealand work.
  • Grow – the number of works created and skills in the industry.

Copyright Licensing New Zealand is a collective management organisation and provides licences to help make copying, scanning and sharing printed works easy and legal.

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc. was established in 1934 and is the principal organisation representing and advocating for writers’ interests in NZ. A national office supports branches and hubs, administers prizes and awards, offers contract advice and runs professional development programmes among other activities. NZSA works across the sector with other organisations to increase the visibility of NZ writing. authors.org.nz

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