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Award Nominations For Scary Stories Set In Whangārei, Northland

'Bloodalcohol' public reading 2023 (photo Supplied)

Whangarei author Michael Botur has been four times shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2024, making him the most-nominated writer for this year.

The hotly-contested awards recognise excellence in science fiction and fantasy by New Zealanders and have been running for 35 years. Northlanders have only twice been nominated for the award, and never won it.

Botur’s nominations are for the collection, Bloodalcohol, the book’s cover and the stories within. The book is ten tales of ‘elevated’ intelligent horror, including stories set in the Pukenui Forest, Kaipara Harbour, Whangarei Boys High School and Te Kamo.

Botur has sold one film option and is in talks with producers for feature films based on stories in his previous collection, The Devil Took Her, published in the United States and launched during Whangarei’s Fringe Festival 2022. Raising money to promote Bloodalcohol involved a colourful crowdfunding campaign, with the author inviting strangers into his home during the winter of 2023 for fireside spooky story readings.

Fringe Festival horror reading 2022 (Photo Supplied)

The Vogel awards are named for New Zealand journalist and politician Sir Julius Vogel, who was NZ’s premier twice during the 1870s and who in 1889, wrote New Zealand's first science fiction novel, Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman's Destiny, a visionary book which speculated about a futuristic New Zealand in which there is universal suffrage for women to vote, and the country is led by a female - which, at the time of writing, was regarded as speculative fiction.

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Northland authors are having a strong year in genre fiction meanwhile, with Tai Tokerau authors Donna Blaber and Sherryl Clark preparing to gather for a Ngaio Marsh Crime Fiction Awards panel discussion in Whangarei on May 30.

Northland also boasts a disproportionately large pool of creative writers competing to win this year’s National Flash Fiction Day awards, which has been previously been won and highly placed by Northlanders - who make up just two percent of the country’s population.

© Scoop Media

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