As entries continue to stream in for the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, an expert panel of judges that includes writers, editors, booksellers and librarians has been announced, and is preparing for a summer full of reading that will put their vibrant and varied skills to the test.
Writer, poet and editor Jane Arthur will convene the English language panel, which will also include children’s and youth librarian Alan Dingley; bookseller, writer and editor Briar Lawry; children’s author, book reviewer and writer of stories for young people for the stage, radio and screen Steph Matuku; and children’s specialist bookseller and former school teacher Charlotte McKay.
Longtime kaitiakipukapuka Māori for Hastings District Libraries Moana Munro has been re-appointed by Te Rōpū Whakahau, the national body representing Māori within the library and information profession, to convene the panel judging the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written or translated into te reo Māori. She is joined by Cellia Joe-Olsen, Tumuaki Tuakana (Immediate Past President) of Te Rōpū Whakahau and Francis Leaf, collections advisor at the Auckland University of Technology’s city campus library.
The English language judges will read and appraise an expected 150 or so entries in five categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction, Non-fiction (the Elsie Locke Award) and Illustration (the Russell Clark Award). They will select five finalists in each category, as well as up to five finalists for a Best First Book Award and then a winner in each category. The overall winner, the Margaret Mahy Award for Book of the Year, will be decided by both panels.
Jane Arthur, who was also a judge in the 2019 awards, says she is honoured to be invited to convene the expert 2020 panel. "The judging panel knows children’s books inside and out, from the craft of writing to knowing how and why certain books connect with readers. We’re an energetic bunch and I suspect we’re all very much in touch with our ‘inner child’, so our judging discussions are going to be fun, enlightening and rigorous."
School children will also have a voice in the deliberation process, with plans to further develop the system of student advisory panels that judges have consulted with in the early stages of the judging process over the past two years.
Submissions for the 2020 awards are now open to books published between 1 April 2019 and 30 March 2020. The first deadline, for books published up to 30 November 2019, is Thursday 12 December 2019. More details about how to enter can be found here.
Category finalists will be announced on 4 June 2020 and the awards ceremony will be held in Wellington on 12 August 2020, preceded by a series of large-scale finalist author events under the Books Alive banner in several centres around New Zealand.
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council and Nielsen Book.
For more information about the 2020 judges, go here.
Any queries about the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults should be directed to Awards Administrator Joy Sellen at firstname.lastname@example.org.